×

Terrio: Scribe worked fringes until ‘Argo’

10 Screenwriters to Watch 2012: Chris Terrio

Insiders have been watching Terrio for some time, but this year, the “Argo” scribe — whose work had landed on the Black List three times — finally had the satisfaction of seeing one of his unproduced scripts reach the screen. Now, with the Ben Affleck-helmed Iran extraction thriller on his resume, Terrio has become one of the town’s hottest talents — a surreal turn for the Harvard-educated lit major, who credits “Argo” exec producer Nina Wolarsky with giving him a chance based on a pair of early screenplays.

The first, “Random Family,” is based on reporter Adrian Nicole LeBlanc’s decade-long study of a struggling Bronx tribe. The second, a period piece called “The Ends of the Earth,” dramatizes a scandalous father-daughter love story that brought down a powerful Oklahoma oil baron.

“He writes like a storyteller, like a director in a way, the way he cuts the picture on the page,” says Affleck, who got the “Argo” script from Smoke House (where Wolarsky was developing the pic for George Clooney to star). “He was so deeply steeped in the research, he became this amazing asset. How many relationships have the writer on the set every day? That’s a rarity.”

Popular on Variety

As it happens, Terrio had studied directing at USC. Among the writer’s first believers was producer James Ivory, who hired Terrio as an assistant while he was in grad school. Terrio’s work for Merchant Ivory ultimately led to a rare opportunity: The shingle had the rights to a script by Amy Fox called “Heights” (far different from its usual teacup-rattlers, the film offered a semi-poisonous behind-the-scenes look at ambitious New York showfolk), and Ivory asked Terrio to direct it.

Terrio’s impressive tyro effort went to Sundance in 2005 and gave him hope that a helming career might lay ahead. But when no second feature opportunity came, Terrio turned his attention back to writing. Boosted by “Argo,” he has an original story set in New York criminal syndicates in the works for George Clooney to star and Paul Greengrass to direct, a second script in Affleck’s hands (a remake of hit French thriller “Tell No One”) and a look at Guatemalan political assassinations based on David Grann’s page-turning New Yorker story, “A Murder Foretold.”

Reps: CAA, Anonymous Content

Return to 10 Screenwriters to Watch 2012

More Scene

  • BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 21:

    Jenna Andrews Hosts Zhavia Ward, Lennon Stella at Jed Foundation Fundraiser

    Jenna Andrews, the Canadian singer-songwriter, record producer and executive, hosted a pre-Grammy event in partnership with The Jed Foundation at Alice and Olivia in West Hollywood on Tuesday.  The non-profit Jed is dedicated to protecting emotional health and preventing suicide. The foundation has partnered with high schools and colleges in order to “strengthen mental health, [...]

  • Coldplay - Chris Martin

    Grammys 2020: The Ultimate Party Guide

    Let the music play, indeed. The Grammys are just days away and dozens of parties are happening every night this week leading up to the big day, Sunday, Jan. 26. And the partying continues with several bashes following the ceremony. (All events listed are by invitation only unless marked otherwise; this list is being updated [...]

  • Jared Harris arrives at the 26th

    No, Jared Harris is Not Playing Doctor Octopus in Marvel's 'Morbius'

    The first-ever trailer for Marvel and Sony’s next Spider-man spinoff “Morbius” left comic book fans reeling with theories. While the plight of the main character, Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) – a scientist dying of a rare blood disease who accidentally turns himself into a vampire – seemed ripped right out of the comics, the [...]

  • Charlize Theron31st Annual Producers Guild Awards,

    Charlize Theron Says Megyn Kelly's 'Bombshell' Reaction Video Was 'Really Validating'

    Charlize Theron says it was “really emotional” to watch Megyn Kelly’s half-hour response video to “Bombshell,” the Oscar-nominated feature film that depicts the sexual harassment Kelly (as played by Theron) and several other women experienced from Fox News founder Roger Ailes. The video, which Kelly posted to her YouTube Channel on Jan. 9, shows Kelly, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content