10 Screenwriters to Watch 2012: Reid Carolin

As a Harvard-educated Midwesterner who developed the somber Iraq war drama “Stop-Loss,” Reid Carolin admits that he never expected a movie about male strippers in Florida would be his big breakthrough.

“If you’d asked me years ago what would be the story I’d tell if I made it in the movie business, I would never have come up with that,” he says of “Magic Mike,” the box office hit he wrote and produced with his business partner, Channing Tatum.

“At the same time, it was based on this unique like experience. And that’s what I often gravitate to. If there’s something there that people discern as real, it makes it stand out. A lot of my favorite movies come from nuggets of truth,” he adds.

Highly attuned to story structure — “it’s the all-important thing for me,” he says, citing Aristotle’s “Poetics” — Carolin wants to “make commercial movies, but it’s also a goal for those movies to have a voice.”

Now writing a script about legendary stuntman Evel Knievel for Sony, with Tatum attached to star, as well as an adaptation of Michael Koryta’s bestselling novel “The Prophet,” Carolin says he’s also interested in expressing “something about our times.” In the case of “Magic Mike” and Knievel, for example, both films address the “struggles to make a living” and “the way we celebrate people who do whatever it takes to achieve the American dream, no matter the cost,” he explains.

“Prophet” producer Nick Wechsler credits Carolin for being “in tune with what’s happening and in sync with what audiences will respond to,” he says. “He’s an original thinker who is not afraid to collaborate and mix it up.”

Director Steven Soderbergh also singles out Carolin for his ingenuity — and his 6′ 7″ stature. “I was concerned initially that Reid’s height would be a problem,” jokes the filmmaker, “but ultimately his ideas were every bit as good as those from a normal-sized person.”

Reps: United Talent Agency; Management 360; Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush & Kaller

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