Scott Alexander
Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski
Born (1963-06-16) June 16, 1963 (age 60)
Alma materUSC School of Cinematic Arts
Years active1990–present
Larry Karaszewski
Alexander and Karaszewski on a soundstage
Born (1961-11-20) November 20, 1961 (age 61)
Alma materUSC School of Cinematic Arts
Years active1990–present
Emily Karazewski
(m. 1991)

Scott Alexander (born June 16, 1963) and Larry Karaszewski (/ˌkærəˈzjski/; born November 20, 1961) are an American screenwriting duo, 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.[3]

They met at the University of Southern California where they were freshman roommates; they graduated from the School of Cinematic Arts in 1985.[4]


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.[5] With the studio in a hurry to make a sequel, they returned to write Problem Child 2.[6] Problem Child was Universal Pictures most profitable film of 1990.[7]

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.[8] Tim Burton loved their script Ed Wood and agreed to direct it. They had written the screenplay in six weeks.[9] Ed Wood won two Academy Awards and was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.[10]

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. Karaszewski and Alexander won the Best Screenplay Golden Globe for their work on Larry Flynt.[11] Flynt also won the top award at the 1997 Berlin International Film Festival.[12]

The duo wrote and produced Tim Burton's 2014 film Big Eyes, a biopic about painter Margaret Keane. They were slated to direct but vacated later.[13] The film took them eleven years to get made.[14] Amy Adams won the Best Actress Golden Globe for her portrayal of Keane.[15] They also produced the Paul Schrader film Auto Focus, chronicling the downfall and subsequent murder of Hogan's Heroes star Bob Crane.

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.[16] 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. It was also a ratings juggernaut becoming cable television’s most watched new show.[17]

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.[18] The film was nominated for Best Picture and Best Actor at the 2020 Golden Globes.[19]

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. Unproduced screenplays include projects about the life of Robert Ripley of Ripley's Believe It or Not!, The Marx Brothers, and the kidnapping of Patty Hearst. In 2000, they made their directorial debut with Screwed.[20] The hit Bollywood musical De Dana Dan is an unauthorized remake of Screwed.[21]

in 2021, they were hired by director Martin Scorsese to write a screenplay about the legendary rock band The Grateful Dead. Jonah Hill is slated to play Jerry Garcia.[22]

Karaszewski and Alexander have been inducted into the Final Draft (software) Screenwriter Hall of Fame. Other inductees include Quentin Tarantino and Robert Towne..[23] They have also served as advisors to the Sundance Screenwriting Labs.[24] In 2022, Film Forum screened a week long retrospective of their biographical films.[1]

Karaszewski served six years as a Governor for the Writers Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He was also Vice President of History and Preservation for the Academy.[25] 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.[26]

Alexander has served three terms on the Board of Directors for the Writers Guild of America West.[27] The WGA magazine "Written By" featured Scott and Larry on the cover of the January 2015 issue in a painting by artist Drew Friedman.[28]

The duo are active cineastes in Los Angeles hosting screenings of classic films for the American Cinematheque.[29][30] Karaszewski's numerous film commentaries can be found on the website Trailers from Hell.[31] Karaszewski also currently serves on the board of directors of the National Film Preservation Foundation.[2][32]

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles has spotlighted their career with several exhibits including a display of "scene cards" from the third act of "The People vs Larry Flynt" and the original Kaypro computer that the team use to write "Ed Wood".[3][4] A quote from Karaszewski serves as a motto for the museum: "The Future of Cinema is in your hands."[33]

Actors often win awards playing characters created by Alexander and Karaszewski. Martin Landau won the Oscar, Golden Globe, SAG, National Board of Review, New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago Film Critics awards for Ed Wood.[34] For The People vs. Larry Flynt, Woody Harrelson was nominated for an Oscar and Golden Globe. Courtney Love was also nominated for a Golden Globe and won the New York Film Critcs Circle award[35] Jim Carrey won the Best Actor Golden Globe for Man on the Moon.[36] Almost the entire cast of The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story won accolades: Sarah Paulson won the Emmy, Golden Globe, SAG, and Critics Choice awards. Both Sterling K. Brown and Courtney B. Vance won Emmys and Critic Choice awards.[37]

Most of the duo's biographical screenplays are available in book form. Ed Wood was published by Faber and Faber. The People vs Larry Flynt and Man on the Moon were published by Newmarket Press. Big Eyes was published by Random House.[38]

