Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci Splitting Up on Bigscreen (EXCLUSIVE)

Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

The duo will continue to work together on TV projects.

Longtime writing and producing partners Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are parting ways in their filmmaking endeavors after nearly a decade together. The pair have worked on some of Hollywood’s biggest franchise films including “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” two “Transformers” movies, “Mission Impossible III” and “Star Trek Into Darkness.” They also collaborated on indie titles such as “Now You See Me” and “People Like Us,” which Kurtzman also directed.

Kurtzman and Orci — who will remain in business together on the TV front–are parting amicably, according to sources, and the split will allow them to pursue separate feature careers as directors. The two still have more than a dozen projects in development, including the next two “Spider-Man” films. It is unclear how those projects will be handled or divided between the two men. Their production company, K/O Paper Products, which they launched in 2009, will most likely be reconfigured to accommodate their separation in the feature arena.

Orci is currently laser focused on the upcoming “Star Trek 3.” He’s already been tapped to pen the picture along with Patrick McKay and John D. Payne, and he’s lobbying heavily to direct the production. The film’s co-producers, J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot and David Ellison’s Skydance, appear to be in favor of Orci helming the film, but people familiar with the situation say that Paramount is being cautious. If Orci lands the assignment, “Star Trek 3” would mark his directorial debut.

Meanwhile, Kurtzman has been tapped to direct “Venom,” Sony’s “Spider-Man” spinoff. He wrote the script with Orci and Ed Solomon, who also produced last summer’s runaway magic-centric film “Now You See Me” with the pair.

Kurtzman is also working on a solo deal with Universal to oversee monster movie franchises that include “The Mummy” and “Van Helsing.”

On the TV side, Kurtzman and Orci have a rich overall deal with CBS TV Studios and have been on a roll the past few seasons. The scribes got their start in the biz on the 1990s syndie series “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” and are known for a high-octane blend of fantasy and action fare. They are also widely viewed as conscientious producers with a solid team at their K/O banner, which moved last year from 20th Century Fox TV to CBS.

Kurtzman and Orci co-wrote the pilot for Fox’s fantasy-drama “Sleepy Hollow,” which was a breakout hit for Fox this season. They are juggling pilots at present for CBS (“Scorpion”) and the CW (“Identity”) and a series for Robert Rodriguez’s fledgling cabler El Rey, “Matador.”

They remain exec producers of  “Hawaii Five-O,” which is wrapping its fourth season on CBS. They created Fox’s cult-fave “Fringe,” which had a five-season run.

The duo first entered into film producing with the Michael Bay-directed 2005 sci-fi pic “The Island,” a huge flop that cost $126 million to produce and grossed only $162 million globally.

Justin Kroll contributed to this report.

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  1. Charlie says:

    I tend not to write many remarks, but I looked at some of the remarks on
    Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci Splitting Up on Bigscreen | Variety.
    I actually do have a couple of questions for you if it’s allright.
    Could it be just me or do some of these comments look as if they are left by
    brain dead folks? :-P And, if you are writing at additional social sites, I would like to follow you.
    Could you post a list of the complete urls of all
    your social community pages like your Facebook
    page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

  2. MJ12 says:

    Lotta hating going on against 2 mega star screenwriters. :-/ I don’t get that.
    And friends, they don’t let friends fall apart for a dollar, they risk telling their friend to “hahhden the feck ep, moite.”
    None of us are where they are so don’t know the pressures they must deal with; some respond to pursue with chemicals.
    I wish both of them even more luck and blessings, and AA works as well in LA as it does in NYC.

  3. Orcisinnercircle says:

    As someone who’s worked with Roberto I can attest to his drinking issues. I hate how Hollywood enables substance abusers instead of them trying to help them get help. Anything in service for content, I guess.

  4. Nick Graham says:

    Well, the alcoholism would possibly explain his 9/11 Trutherism, which he shoehorned into STID (and of course dedicated it in the credits to all of our post 9/11 vets, which would be honorable if he wasn’t a nut). There are all sorts of Truther easter eggs in STID, such as Khan having 72 shipmates (ala the 72 virgins promised to extremist Muslim martyrs).

    Call Nicholas Meyer, and leave Orci far, far away from Trek.

    • Klopfer says:

      Not arguing your overall point, but the 72 shipmates have nothing to do with the 72 virgins. The number is taken from the original episode of Star Trek where it was explicitly said that 72 shipmates of Khan survived their long voyage.

  5. James McDonald says:

    Speaking as a fan of Star Trek since the original series was syndicated in the 1970’s, I would really like the next Star Trek movie for 2016 to be something really special in honor of the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek. It would be nice if all of the surviving original Star Trek cast members (1966-69, 79-94) could make an appearance in the movie in some way. I guess bringing William Shatner as “Kirk” back from the dead is out of the question because it would infringe on the books, but in science-fiction anything is possible. My fan story would be for this time alternate to finally end and we see the original surviving cast members (1966-69) back together again… Kirk, Spock, Uhura, Sulu, Chekov and Rand. I may have to settle for a Television Special instead.
    I don’t care for J.J. Abrams on the project. He has a pattern of delaying filmmaking and release dates for one year to one and a half. Waiting 4 years for another Star Trek movie just to film Super 8 (2011) first was ridiculous.
    You want to see an example of good storytelling, watch Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III: In Search of Spock. But please, don’t copy from it like Star Trek Into Darkness did (Kirk dying in chamber, bite the shark moment). Okay, I’m done with my belly-aching now.

  6. blow up vulcan! says:

    I’ve enjoyed some of Orci’s stuff, in a brainless sort of way, but I don’t think he’s a particularly good writer and I really don’t think his style of writing suits star trek at all. I liked aspects of the first two reboots films, expanding Uhura’s presence for one, but that universe has too much potential and scope to waste on mediocre blockbuster writing. There are so many fundamental flaws in the scripts of both films. He doesn’t seem to understand or respect the characters. In a franchise as old and beloved as star trek it’s pretty sad for the fans.

    I *really* hope they go for an entirely fresh team to write and direct the third star trek.

  7. Talisha Harrison says:

    Reblogged this on Cinema A Go-Go.

  8. Hates Gonna Hate says:

    Based on some of the comments below It’s a near certainty that people with an axe to grind will make libelous statements based on things they know little to nothing about. Wishing both these guys the best in their respective careers and think it would be great to see Orci in the director’s chair.

    • Differencebetweenlibelandtruth says:

      There’s a difference between libel and truth. If these guys have been working together for over two decades then there’s something to the alcoholism “rumor”. Not sure where the hate is in stating the facts. You’re probably one of those deniers who don’t really know much or anything about alcoholism

  9. Someonewhoknows says:

    Unfortunately the reason that this is happening is that Mr. Orci has a drinking problem and it has gravely affected their partnership. That’s the reason for the split. It would be scary, though not a first, for JJ, Paramount or anyone to give him an opportunity to direct something in his current spiraling down state.

    • Beat Me Up says:

      Writers drink…

    • lolle says:

      I can’t take someone whose nickname is someonewhoknows seriously

      someonewhoisdrunk should drink some coffee and perhaps find a better hobby before he becomes someonewhoknowshowtotroll

    • Nick says:

      How do you know about this alleged drinking problem?

      • Someonewhoknows says:

        The same way Orci’s agent knows, Kurtzman’s agent knows, Orci’s family knows, Kurtzman’s family knows. It’s not an over night thing. Orci’s drinking problem has been going on for sometime and anyone who actually knows Orci knows about the problem. The split was a very painful thing for Kurtzman. They’ve been best friends since they were 17. But Orci is an alcoholic. Unfortunately, Hollywood doesn’t care and they just want him to churn out more content. Alcoholic or not.

  10. The Kingslayer says:

    Who gets the children?

  11. TDS-Matt says:

    Orci already fired that shot off, considering INTO DARKNESS is about the government faking a major terrorist attack just to start a war.


    • therealeverton says:

      Not really. it’s about a rogue element of a military wing, using a REAL attack and (and you can debate all year about what some people call terrorists and other don’t) as an excuse to make an attack on an enemy’s territory that MAY lead to a war.

      They don’t fake anything, and they aren’t the government even if they did.

  12. John says:

    “a huge flop” that made 36 million dollars.

    • Mr. Majestyk says:

      You’re forgetting marketing costs and the fact that studios must split the revenue with theaters, not to mention sharing potential profits with Michael Bay. Basically, “The Island” lost money.

  13. Mark says:

    These two guys represent the worst of Hollywood’s blockbuster mentality. Everything they have made has been dumb garbage. Paramount would have to be insane to let Orci, a 9/11 truther, direct the new Star Trek film.

    • Beat Me Up says:

      All Truthers are alcoholics at the end of the day… or rejected by society in some fashion. Is he really a Truther… Christ….

  14. Duder NME says:

    You do realize that this means they’re able to spread their amateurish seed all over different films now. Both of them are directing! I didn’t even know one of them was, but BOTH? If ever the phrase “kill it with fire” needed a song, this is it! So much suck…. so much…

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