Daniel Waters
Waters at the 2008 Screenwriting Expo
Born (1962-11-10) November 10, 1962 (age 61)
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Occupation(s)Screenwriter, film director
RelativesMark Waters (brother)

Daniel Waters (born November 10, 1962) is an American screenwriter and film director. He is the older brother of director Mark Waters.

Early life

Waters was born in Cleveland, Ohio and raised in South Bend, Indiana.[1] In high school, Waters wrote a popular column titled "Troubled Waters" for his high school newspaper, where he wrote fictitious stories about his real-life classmates—not unlike the writing that appeared in his screenplay for Heathers.[2] He then wrote, directed and starred alongside Larry Karaszewski in a local sketch comedy titled Beyond Our Control in the early 1980s.[1] Waters moved to Montreal where he graduated from McGill University. After graduation, he moved to Los Angeles, and was the manager of a video store.[1]

Screenwriting credits

Waters came to prominence in 1988 for writing the black comedy Heathers,[2] for which he received a 1990 Edgar Award.[1] Heathers was an attempt for him to write of the true nature of teenagers and high-school society. Heathers was not a box-office hit for Waters when it was released, but the movie has become a cult classic.[3][4] Waters won the Edgar Allen Poe Award for Best Motion Picture.

Over the next four years, Waters served as co-writer on the comedy The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, wrote the sequel Batman Returns, and then wrote the films Hudson Hawk (for which he re-teamed with Heathers director Michael Lehmann) and Demolition Man.[5] He received the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Screenplay for both Hudson Hawk and Ford Fairlane. In 1995, he authored the first draft of the Catwoman solo movie. The story about Selina moving to a Vegas-like city called 'Oasisburg' and fighting parodies of male superheroes failed to resonate with Tim Burton or anyone at Warner.

Turn as a director

In 2001, Waters made his directorial debut with Happy Campers,[6] another teen comedy in a black vein that, after a long delay, was released straight to DVD.[7] His follow-up, Sex and Death 101, a hybrid of science fiction, dark comedy, and romantic thriller, won the Golden Space Needle Award for Best Director at the 2007 Seattle International Film Festival.[8] It was released theatrically on April 4, 2008, in New York and Los Angeles. The film re-teamed Waters with Heathers star Winona Ryder.[9]


As writer

Year Title Director Notes
1989 Heathers Michael Lehmann
1990 The Adventures of Ford Fairlane Renny Harlin Credited with James Cappe and David Arnott
1991 Hudson Hawk Michael Lehmann Credited with Steven E. de Souza
1992 Batman Returns Tim Burton Credited with Wesley Strick
1993 Demolition Man Marco Brambilla Credited with Robert Reneau and Peter M. Lenkov
2001 Happy Campers Self
2007 Sex and Death 101
2014 Vampire Academy Mark Waters


  1. ^ a b c d Umland, Samuel J. (2015). The Tim Burton Encyclopedia. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 240–241. ISBN 978-0-8108-9201-9.
  2. ^ a b "Film; 'Heathers': Light Look at a Dark Topic". The New York Times. March 26, 1989.
  3. ^ Mills, Sarah (August 9, 2018). "Cult movie 'Heathers' about U.S. high school set for re-release". Reuters.
  4. ^ Fry, Naomi (27 March 2019). "Heathers Blew Up the High-School Comedy". The New Yorker.
  5. ^ Cullum, Paul (April 2, 2008). "How very". Los Angeles Times.
  6. ^ McCarthy, Todd (February 23, 2001). "Happy Campers". Variety.
  7. ^ Rosenblatt, Josh (April 11, 2008). "Movie Review: Sex and Death 101". Austin Chronicle.
  8. ^ Nechak, Paula (April 11, 2008). "'101' Doesn't Teach Us Anything New". Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
  9. ^ Weinberg, Scott (June 2, 2006). "Heathers Creators Reteam for Indie Sex". Rotten Tomatoes.