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Scott Alexander
Born (1963-06-16) June 16, 1963 (age 58)
Alma materUSC School of Cinematic Arts
OccupationScreenwriter
Years active1990–present
Children3[1]
Larry Karaszewski
Born (1961-11-20) November 20, 1961 (age 60)
Alma materUSC School of Cinematic Arts
OccupationScreenwriter
Years active1990–present
Spouse(s)
Emily Karazewski
(m. 1991)
Children2

Scott Alexander (born June 16, 1963) and Larry Karaszewski (/ˌkærəˈzjski/; born November 20, 1961) are an American screenwriting team. They are best known for writing postmodern biopics with larger-than-life characters. They coined the term "anti-biopic" to describe the genre they invented: Movies about people who don't deserve one.[2] They are uninterested in the traditional "great man" story, focusing instead on obscure strivers in American pop culture.

They met at the University of Southern California where they were freshman roommates; they graduated from the School of Cinematic Arts in 1985.[3]

Biography

Their first success was the popular but critically derided comedy Problem Child (1990). Alexander and Karaszewski claim that their original screenplay was a sophisticated black comedy, but that the studio replaced them and watered it down into an unrecognizable state.[4] With the studio in a hurry to make a sequel, they returned to write Problem Child 2.[5]

In 1992, dissatisfied with their career, they decided to write a biopic about Edward D. Wood, Jr. Rather than mocking him, they identified with the obscure filmmaker and his struggles.[6] Tim Burton loved their script Ed Wood and agreed to direct it. They had written the screenplay in six weeks.[7]

Ed Wood’s acclaim led to a succession of offbeat biopics. They wrote The People vs. Larry Flynt and Man on the Moon (about the short life of comedian Andy Kaufman), both films directed by Milos Forman. They produced Auto Focus, chronicling the downfall and subsequent murder of Hogan's Heroes star Bob Crane. A script they penned about the life of Robert Ripley of Ripley's Believe It or Not! was at one time attached to Jim Carrey, but like their script about The Marx Brothers, it has yet to be produced.

They also adapted Stephen King's short story 1408, did uncredited rewrites on Mars Attacks!, and worked on a number of family films, such as Agent Cody Banks, a remake of That Darn Cat, and Goosebumps. In 2000, they made their directorial debut with Screwed.

In 2007, they both appeared in the documentary Dreams on Spec, a film looking at the Hollywood creative process from the perspective of the writer.

The duo wrote Tim Burton's 2014 film Big Eyes, a biopic about painter Margaret Keane. They were slated to direct but vacated later. The film took them eleven years to get made.[8]

In 2016, the team created their first television series, American Crime Story, which is a true crime anthology drama. The first season is based on the O. J. Simpson trial.[9] The show won nine Primetime Emmys after it aired on FX in 2016, with Alexander and Karaszewski nominated for Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special. They won the Emmy, Golden Globe, Writers Guild Award, and Producers Guild Award for this miniseries.

In 2019, they wrote the biopic Dolemite Is My Name, Eddie Murphy’s return to the big screen, which has a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[10]

Karaszewski and Alexander have been inducted into the Final Draft (software) Screenwriter Hall of Fame. Other inductees include Quentin Tarantino, Robert Towne and Paul Schrader.[11] They have also both served as advisors to the Sundance Screenwriting Labs.[12]

Karaszewski is currently a Governor for the Writers Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He is also Vice President of History and Presevation for the Academy.[13] Karaszewski co-chaired the Oscar’s International Executive Committee from 2018-2020. He was instrumental in changing the name of the category from Best Foreign Language Film to Best International Feature.[14]

Alexander has served four terms on the Board of Directors for the Writers Guild of America West.[15]

The duo are active cineastes in Los Angeles hosting screenings of classic films for the American Cinematheque.[16][17] Karaszewski’s numerous film commentaries can be found on the website Trailers from Hell.[18] Karaszewski also currently serves on the board of directors of the National Film Preservation Foundation.[1][19]

Both Karaszewski and Alexander were teenage filmmakers. Alexander’s Super 8 work was featured in a traveling theatrical release spotlighting young directors that also included J.J. Abrams.[20] Karaszewski spent his youth as actor/writer/director on the award winning student television program Beyond Our Control.[21]

They are frequent guests on film related podcasts. Among the shows they have appeared on are Maltin on Movies, Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast, The Movies That Made Me, The Pure Cinema Podcast, The Dana Gould Hour, The Marx Brothers Council Podcast, The Big Picture, The Treatment, The Film Scene with Ileana Douglas, The Adam Corolla Show, Post Mortem with Mick Garris, The Cannon with Amy Nicholson, The Empire Film Podcast…[22]

Filmography

As screenwriters

Year Film Director Note
1990 Problem Child Dennis Dugan
1991 Problem Child 2 Brian Levant
1994 Ed Wood Tim Burton Nominated–Saturn Award for Best Writing
Nominated–Writers Guild Award for Best Original Screenplay
1996 The People vs. Larry Flynt Miloš Forman Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay
Satellite Award for Best Original Screenplay
Writers Guild of America Paul Selvin Award
1997 That Darn Cat Bob Spiers
1999 Man on the Moon Miloš Forman
2000 Screwed - Also Directors
2003 Agent Cody Banks Harald Zwart Co-written with Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz
2007 1408 Mikael Håfström Co-written with Matt Greenberg
2014 Big Eyes Tim Burton Also Producers
Nominated–Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay
2015 Goosebumps Rob Letterman Story only
2019 Dolemite Is My Name Craig Brewer

Television series

Year Film Director Note
1993–94 Problem Child Various Also executive producers
2016–present American Crime Story Also executive producers and creators
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Limited Series (2016, 2018)
Golden Globe Award for Best Miniseries or Television Film (2017, 2019)
Producers Guild of America Award for Best Long-Form Television (2017)
Producers Guild of America Award for Best Limited Series Television (2019)
Writers Guild Award for Television: Long Form – Adapted
Nominated–Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special

Other credits

References

  1. ^ "Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski". Final Draft. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  2. ^ Bingham, Dennis (2010). Whose Lives Are They Anyway?. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press. p. 23. ISBN 978-0-8135-4658-2.
  3. ^ "An Evening with Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski". Cinema.usc.edu. November 2, 2010.
  4. ^ "Money-into-light.com". Money-into-light.com. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  5. ^ "Problem Child/Problem Child 2". Vern's Reviews On the Film of Cinema. 20 July 2021. ((cite web)): |first1= missing |last1= (help)
  6. ^ Alexander, Scott (1995). Ed Wood (First ed.). Great Britain: Faber and Faber. p. vi. ISBN 0-571-17568-6.
  7. ^ Yahoo.com
  8. ^ Fleming, Mike (6 January 2015). "Hard Road to Oscar". Deadline.
  9. ^ Zuckerman, Esther (January 17, 2015). "Ryan Murphy to tackle O.J. Simpson case with 'American Crime Story'". Entertainment Weekly.
  10. ^ ""Dolemite Is My Name"". Rotten Tomatoes.
  11. ^ "Hall of Fame Awards". Final Draft®. Retrieved 2022-03-15.
  12. ^ Torres, Vanessa; Torres, Vanessa (1999-05-04). "Pix in mix for Sundance Institute labs". Variety. Retrieved 2022-06-04.
  13. ^ "Board of Governors". Oscars.org | Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 2014-09-01. Retrieved 2022-03-15.
  14. ^ Kay2019-11-18T13:00:00+00:00, Jeremy. "Oscar committee co-chairs explain the international category name change". Screen. Retrieved 2022-03-15.
  15. ^ "Research Methods for Writers with Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski". The Writers Guild Foundation. Retrieved 2022-03-15.
  16. ^ "Scott Alexander Presents HORSE FEATHERS & DUCK SOUP". American Cinematheque. Retrieved 2022-03-15.
  17. ^ Cinematheque, American (2015-05-05). "MOVIES ON THE BIG SCREEN: Conversations at the Cinematheque: Mel Brooks for THE PRODUCERS, 3/7/15". MOVIES ON THE BIG SCREEN. Retrieved 2022-04-27.
  18. ^ "Larry Karaszewski Archives". Trailers From Hell. Retrieved 2022-03-15.
  19. ^ Kit, Borys (2021-04-19). "Netflix's Scott Stuber Joins Board of National Film Preservation Foundation (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2022-04-25.
  20. ^ Longwell, Todd (2011-11-22). "Gerard Ravel and the Super 8 Festival that Launched J.J. Abrams | Filmmaker Magazine". Filmmaker Magazine | Publication with a focus on independent film, offering articles, links, and resources. Retrieved 2022-04-26.
  21. ^ "Beyond Our Control, Lou Pierce Article, 2001". www.beyondourcontrol.org. Retrieved 2022-04-26.
  22. ^ "Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast". www.gilbertpodcast.com. Retrieved 2022-06-04.