Screenwriter Profile: Steven Zaillian

The Writer:

Steven Zaillian got started with such major hits as Schindler’s List and Mission: Impossible. This year, he’s had his biggest year in the last decade, penning the scripts for Moneyball and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Zaillian is also known as a top-notch script doctor and has done un-credited rewrites on such scripts as Twister, Patriot Games, Crimson Tide, and Saving Private Ryan. Read a recent interview with Mr. Zaillian here.


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (screenplay) – 2011

Moneyball (screenplay) – 2011

American Gangster (written by) – 2007

All the King’s Men (screenplay) – 2006

The Interpreter (screenplay) – 2005

Gangs of New York (screenplay) – 2002

Hannibal (screenplay) – 2001

A Civil Action (screenplay) – 1998

Mission: Impossible (story) – 1996

Clear and Present Danger (screenplay) – 1994

Schindler’s List (screenplay) – 1993

Searching for Bobby Fischer (screenplay) -1993

Jack the Bear (screenplay) – 1993

Awakenings (screenplay) – 1990

The Falcon and the Snowman – 1985


The hard thing is… I have to be able to visualise a character when I’m writing and I never visualise an actor, it’s always an imaginary person. Stieg Larsson describes her in some detail, so it’s not hard to picture her, but I think the really hard thing – and it’s something I’ve found on the movies I’ve directed – is that it’s hard to find somebody that matches that fictional person I have in my mind.

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