Roger Avary
Roger Avary in 2012 Scream Awards
Avary in 2012
Born
Roger Roberts Avary

(1965-08-23) August 23, 1965 (age 58)
NationalityCanadian
American[1]
Occupation(s)Director, screenwriter, producer
Years active1992–present

Roger Roberts Avary[1] (born August 23, 1965) is a Canadian-American film, television director, screenwriter and producer. He worked with Quentin Tarantino on Pulp Fiction, for which they won Best Original Screenplay at the 67th Academy Awards. Avary directed Killing Zoe, The Rules of Attraction, Lucky Day, and wrote the screenplays for Silent Hill and Beowulf.[2]

Post Pulp Fiction, Avary had a falling out with Tarantino that lasted twenty years.[3] In 2022, Avary reunited with Quentin Tarantino to launch a podcast called The Video Archives Podcast.[4] The first episode premiered on July 19, 2022.[5]

Career

Killing Zoe

In 1993 Avary made directed his feature film debut with Killing Zoe. The film follows an American safe-cracker (Eric Stoltz) who travels to Paris to aid a childhood friend (Jean-Hugues Anglade) with a bank heist. Along the way he meets and befriends a sex worker (Julie Delpy) whose fate becomes tied with the crime.[6] The film premiered at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival and went on to win the Grand Prize award at the 5th Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival. [7]

Pulp Fiction

Avary and Quentin Tarantino worked on the 1994 film Pulp Fiction, for which they won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.[8] According to Tarantino, Avary originally came up with the plot of the boxer Butch Coolidge and his gold watch from a screenplay named Pandemonium Reigns he had written himself.[9]

Mr. Stitch

In 1995 Avary wrote and directed the science fiction Mr. Stitch a film for the Syfy. Loosely a modern take on Frankenstein, the film features Wil Wheaton, Rutger Hauer, Nia Peeples, and Ron Perlman.[10]

Phantasm 1999

After winning an Oscar for Pulp Fiction, Avary reached out to Don Coscarelli and expressed an interest in writing a Phantasm sequel.[11] Entitled Phantasm 1999, the film would have taken place in an apocalyptic future United States divided into three zones: Los Angeles, California; New York, New York; and the Plague Zone. The Plague Zone would be controlled by the Tall Man where he infects people with his "bag plague".[11] Reggie must lead a secret government operation, called the "S Squad", into the Plague Zone to defeat the Tall Man.[11]

Avary and Coscarelli spent years trying to get the film made and even had financing in place in 1997 before that company changed hands and the deal evaporated.[11] Eventually, Coscarelli made Phantasm IV without Avary, although as of 2022 Coscarelli still had interest in filming Avary's script, now entitled Phantasm’s End as 1999 has come and gone.[11]

The Rules of Attraction

In 2002, Avary directed the film adaptation for The Rules of Attraction, based on Bret Easton Ellis' novel, which he also executive produced.[12] The Rules of Attraction was the first studio film to be edited on Apple's Final Cut Pro editing system.[13] Avary became a spokesperson for Final Cut Pro product,[14] appearing in Apple print and web ads worldwide. In 2005, Avary, at the request of his friend, actor James Van Der Beek, played the part of a peyote-taking gonzo film director Franklin Brauner in the film Standing Still.[15]

"Glitterati"

The film Glitterati was finished in 2004 and stars Kip Pardue. It can never be released because of legal and ethical concerns.

Silent Hill

In 2006, Avary wrote a screenplay adaptation to the Konami video game, Silent Hill (2006), with French director and friend, Christophe Gans, and Killing Zoe producer Samuel Hadida. Avary and Gans being long time gamers and fans of the Silent Hill series, collaborated on the film.[16]

Beowulf

Avary and novelist Neil Gaiman wrote the screenplay for the 2007 film Beowulf which was directed by Robert Zemeckis.[17]

Lucky Day

In September 2017 Avary directed his own screenplay, Lucky Day, a semi-sequel of Killing Zoe.[18]

The Video Archives Podcast (2022–present)

In 2021, Quentin Tarantino announced that he and Roger Avary would launch a podcast titled The Video Archives Podcast.[19] The point of the podcast is to discuss films from the actual Video Archives collection that they would recommend to customers when they worked there. The set is surrounded by actual VHS copies of films from Video Archives that Tarantino bought after the store went out of business. They are joined by podcast announcer, Gala Avary, Roger Avary's daughter. The first episode premiered on July 19, 2022.[5] The duo discussed John Carpenter's Dark Star (1974) and Ulli Lommel's Cocaine Cowboys (1979).

Manslaughter charge

On January 13, 2008, Avary was arrested under suspicion of manslaughter and DUI, following a car crash in Ojai, California, where a passenger, Andreas Zini, was killed. The Ventura County Sheriff's department responded to the crash after midnight Sunday morning on the 1900 block of East Ojai Avenue. Avary was released from jail on $50,000 bail.[20] In December 2008, he was charged with, and pleaded not guilty to, gross vehicular manslaughter and two felony counts of causing bodily injury while intoxicated.[21] He changed his plea to guilty on August 18, 2009.[22] On September 29, 2009, he was sentenced to one year in work furlough (allowing him to go to his job during the day and then report back to the furlough facility at night) and five years of probation.[23] However, after making several tweets about the conditions of his stay on Twitter, Avary was sent to Ventura County Jail to serve out the remainder of his term.[24]

