Michael Tolkin
Born (1950-10-17) October 17, 1950 (age 73)
Alma materMiddlebury College (BA) [1]
Occupation(s)Writer, film director

Michael L. Tolkin (born October 17, 1950) is an American filmmaker and novelist. He has written numerous screenplays, including The Player (1992), which he adapted from his own 1988 novel of the same name,[2] and for which he received the Edgar Award for Best Motion Picture Screenplay (1993) and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. He later wrote a follow-up to the novel, titled The Return of the Player, which was published in 2006.[3]

In 2018, Tolkin served as co-creator of the miniseries Escape at Dannemora with Brett Johnson.[4] The series was based on the real-life 2015 Clinton Correctional Facility escape that led to a massive manhunt for two escaped convicts in upstate New York. In 2022, he served as creator of the miniseries The Offer, which centered on the development of the 1972 film The Godfather.


Tolkin was born to a Romanian-Jewish and Ukrainian-Jewish family[5][6] in New York City, New York, the son of Edith (née Leibovitch), a studio executive and film industry lawyer, and the late comedy writer Mel Tolkin.[7][8]

He is a 1974 graduate of Middlebury College.[1]

Tolkin lives in Los Angeles with his wife, author Wendy Mogel. They have two daughters, Susanna and Emma.[9]



Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
1982 Gossip No Yes No Unfinished
1989 Gleaming the Cube No Yes Associate
1991 The Rapture Yes Yes No
1992 The Player No Yes Yes BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Film
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay
Deep Cover No Yes No
1994 The New Age Yes Yes No
1998 Deep Impact No Yes No
2002 Changing Lanes No Yes No
2009 Nine No Yes No

Uncredited writing roles


TV series

Year Title Director Writer Producer Creator Notes
1979 Delta House No Yes No No 3 episodes
1980 Taxi No Yes No No Episode "Shut It Down: Part 1"
2007 Masters of Science Fiction Yes Yes No No Episode "Jerry Was a Man"
2014-2015 Ray Donovan No Yes Consulting No Wrote 4 episodes
2018 Escape at Dannemora No Yes Executive Yes Miniseries
2022 The Offer No Yes Executive Yes

TV movies

Year Title Writer Producer
1994 The Burning Season Yes No
1997 The Player Yes Executive
2008 1% Yes Yes



  1. ^ a b "Middlebury College Alumni Honor Roll" Archived 2016-07-26 at the Wayback Machine, Middlebury College website
  2. ^ a b Tolkin, Michael, "The Player", 1st ed., New York : Atlantic Monthly Press, 1988. ISBN 0-87113-228-1
  3. ^ Tolkin, Michael, The Return of the Player, 1st ed., New York : Grove Press, 2006. ISBN 0-8021-1801-1
  4. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (June 2, 2017). "Paul Dano Joins Benicio del Toro & Patricia Arquette As Ben Stiller's Prison Break Limited Series Gets Showtime Green Light". Deadline. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  5. ^ Rosenman, Howard (March 20, 2019). "Hollywood Writer Michael Tolkin on Judaism, Awards and Global Warming". The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. Retrieved April 12, 2019.
  6. ^ Tablet Magazine: "Michael Tolkin’s American Midrash" by Michael Lee retrieved June 2, 2017
  7. ^ Filmreference.com
  8. ^ "Michael Tolkin". Archived from the original on March 14, 2007. Retrieved July 4, 2022.
  9. ^ New York Times: "So the Torah Is a Parenting Guide?" by Emily Bazelon October 1, 2006
  10. ^ Allen Barra "The Return of the Player," Salon, October 26, 2006.