Roberto Orci
Roberto Orci in 2014
Roberto Gaston Orcí

(1973-07-20) July 20, 1973 (age 50)
Other namesBob Orci
Alma materUniversity of Texas at Austin Spring Woods Senior High School
Occupation(s)Screenwriter, film, television producer, director, film editor
Years active1997–present
Adele Heather Taylor
(m. 2020)
RelativesJ. R. Orci (brother)

Roberto Gaston Orcí (born July 20, 1973) is a Mexican-American film and television screenwriter and producer. He began his longtime collaboration with Alex Kurtzman while at school in California. Together they have been employed on television series such as Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess. In 2008, together with J. J. Abrams, they created Fringe. In 2013, they created Sleepy Hollow alongside Phillip Iscove. Orci and Kurtzman's first film project was Michael Bay's The Island, and due to that partnership they went on to write the scripts for the first two films of the Transformers film series. Orci first became a film producer with 2008's Eagle Eye and again with 2009's The Proposal.

He and Kurtzman since returned to working with Abrams on Mission: Impossible III and both Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness. Between 2005 and 2011, Kurtzman and Orci's film projects took revenues of more than $3 billion. In April 2014, Orci and Kurtzman announced that they would only collaborate in television projects, and Orci worked on the third Star Trek film, Star Trek Beyond, until being replaced the following December. Orci created the television series Matador for the El Rey Network, but after this was initially renewed, it was cancelled at the end of the first season. Both Kurtzman and Orci continue to work as producers on the television series Limitless and Scorpion. Orci was awarded the Norman Lear Writer's Award and the Raul Julia Award for Excellence, in addition to shared awards and nominations including The George Pal Memorial Award.

Early life

Orci was born in Mexico City on July 20, 1973,[1][2] to a Mexican father and a Cuban mother.[1] Orci grew up in Mexico, and moved with his family to the United States at the age of 10.[3] He was raised in Texas, Los Angeles and Canada.

He met his longtime friend and collaborator Alex Kurtzman when both were 17-year-old students at Crossroads, a privately funded school in Santa Monica, California.[4] The first time they came across each other was in a film class,[5] where they discovered each other's love for films and in particular the Steven Soderbergh film Sex, Lies, and Videotape.[6] The duo found that they had a number of things in common, as Kurtzman had previously lived in Mexico City and the two could relate. Orci later called him an "honorary Hispanic".[7] Orci went on to attend the University of Texas at Austin.[4] The duo got together once again, and began to write scripts. These included one called Misfortune Cookies which Orci described as "loosely autobiographical",[8] and Last Kiss, which Kurtzman said was their version of The Breakfast Club but was set in a lunatic asylum.[8]


Television and film screenwriting

Orci's longtime writing partner Alex Kurtzman

Orci and Kurtzman began their writing collaboration on the television series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys,[9] after being hired by Sam Raimi.[8] After actor Kevin Sorbo suffered a stroke, the duo were required to come up with inventive ideas to minimize his appearances on screen. Due to this work, they became show runners at the age of 24.[9] They were also involved in the sister-series to Hercules, Xena: Warrior Princess.[8] They sought to move to writing for a network-based television series, but found this difficult. After receiving a series of negative responses, they met with J. J. Abrams who was starting work on Alias at the time. The meeting went well, and resulted in them working on the series.[10] They would go on to work together again on the Fox science fiction series Fringe where all three were listed as co-creators.[11]

Orci and Kurtzman received their break in writing for films in 2004, with the Michael Bay film The Island,[9] for which they developed the spec script by Caspian Tredwell-Owen.[12] When Kurtzman and Orci first met Bay, he asked the pair "Why should I trust you?", to which Orci replied "You shouldn't yet. Let's see what happens."[13] While the film was not an overwhelming success, they were brought back for Bay's following film, Transformers, after producer Steven Spielberg asked them to come in for a meeting.[9][14] The movie took in $710 million at the box office.[9]

Following their work on that film, the duo were brought in to revise the script for Zack Snyder's Watchmen,[15] in an uncredited capacity.[16] They worked once more with Abrams, on Mission: Impossible III.[17] When they collaborated once more with Bay for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, they were under significant time pressures due to the 2007–08 Writers Guild of America strike. Kurtzman and Orci had two weeks to outline the film, and after the strike Bay had them moved into the Hotel Casa del Mar. The hotel was six blocks away from his office, enabling Bay to conduct surprise inspections.[18]

In the period between 2005 and 2011, the films written by Kurtzman and Orci grossed more than $3 billion, leading to Forbes describing them as "Hollywood's secret weapons".[9] The busyness of their screenwriting careers required them to collaborate with other writers due to the number of projects they were involved in. For example, on Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, they teamed up with Ehren Kruger,[8] who took over from them on the writing duties for the Transfomers franchise from Transformers: Dark of the Moon onwards.[19]

Becoming a producer

Orci's first credit solely as a producer came with the film Eagle Eye, where he worked once again alongside Kurtzman. He said in an interview with the magazine Extra that he had previously been involved in productions where the producers had writing backgrounds and had looked to them for help, and he was happy to provide that same support to the writers on Eagle Eye.[7] The director of the film, D. J. Caruso, praised the duo saying that "What's unusually cool about them is that they have maintained the producer-writer power that they earned in television and carried that over into the feature film area, and that is extremely rare."[20] Following their work on Eagle Eye, they were executive producers on the Sandra Bullock film, The Proposal.[20]

Despite their film careers, Orci and Kurtzman continued to create television series. These included Sleepy Hollow, which they developed alongside Phillip Iscove. They pitched the series to a number of networks,[21] and it was picked up by Fox.[22] Orci took five years to bring the series Matador to television, with it originating from a conversation with his cousin Andrew. It was created for Robert Rodriguez's El Rey Network, and Rodriguez's one demand of the show was that he could direct the pilot episode. Orci later explained in an interview that it was an easy decision, and he needed to pretend to consider it.[23]

Orci and Kurtzman also worked together as executive producers on the animated television series, Transformers: Prime, due to their involvement with the live action movies. Following the end of the series they were hopeful to be involved in a future animated series based on the premise, which Orci saw less like a reboot of the show and more of a continuation in a different guise. He felt that while Prime was sophisticated, there were concerns that it was leaving younger viewers behind because of its complexity and intensity.[24]

Star Trek reboot

Orci and Kurtzman were asked to write the script for a new Star Trek film, but initially turned it down despite Orci being a fan of the series.[8] Orci suggested rebooting the timeline as seen previously in the films and television series,[25] and adding the return of Leonard Nimoy as Spock from Star Trek: The Original Series.[8] He considered the first two films in the reboot series to be the origin story for the crew, and that the third film would start where the crew was at the beginning of Star Trek: The Original Series.[26] Orci felt that the relationship between the James T. Kirk and the younger Spock was reflective of the partnership of himself and Kurtzman, he said that "We didn't even realize we were writing about ourselves until we were halfway through the script, that was a little embarrassing.[20]

Star Trek was profitable at the domestic box-office, resulting in a sequel being greenlit by the studio and Kurtzman and Orci being asked to write it.[27] The studio set aside a larger budget for the sequel, which was revealed by Orci in an interview with[28] Orci ruled out the "hero quitting" staple of a second movie, which had featured in the Transformers sequel, saying that the crew of the Enterprise were committed and that type of story does not have to apply to all sequels.[29] During the buildup to the film, called Star Trek Into Darkness, Orci was one of the production team who did not give much away about the villain in the film and denied that Benedict Cumberbatch was to play Khan Noonian Singh.[30][31]

Breakup of the partnership

In April 2014, Orci and Kurtzman confirmed to Variety that they are no longer going to work together on film projects but will still collaborate on television.[11][32] Kurtzman wanted to work on the Spider-Man film franchise, while Orci was linked to the directorial role for Star Trek 3.[11] Orci confirmed later that year in July that he was not involved in the production of The Amazing Spider-Man 3 alongside Kurtzman.[33] Orci and Kurtzman's K/O Paper Products continues to operate as a production company within CBS Television Studios, and has created the series Scorpion inspired by the life of Walter O'Brien for the 2014–15 season and Limitless was created for the 2015–16 season from the 2011 film.[34][35]

Prior to the split of Kurtzman and Orci, the duo were lined up to write the third film in the new Star Trek series.[36] In May 2014, Skydance and Paramount Pictures announced that Orci was to direct the third installment of the Star Trek reboot franchise,[37] after Abrams moved on to direct Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This would have marked Orci's directorial debut, and he was to write the script alongside co-writers JD Payne and Patrick McKay.[38] Due to his commitment to Star Trek 3, he dropped out of a new Power Rangers film, for which he would have been executive producer.[39] But on December 5, it was announced he would no longer be directing the Star Trek film.[40] He remains credited as a producer on the film,[41] and was replaced by Doug Jung and cast member Simon Pegg as the script writers after Orci's initial script was dropped.[42][43] Orci was replaced as director by Justin Lin, who had previously directed films in The Fast and the Furious franchise.[42]

Orci created Matador with the idea that the main character would be a "soccer player by day who is a spy by night", and called him a "Latin James Bond". The series was broadcast on the El Rey Network created by Robert Rodriguez. It was renewed for a second season shortly before the pilot was broadcast,[3] which had been directed by Rodriguez. But following the production of the first season, the series was cancelled despite the earlier renewal. This decision was blamed on poor international sales.[44]

In March 2020, it was reported that Roberto Orci was hired by Sony to write a script for an untitled Marvel film that would be set in Sony's Spider-Man Universe.[45]

Personal life

Roberto Orci & Adele Heather Taylor attend a CBS Sunset on the Beach event to celebrate 'Hawaii Five-0', in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Orci married actress and screenwriter Adele Heather Taylor on June 6, 2020, in a private ceremony. They work together as screenwriters and producers.

Awards and accolades

The Hollywood Reporter listed Orci as one of the 50 most powerful Latinos in Hollywood of 2007.[46] His first solo accolade was the Norman Lear Writer's Award at the Imagen Awards in 2009. He described the experience of receiving an award without Kurtzman as "bizarre".[5] Orci has also been awarded the Raul Julia Award for Excellence by the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts.[47] Together with Kurtzman, Orci won The George Pal Memorial Award at the 2010 Saturn Awards.[48]

Orci and Kurtzman were both honored by the nonprofit organization Chrysalis at the Butterfly Ball on June 8, 2013. The organization raises money for homeless people and low-income families, Orci said that "When you hear the life stories from people right here in our own community, who are clients at Chrysalis, and when you come to learn of their lowest moments and how Chrysalis has led to their proudest triumphs, it's easy to see why this local organization is so impactful."[49]

In 2017, Orci was the recipient of the "Visionary Impact Award" by the National Hispanic Media Coalition.[50] This award is given out by the organization for "Latinos making outstanding contributions to the positive portrayals of Latinos in film and TV".[51]



Year Title Credited as Notes
Writer Producer
2005 The Island Yes No Co-wrote with Alex Kurtzman and Caspian Tredwell-Owen
The Legend of Zorro Yes[52] No Co-wrote with Alex Kurtzman, Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio
2006 Mission: Impossible III Yes No Co-wrote with J. J. Abrams and Alex Kurtzman
2007 Transformers Yes No Co-wrote with Alex Kurtzman and John Rogers
2008 Eagle Eye No Yes[7]
2009 Watchmen Yes No Uncredited script polish
Star Trek Yes[5] executive Co-wrote with Alex Kurtzman
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Yes[5][53] No Co-wrote with Ehren Kruger and Alex Kurtzman
The Proposal No executive
2011 Cowboys & Aliens Yes[54] Yes Co-wrote with Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof, Steve Oedekerk, Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby
2012 People Like Us Yes[55] Yes Co-wrote with Alex Kurtzman and Jody Lambert
2013 Star Trek Into Darkness Yes[56] Yes Co-wrote with Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof
Now You See Me No Yes
Ender's Game No Yes[57]
2014 The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Yes executive[58] Co-wrote with Alex Kurtzman, Jeff Pinkner and James Vanderbilt
2016 Now You See Me 2 No Yes[59]
Star Trek Beyond (uncredited) Yes
2017 The Mummy (uncredited) executive[60]
TBA Untitled SSU film Yes No

Television credits

Year TV Program Credit Notes Ref
1997–1998 Hercules: The Legendary Journeys Writer, co-executive producer [9]
1999–2000 Xena: Warrior Princess Writer, co-executive producer, creative consultant [8]
2000 Jack of All Trades Writer, executive producer [23]
2001–2006 Alias Writer, supervising producer, co-executive producer, executive producer [11]
2004 The Secret Service Co-creator, co-writer, executive producer Pilot [61]
2008–2013 Fringe Co-creator, writer, executive producer, consulting producer
  • Nominated – Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form (2013)
  • Nominated – Writers Guild of America Award for Long Form – Original (2009)
  • Nominated – Writers Guild of America Award for New Series (2009)
2010–2013 Transformers: Prime Executive producer
  • Won – Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class Animated Program (2012)
2010–2020 Hawaii Five-0 Developer, writer, executive producer [65]
2011 Locke & Key Co-creator, co-writer, executive producer, editor Pilot [66]
Exit Strategy Co-creator, co-writer, executive producer, editor Pilot [67]
2013–2017 Sleepy Hollow Co-creator, co-writer, executive producer, editor [21]
2014 Matador Co-creator, co-writer, executive producer [23]
Scorpion Executive producer [68]
2015–2016 Limitless Executive producer [69]


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