In a 2012 interview with IndieWire, Avary said, regarding the crash and incarceration, "Incarceration didn't change me," and after a long pause, "In many, many ways, incarceration galvanized me. The totality of the experience helped me." He went on to say, "I spend every waking moment thinking about how I can live my life in such a way to honor this terrible loss that occurred."[25]

In 2019, Avary said about the crash, "When something like that happens and an atom bomb sort of goes off in your life, it either blows you into pieces—if you allow it to—or you use the force of the blast to propel you forward."[26]

Filmography

Short film

Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
1983 The Worm Turns Yes Yes Yes
The Boys No No Yes Also cinematographer

Feature film

Year Title Director Writer Executive
Producer
Notes
1993 Killing Zoe Yes Yes No Grand Prize at the Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival
1994 Pulp Fiction No Story No Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay
BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay
1995 Mr. Stitch Yes Yes Yes
2002 The Rules of Attraction Yes Yes Yes
2004 Glitterati Yes Yes No Unreleased;
Also producer, editor and cinematographer
2006 Silent Hill No Yes No
2007 Beowulf No Yes Yes
2019 Lucky Day Yes Yes No

Executive producer only

Television

Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
1997 Odd Jobs Yes Yes Yes TV pilot
2012 XIII: The Series No Yes Executive 13 episodes

Other credits

Year Title Role
1987 Maximum Potential Production assistant
1987 My Best Friend's Birthday Lost film
Cinematographer
1992 Reservoir Dogs Writer of background radio dialogue[27]
1993 True Romance[27] Uncredited writer[27]
2006 36 Steps Spiritual support

References

  1. ^ a b c "Roger Avary: Biography". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved October 19, 2018.
  2. ^ "Roger Avary". Filmbug. 2007-11-18. Retrieved 2012-10-27.
  3. ^ "Film Review: 'Lucky Day'". 14 October 2019.
  4. ^ "Quentin Tarantino Launches His New Movie Podcast with Roger Avary". No Film School. 2022-07-19. Retrieved 2022-07-21.
  5. ^ a b Avary, The Video Archives Podcast with Quentin Tarantino and Roger. "The Video Archives Podcast with Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avary - Dark Star / Cocaine Cowboys". Google Podcasts. Retrieved 2022-07-21.
  6. ^ "Killing Zoe". rogerebert.com. Retrieved 2017-05-02.
  7. ^ "YUBARI INTERNATIONAL FANTASTIC ADVENTURE FILM FESTIVAL'94". Yubarifanta.com. Archived from the original on April 7, 2004. Retrieved 2009-09-19.
  8. ^ "Academy Awards Acceptance Speeches - Search Results | Margaret Herrick Library | Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences". aaspeechesdb.oscars.org. Retrieved 2022-07-20.
  9. ^ "Roger Avary: The forgotten co-writer of 'Pulp Fiction'". faroutmagazine.co.uk. 2021-08-23. Retrieved 2022-07-20.
  10. ^ Todd Everett (August 15, 1996). "Review: 'Mr. Stitch'". Variety. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  11. ^ a b c d e Jenkins, Jason (May 30, 2022). "'Phantasm 1999' – Don Coscarelli Details the Wild Post-Apocalyptic Sequel We Never Saw". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved October 7, 2023.
  12. ^ "Comedy - College Movies at the Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-10-27.
  13. ^ "More don't miss stories from Macworld page 1". Macworld.com. 2002-01-15. Archived from the original on 2008-08-29. Retrieved 2012-10-27.
  14. ^ "Apple.com". Archived from the original on November 6, 2005.
  15. ^ Clint Morris. "Exclusive Interview : James Van Der Beek". Moviehole.net. Archived from the original on 13 October 2006. Retrieved 21 January 2007.
  16. ^ Matt Withers (20 April 2006). "INT: Roger Avary". JoBlo.com. Retrieved 21 January 2007.
  17. ^ "Stv.tv". Archived from the original on December 13, 2007.
  18. ^ "Director Roger Avary wrote 'Lucky Day' during year-long incarceration with 'dialogues, ruminations and themes' from 'cell block C4'".
  19. ^ Spangler, Todd (2022-06-02). "Quentin Tarantino, Roger Avary Set to Launch 'The Video Archives Podcast'". Variety. Retrieved 2022-07-21.
  20. ^ "'Pulp Fiction' screenwriter Avary arrested after fatal Ojai crash". Ventura County-Star. 13 January 2008. Archived from the original on 5 February 2013.
  21. ^ Catherine Saillant (13 December 2008). "Screenwriter Roger Avary charged with gross vehicular manslaughter". Los Angeles Times.
  22. ^ The Associated Press (21 August 2009). "Roger Avary pleads guilty to manslaughter". The Hollywood Reporter.
  23. ^ "Avary Given Work Furlough at Ojai Valley News Blog". Ovnblog.com. Archived from the original on 2012-03-01. Retrieved 2012-10-27.
  24. ^ "Screenwriter Roger Avary moved from work furlough program to jail after tweeting episode". Los Angeles Times. 27 November 2009. Archived from the original on 28 June 2013.
  25. ^ Kohn, Eric (2012-08-06). "Roger Avary's First Post-Prison Interview: Where His Career Will Take Him Next". IndieWire. Retrieved 2022-07-21.
  26. ^ Rausch, Andrew J. (9 December 2019). "Being Roger Avary: Lucky Day, Incarceration, and Rekindling His Friendship with Tarantino - Diabolique Magazine". Retrieved 2022-07-21.
  27. ^ a b c "Roger Avary: Rule Breaker". Independent.co.uk. March 14, 2003.