skip navigation
Scott Frank

Scott Frank

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Also Known As: A Scott Frank Died:
Born: March 10, 1960 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Fort Walton Beach, Florida, USA Profession: screenwriter

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

When considering darkly comic noirs like "Get Shorty" (1995) and "Out of Sight" (1998), or the bleak futuristic thriller "Minority Report" (2002), one could envision a haunted, brooding writer comfortable only in a seedy dive bar. But screenwriter Scott Frank - both affable and boyish in his late 40s - has been a far cry from Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett, possessing instead the demeanor of a friendly English teacher or a kindly neighbor who loans out his snow blower with no questions asked. Frank built a reputation as one of the most reliable and highly-paid screenwriters in the business, balancing book and short story adaptations with lucrative - and occasionally uncredited - rewrite gigs. While other successful writers bemoaned their lack of respect in Hollywood, Frank flourished with sanity and optimism intact, becoming one of the few widely known successes in a profession typically hidden behind closed doors.Frank was born on March 10, 1960 in Fort Walton Beach, FL and raised in Los Gatos, CA, the son of an airline pilot. Encouraged by friends and family, Frank pursued his childhood loves of film and writing at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where his short stories captured...

When considering darkly comic noirs like "Get Shorty" (1995) and "Out of Sight" (1998), or the bleak futuristic thriller "Minority Report" (2002), one could envision a haunted, brooding writer comfortable only in a seedy dive bar. But screenwriter Scott Frank - both affable and boyish in his late 40s - has been a far cry from Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett, possessing instead the demeanor of a friendly English teacher or a kindly neighbor who loans out his snow blower with no questions asked. Frank built a reputation as one of the most reliable and highly-paid screenwriters in the business, balancing book and short story adaptations with lucrative - and occasionally uncredited - rewrite gigs. While other successful writers bemoaned their lack of respect in Hollywood, Frank flourished with sanity and optimism intact, becoming one of the few widely known successes in a profession typically hidden behind closed doors.

Frank was born on March 10, 1960 in Fort Walton Beach, FL and raised in Los Gatos, CA, the son of an airline pilot. Encouraged by friends and family, Frank pursued his childhood loves of film and writing at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where his short stories captured the attention of instructor Paul Lazarus. A former vice president of Columbia Pictures under the legendary taskmaster Harry Cohn, Lazarus recognized potential in Frank and assigned him to write a four-page screenplay, giving him only the title, "The Confrontation," and allowing him to write anything he wanted. His assignment was riddled with ink and harsh criticism upon return, but also contained the encouragement to keep writing. With a renewed sense of purpose, Frank rearranged his course load to focus on screenwriting. During his senior year, he wrote his first feature-length screenplay, a coming-of-age drama about a boy genius who explains the world in a newspaper column. Twelve long years later, the script became one of his first produced features, "Little Man Tate" (1991).

After graduation, Frank used his screenplay as a calling card, showing it around town when he moved to Los Angeles in 1982. The work was good enough to get him an agent and meetings with producers and studios. In no time, Frank entered the lucrative world of rewriting existing screenplays - early efforts included "Casual Sex?" (1988) and "A Rage in Harlem" (1991) - and while financially rewarding, he received little more recognition than a thank you credit. He did, however, land a regular job with Paramount Pictures, courtesy of then-President of Production Jeffrey Katzenberg. Frank worked on the so-called "writer's floor," collaborating with the likes of Walter Parkes of "Wargames" (1983) fame and Nick Meyer, writer of "Fatal Attraction" (1986). Frank worked on "Dead Again" (1991), a gripping thriller about a Los Angeles detective (Kenneth Branagh) who falls in love with a mute amnesia victim (Emma Thompson) while trying to uncover the mystery of her nightmares involving an unsolved murder from the 1940s.

