10 Screenwriters to Watch

Being a child actor can lead to bad things down the line. But it also has its benefits, like reading every kind of script imaginable. Thesp-turned-scribe Bacall credits his exposure to every genre as one of the reasons why he’s become sought after to write just about every genre imaginable.

Bacall grew up in the San Fernando Valley, and during childhood and college he made a respectable living acting in supporting roles in both film and television. His first script was the teen drama “Manic,” which he co-wrote with friend and fellow thesp Blayne Weaver. He followed that up with the crime thriller “Bookies” (Sundance 2003) and then began to score some studio assignments.

“When I started out, I just wanted to write things in multiple genres and see how far I could go,” Bacall says. “I wanted to try and cover all the bases because I like being challenged.”

In just a few short years, Bacall has already lived up to those lofty expectations — his seven projects currently in development include a revenge thriller (“Justice Deferred” for Tobey Maguire at Warners), a sports movie (“Hole Shot” for Mark Ciardi and Gordon Grey at Disney), a mystery (“In Search of Captain Zero” for Radar Pictures, with Sean Penn attached to star), a private detective franchise (adapting John Sanford’s 16-volume “Prey Series” for director Mike Newell) and an untitled horror pic for 2929 Entertainment.

But Bacall’s current genre of choice is most definitely comedy, and he’s got three plum assignments to show for it. “Psycho Funky Chimp,” a spec about a “battle royale between two obsessive collectors of Pez dispensers,” will go into production later this year, with Todd Phillips and Paramount/MTV producing.

He’s also penning a fictional version of the Slamdance docu “The King of Kong,” about the subculture of classic arcade-game competitors, for New Line.

Last but not least is an adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s “Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life,” the first in a comicbook series about character Scott Pilgrim, for director Edgar Wright and Universal.

 “I first met Michael when he ‘auditioned’ to write an adaptation of ‘Scott Pilgrim,’” Wright says. “His pitch was so well prepared and so funny, there was no way he wasn’t getting the job. Not only had he really thought the entire thing through, but he even had props. He pretty much acted out the film, which was very charming. Plus, I liked the fact that he’s a couple of inches shorter than me — being 5’7″ myself.”

Vital Stats
Age: 34
Provenance: West Hills, Calif.
Inspired by: The Coen brothers, Paul Schrader, Don DeLillo, Dr. Seuss
Reps: Agents: Jeff Shumway, David Lubliner at WMA; attorney: Michael Schenkman at Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette & Feldman

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