10 Screenwriters to Watch

10 SCREENWRITERS TO WATCH
Travis Beacham | Sheila Callaghan | Adam Cozad | Michael Diliberti | Tim Dowling | Lena Dunham | Seth Grahame-Smith | Mike Jones | Jones & McCormack | Simons & Schoolcraft

Imagine your favorite literary character gets (re)made into a movie, and you get to help make it. Yeah, like that would happen. Except for Adam Cozad, it kind of did. The writer’s spec script “Moscow” (original title: “Dubai”) is being touted as the re-boot of the Jack Ryan franchise for Paramount and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura.

“I grew up adoring all of those Tom Clancy books,” says Cozad. “I’ve always kind of geeked out on that character (Ryan) … I was really trying to write it as a geopolitical thriller (with the same) tone as a Tom Clancy thriller.”

Screenwriting wasn’t a natural choice for Cozad, who says “in college, all my worst grades were in English,” and a screenwriting class “wasn’t love at first sight.” But when his “bad-ass sister” returned from Mexico, where she had worked with an NGO as a human shield “with a fascinating yarn about the Zapatista rebellion and government reprisals against indigenous villages” Cozad felt “it was an interesting story with an important social message, so I began working on my first script.”

That script didn’t work out, and Cozad attributes “writing for years without any success” as a benefit to his career. “Toiling in obscurity keeps you humble,” he says.

Cozad, who just finished political thriller “The Grey Man” for New Regency, says he isn’t a one-genre guy. “I’ve also got ideas for everything from a 16th century war epic, to a comedy, to a very twisted version of a romantic drama.” Also on his plate? A “labor intensive, but gratifying” graphic novel called “Dark Side.”

VITAL STATS:
Age: 34
Provenance: Chico, CA
Inspired by: Robert Capa, Larry McMurtry, Steven Spielberg — “Saving Private Ryan,” Egon Schiele, “Every Which Way But Loose,” Tom Clancy, Gillo Pontecorvo — “Battle of Algiers,” Frank Darabont — “Shawshank Redemption,” Jim Henson — everything.
Reps: Jeremy Bell at the Gotham Group; Aaron Hart, Doug MacLaren at ICM; Jeff Frankel at McKuin Frankel Whitehead

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