After scripting the psychological thriller "Malice" (1993), Frank began to cultivate an interest in crime and detective stories, delving into the oeuvre of hipster noir author Elmore Leonard. Though he failed to get his adaptation of "Gold Coast" off the ground, Frank found success with "Get Shorty," (1995), a sharply funny crime noir about a Miami loan shark (John Travolta) who is sent to Hollywood to collect a gambling debt, but instead finds himself pursuing a producing career while falling for a B-movie actress (Rene Russo). Scott earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Screenplay - Motion Picture from the Hollywood Foreign Press. But it was his next film, the undeniably brilliant "Out of Sight" (1998), which cemented Frank's growing reputation. Directed by Steven Soderbergh, "Out of Sight" told the comic romance of an escaped criminal (George Clooney) and the U.S. Marshall (Jennifer Lopez) trying to find him before he steals a cache of diamonds from a rich ex-con (Albert Brooks). Though not a commercial hit, "Out of Sight" became a cult classic, earning Frank an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Frank spent the ensuing post-"Out of Sight" years engaged in lucrative, but uncredited rewrite work, including stints on "Saving Private Ryan" (1998), "Entrapment" (1999) and "The Ring" (2002). His next produced project, the adaptation of Philip K. Dick's futuristic dystopian yarn, "Minority Report" (2002) for director Steven Spielberg, earned strong critical notices for its heart-pumping action, darkly comic themes and haunting imagery. Frank even made his first cameo appearance onscreen, playing a conceited store customer. After more rewrite work on "Dawn of the Dead," (2004) and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (2005), Frank earned screenwriting credit for "Flight of the Phoenix" (2004), a ham-fisted remake of the 1965 classic action yarn that focused on a group of airplane crash survivors stranded in the Mongolian desert with no hope of rescue, but who ultimately devise a plan for building a new plane out of the wreckage. Following "Minority Report," Frank penned the Sidney Pollack-directed political thriller "The Interpreter" (2005), starring Nicole Kidman as a U.N. interpreter who overhears an assassination threat, triggering a frantic investigation by a Secret Service Agent (Sean Penn) that leads to uncovering the interpreter's shocking past.

With nearly 20 years as a screenwriter under his belt, Frank decided it was finally time to try directing. Encouraged by his wife, Jennifer, and old friend, screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, Frank dusted off an old script called "The Lookout" (2007) for his directorial debut. Though out of his comfort zone in the director's chair, Frank stayed with the tried and true crime thriller genre, focusing on a former high school hockey star (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) suffering brain damage from a car accident, who outwits a shady friend (Matthew Goode) and his ex-stripper accomplice (Isla Fisher) after a botched heist at the bank where he sweeps floors. Despite a paltry box office take, both Frank and his film were lauded by critics for being one of the most deeply engrossing noir thrillers in years.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

2.

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Minority Report (2002) Conceited Customer
2.
 Decade Under the Influence, A (2003) Interviewer
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Los Gatos, California
1982:
Worked for the Landsburg Company as a researcher on documentary films
1988:
First produced screenplay, "Plain Clothes" (directed by Martha Coolidge)
1991:
Signed with Columbia to make debut as director with "The Big Wow"
1991:
Scripted "Dead Again," directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh
1991:
Scripted Jodie Foster's directorial debut effort "Little Man Tate"
1993:
Wrote the thriller "Malice" starring Alec Baldwin and Nicole Kidman
1995:
Adapted Elmore Leonard's novel "Get Shorty" as a feature film for director Barry Sonnenfeld
1996:
Screenplay credit for director Phil Joanou's "Heaven's Prisoners"
:
Reportedly did uncredited script polish on "Saving Private Ryan"
1998:
Wrote second film adaptation of a Leonard novel "Out of Sight"; received Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay
2002:
Adapted the Philip K. Dick short story, "Minority Report" for Steven Spielberg to direct and Tom Cruise to star
2003:
Uncredited rewrite of the thriller "The Ring"
2003:
Tapped as consulting producer for TV pilot "Karen Sisco," based on the Jennifer Lopez character from "Out of Sight"
2005:
Penned the screenplay adaptation of Roald Dahl's book, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"
2005:
Co-wrote the thriller, "The Interpreter" starring Nicole Kidman
2007:
First feature as a director (also scripted), "The Lookout"
2008:
Co-wrote the screen adaptation of "Marley & Me"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

University of California, Santa Barbara: Santa Barbara , California - 1982
Center For Advanced Film Studies, American Film Institute: - 1984

Notes

Not to be confused with producer Scott J T Frank.

"I tell them [neophyte screenwriters] not to worry about knowing anybody yet. Just worry about writing great material. Because if you have a really good piece of writing, the world comes to you." --Scott Frank quoted in THE NEW YORK TIMES, September 2, 1991

In dismissing scriptwriting dictums Franks says, "There's no real reason why such-and-such has to happen by page 20, other than everyone says so. That's why 'Days of Thunder' looks like 'Top Gun', looks like 'Robin Hood'. They're all the same movie." From THE NEW YORK TIMES, September 2, 1991

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Jennifer Joanou. Fashion designer. Sister of director Phil Joanou.

Family close complete family listing

brother-in-law:
Phil Joanou. Director.

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute