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Steven Zaillian

Steven Zaillian

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A Civil Action DVD Screenwriter Steven Zaillian, who won a Best Screenplay Academy Award for... more info $6.25was $6.25 Buy Now



Also Known As: Steven Ernest Bernard Zaillian Died:
Born: January 30, 1953 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Fresno, California, USA Profession: screenwriter, director, editor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Having established himself as one of the top screenwriters working in Hollywood, Steven Zaillian made the successful transition to directing with the critically acclaimed drama, "Searching for Bobby Fisher" (1993). Though not a box office hit, the film was hailed for turning the world of competitive chess into fertile ground for compelling drama. Prior to his directing debut, Zaillian penned several notable films, including his first produced credit "The Falcon and the Snowman" (1985) and Penny Marshall's tear-jerking drama "Awakenings" (1990). But it was his script work on Steven Spielberg's stark Holocaust drama "Schindler's List" (1993) that earned him his first Academy Award. From there, he wrote a number of high-profile projects like "Clear and Present Danger" (1994) and "Mission: Impossible" (1996), while doing uncredited script doctoring on major blockbuster releases. He returned to the director's chair for the notable courtroom thriller, "A Civil Action" (1998), and collaborated with directors such as Ridley Scott on "Hannibal" (2001) and "Black Hawk Down" (2001), and Martin Scorsese on "Gangs of New York" (2002). After an unsuccessful third stab at directing with the critically maligned "All...

Having established himself as one of the top screenwriters working in Hollywood, Steven Zaillian made the successful transition to directing with the critically acclaimed drama, "Searching for Bobby Fisher" (1993). Though not a box office hit, the film was hailed for turning the world of competitive chess into fertile ground for compelling drama. Prior to his directing debut, Zaillian penned several notable films, including his first produced credit "The Falcon and the Snowman" (1985) and Penny Marshall's tear-jerking drama "Awakenings" (1990). But it was his script work on Steven Spielberg's stark Holocaust drama "Schindler's List" (1993) that earned him his first Academy Award. From there, he wrote a number of high-profile projects like "Clear and Present Danger" (1994) and "Mission: Impossible" (1996), while doing uncredited script doctoring on major blockbuster releases. He returned to the director's chair for the notable courtroom thriller, "A Civil Action" (1998), and collaborated with directors such as Ridley Scott on "Hannibal" (2001) and "Black Hawk Down" (2001), and Martin Scorsese on "Gangs of New York" (2002). After an unsuccessful third stab at directing with the critically maligned "All the King's Men" (2006), Zaillian returned to critical acclaim by penning "Moneyball" (2011) and "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" (2011), proving that he was one of the best screenwriters working in the business.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  ALL THE KING'S MEN (2006) Director
2.
  Civil Action, A (1998) Director
3.

CAST: (feature film)

VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Los Angeles, CA
:
Worked as a film editor after graduating from college
1977:
First credit as an editor, "Breaker, Breaker"
1979:
Sold first screenplay "Bad Manners" to Ray Stark's Rastar Productions; never produced
1985:
First produced screenplay, "The Falcon and the Snowman"
1990:
Earned first Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay for "Awakenings"
1993:
Feature directorial debut, "Searching for Bobby Fischer"; also scripted from the book by Fred Waitzkin
1993:
Penned the screenplay for Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List"
1994:
Was one of three credited writers on "Clear and Present Danger"
1996:
Provided the story for the big screen adaptation of "Mission: Impossible"
1997:
Reportedly did uncredited script work for Spielberg's "Amistad" (1997) and "Saving Private Ryan" (1998)
1998:
Wrote and directed the based-on-fact drama "A Civil Action"
2001:
Penned a draft of the script for "Hannibal"; shared final on screen credit with David Mamet
2002:
Co-wrote the screenplay for Scorsese's "Gangs of New York"
2006:
Wrote and directed "All the King's Men," an adaptation of Robert Penn Warren's classic 1946 political novel
2007:
Wrote the film adaptation of Ridley Scott's "American Gangster," based on a <i>New York</i> magazine story about the rise and fall of the 1970s heroin kingpin Frank Lucas
2011:
Co-wrote the screenplay for "Moneyball" with Aaron Sorkin
2011:
Penned the film adaptation of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," based on the book by Stieg Larsson and directed by David Fincher
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

San Francisco State University: San Francisco , California - 1975

Notes

"Steve's scripts read like movies. He writes like a director. His writing is so specific and carefully wrought, all you need to do is follow what he has on the page and you'll end up with a wonderful scene." --producer Scott Rudin quoted in THE NEW YORK TIMES, August 9, 1993

"Nothing really horrible has happened to me. I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. There are so many stories of screenwriters who write a script and sell it for a million dollars, and people think those are the ones who lead charmed lives. I feel I've led a charmed life in a way because I've worked on things I've really liked." --Steven Zaillian to THE NEW YORK TIMES, August 9, 1993

On his penchant for writing adapted screenplays over originals: "I hate the actual writing of scripts. Halfway through, I just want to throw them in the trash. So when someone pays me to adapt something, I take the money and spend it right away; then I have to finish the job." --From VARIETY, January 3-9, 1994

"You hear about these books and courses on screenwriting. On page 20 something has to happen. The character arc and all that stuff. I have no idea. I don't think about those things. Every time I do it, it feels like the first time and I'm scared and I don't know if it's going to turn out. And if I get to page 50 or so and I'm not enjoying it, then I know it's not working."

"The tone of the movie is the magic thing for me. That's like the big battle. The tone and the voices and how people sound. The level of realism. That's what matters to me." --Zailian quoted in THE NEW YORK TIMES, November 15, 1998

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Elizabeth Zaillian. Mother of two children with Zaillian.

Family close complete family listing

father:
James Zaillian. Radio news reporter. Died in 1980.
sister:
Marcia Ann Zaillian. Born on June 11, 1949.
son:
Anthony James Zaillian. Born on August 5, 1985.
son:
Nicholas Alexander. Born on February 10, 1989.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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