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 Illeana Douglas, The Adam Corolla Show, Post Mortem with Mick Garris, The Cannon with Amy Nicholson and The Empire Film Podcast.[39] In 2007, they were both featured in the documentary Dreams on Spec, a film looking at the Hollywood creative process from the perspective of the writer. Karaszewski has appeared on Turner Classic Movies as a guest host with Ben Mankiewicz for a series called “Reframed” spotlighting films considered groundbreaking and controversial.[40]

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.[41] Karaszewski spent his youth as actor/writer/director on the award winning student television program Beyond Our Control.[42]


Film writers

Year Title 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 Themselves
2003 Agent Cody Banks Harald Zwart
2007 1408 Mikael Håfström
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



Year Title Writers Executive
1993–94 Problem Child No Yes
2016–present American Crime Story Yes Yes Also 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


  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. ^ Ressner, Jeffrey (December 26, 1999). "The Odd Fellows". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved May 20, 2023.
  4. ^ "An Evening with Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski". November 2, 2010.
  5. ^ "". Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  6. ^ "Problem Child/Problem Child 2". Vern's Reviews On the Film of Cinema. July 20, 2021.
  7. ^ Gajewski, Ryan (July 26, 2015). "'Problem Child' Turns 25: Director on John Ritter Ad-Libs, Test Audience Walkouts". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 11, 2023.
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  12. ^ "Berlin International Film Festival (1997)". IMDb. Retrieved May 27, 2023.
  13. ^ Seidman, Lila (December 2, 2014). "Want to Make a Biopic About an Iconic Weirdo? Call These Guys – LA Weekly". Retrieved May 20, 2023.
  14. ^ Fleming, Mike (January 6, 2015). "Hard Road to Oscar". Deadline.
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  17. ^ Kissell, Rick (April 12, 2016). "Ratings: 'The People v. O.J. Simpson' Finishes as Cable's Most-Watched New Show of 2016". Variety. Retrieved August 13, 2023.
  18. ^ ""Dolemite Is My Name"". Rotten Tomatoes. October 4, 2019.
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  20. ^ "Larry Karaszewski". IMDb. Retrieved May 11, 2023.
  21. ^ "The Norm MacDonald SCREWED Christmas Bollywood Remake Spectacular". American Cinematheque. Retrieved May 12, 2023.
  22. ^ Kroll, Justin (November 18, 2021). "Jonah Hill To Play Jerry Garcia In Martin Scorsese-Directed Grateful Dead Pic For Apple". Deadline. Retrieved May 11, 2023.
  23. ^ "Hall of Fame Awards". Final Draft®. Retrieved March 15, 2022.
  24. ^ Torres, Vanessa (May 4, 1999). "Pix in mix for Sundance Institute labs". Variety. Retrieved June 4, 2022.
  25. ^ "Board of Governors". | Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. September 1, 2014. Retrieved March 15, 2022.
  26. ^ Kay2019-11-18T13:00:00+00:00, Jeremy. "Oscar committee co-chairs explain the international category name change". Screen. Retrieved March 15, 2022.
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  28. ^ "Written By JANUARY 2015". Retrieved May 16, 2023.
  29. ^ "Scott Alexander Presents HORSE FEATHERS & DUCK SOUP". American Cinematheque. Retrieved March 15, 2022.
  30. ^ Cinematheque, American (May 5, 2015). "MOVIES ON THE BIG SCREEN: Conversations at the Cinematheque: Mel Brooks for THE PRODUCERS, 3/7/15". MOVIES ON THE BIG SCREEN. Retrieved April 27, 2022.
  31. ^ "Larry Karaszewski Archives". Trailers From Hell. Retrieved March 15, 2022.
  32. ^ Kit, Borys (April 19, 2021). "Netflix's Scott Stuber Joins Board of National Film Preservation Foundation (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 25, 2022.
  33. ^ "FUTURE OF CINEMA TOTE". Academy Museum Store. Retrieved May 11, 2023.
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  35. ^ The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996) – Awards – IMDb, retrieved May 11, 2023
  36. ^ Man on the Moon (1999) – Awards – IMDb, retrieved May 11, 2023
  37. ^ American Crime Story (TV Series 2016– ) – Awards – IMDb, retrieved May 11, 2023
  38. ^ " : Larry Karaszewski". Retrieved May 25, 2023.
  39. ^ "Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast". Retrieved June 4, 2022.
  40. ^ Bergeson, Samantha (November 1, 2022). "'Reframed' Season 2 Trailer: TCM Revisits Legacy of Groundbreaking Queer and Diverse Films". IndieWire. Retrieved August 13, 2023.
  41. ^ Longwell, Todd (November 22, 2011). "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 April 26, 2022.
  42. ^ "Beyond Our Control, Lou Pierce Article, 2001". Retrieved April 26, 2022.