Christopher McQuarrie is best known as the screenwriter
for The Usual Suspects
. He was born in 1968 in Princeton Junction, New Jersey
, where he attended high school with his best friend, director Bryan Singer
He spent his first year out of school working abroad at a boarding school in West Australia
before returning to the US to work at his uncle's detective
agency in New Jersey for the next four years. During this time, his main assignment was working security
at a particularly rowdy movie theater. He didn't realize it at the time, but he was basically watching the "ultimate focus group
". Since the people in the theater weren't aware that they were being monitored, they were very vocal and very honest about their opinions on movies as they're happening. He considers that time as his formal film education: "Bryan was at USC studying cinema
while I was in New Jersey studying the audience
In 1991, Singer asked McQuarrie to co-write the screenplay for their first film, Public Access
, which won the Grand Jury Prize
at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival
. In the following year, McQuarrie wrote The Usual Suspects
, which went on to become a huge box-office success and also managed to earn him an Oscar
for best original screenplay
. After that, he tried to push through a couple of dream projects which eventually fell through (see below), until he started work on his directorial debut, The Way of the Gun
(which he also wrote). Not nearly as successful as The Usual Suspects, The Way of the Gun was still a solid film (McQuarrie performed a small miracle
when he was able to actually coax a good performance out of Ryan Phillippe
McQuarrie lives in Los Angeles
, and is currently at work on several projects, including another film with Singer (I'm not sure what that one is, though).
Just for fun:
How did McQuarrie pitch The Usual Suspects to Singer?
- The Prisoner - Once slated for a 2001 release, this project has fallen to the back burner. Based on the classic TV series The Prisoner created by Patrick McGoohan. Its basically about a secret agent who wants out of the business (and as you might guess, that's not as easy as it sounds).
- The Green Hornet - Another project that's fallen by the wayside. Based on the green-masked vigilante in the Green Hornet comic books.
- Alexander the Great - Originally supposed to be McQuarrie's directorial debut, but he couldn't get the project going so he moved on to The Way of the Gun. But now, it seems that director Martin Scorsese and actor Leonardo DiCaprio are interested. Time will tell.
"The pitch I had for him was this: There's a guy being
interrogated by another guy who is looking for a criminal. He's sitting in a big messy office with lots of crap in it. And there's this bulletin board on the wall. At the end of the film, then the guy who's doing the interrogating finally turns around and looks at the bulletin board after the other guy has left, he realizes that not only is this guy the guy he's been looking for, but he's made up his entire story from the board. And Bryan said, 'That's great, go with that. ' And we just began hammering it out that way."
Also, the surname Soze is Turkish for verbal (you'll get this if you've seen the movie - I don't want to ruin it).
Info culled from various interviews and the ever -helpful IMDB. Interviews can be found here: