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Kyle Killen: Sought-after scribe feels like outsider

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Writer Kyle Killen has three credits in the Internet Movie Database, and two are already conspicuous: He wrote the script for the Mel Gibson film “The Beaver,” which garnered attention for the delay in its release following Gibson’s taped rants, and created Fox’s “Lone Star,” the most critically praised broadcast network drama of the 2010-11 — and the first series to be canceled that season, after just two episodes.

“I still feel new and outside of everything more or less,” he says. “At some point, people will realize I don’t belong. People will wonder why they’re continuing to call.”

For the foreseeable future, those calls will go on as the 35-year-old, Austin, Texas-based writer works on a script for a feature with Working Title and prepares the upcoming NBC midseason drama he created, “Awake.”

Like “Lone Star,” “Awake” follows a man living in two worlds: In one, his wife survived a car accident and his son died; in the other, the son is alive and the wife is dead.

“The fact we all live once leads us to question places where things could have or would have been different,” Killen says. “I tend to be really interested in characters who, instead of just asking the question, end up exploring what it would mean to try to have it more than one way.”

A graduate of USC’s film school, Killen wrote short fiction and first-person journalism after abandoning Los Angeles a few years following school. Even as he worked at “real jobs” (computer support, construction), he found it hard to give up writing screenplays. In a last-ditch effort, he returned to L.A., dressed up as a courier and dropped copies of a script at every agency he could find. Six months later, one of those agents called.

“That script probably wasn’t deserving of (getting produced),” he said, “but it got me a teeny, tiny toe in the door.”

Rising writers take biggest step
Alex Cary | Whitney Cummings | Lena Dunham | John Enbom | David Hudgins | Rolin Jones | Kyle Killen | Chris Provenzano | Emily Spivey | Hilary Winston

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