10 Screenwriters to Watch 2011: Neil Cross

Don’t let his dark stories and disturbed characters fool you; for a guy who has made a living out of weaving tales of crooked cops, mass murderers and scheming psychopaths, Neil Cross is a damn funny man. It’s a fact that sometimes takes fans by surprise.

“Bizarrely, I get a lot of people who are, I think, disappointed to discover that I’m not a psychopath,” says the writer, whose stints on British television shows include “Spooks” and “The Fixer,” and a creator credit on the hit BBC psychological crime drama “Luther.” It was only a matter of time before studios came calling.

While making the transition into film, Cross formed a camaraderie with Guillermo del Toro. Two of Cross’ screenplays — a supernatural horror titled “Mama” and a dark action/drama titled “Midnight Delivery” — are being produced by del Toro. Cross, who’s signed with UTA, also wrote the current draft of del Toro’s alien invasion film “Pacific Rim” for Warner Bros.

“The biggest aid to any creative process is the ownership of a mortgage,” he jokes. “It disallows even the remote possibility of anything resembling writer’s block.”

Fans of “Luther” will be happy to know that work on the third series has already begun, though Cross hints that it will probably be its last. “Idris (Elba) is a busy man.”

Signs look good, however, that it won’t be the last time audiences see the character. “There’s a strong possibility there will be a ‘Luther’ movie in the near future,” says Cross.

Could a Neil Cross romantic comedy be in our future?

“Yeah,” Cross laughs. “Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love with girl. Boy decapitates girl.”

TEN SCREENWRITERS TO WATCH 2011:
Josh Appelbaum & Andrew Nemec | Jay Baruchel & Jesse Chabot | Justin Britt-Gibson | Neil Cross | Andrew Haigh | Kurt Johnstad | Lauryn Kahn | Paula Pell | Jon Spaihts | Brian Yorkey

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