Yari Film Group Navigation
Paul Haggis

Film Profile
In March of 2003, Razor Magazine made a list of "nonconformists that defy dictates, the iconoclasts that cling to independent thought, the radicals that refuse adherence - that give us pause. They are what legends are made of." Along with Sam Shepard, Julian Schnabel, Baz Luhrmann, Lance Armstrong, Richard Branson, Robert Shapiro, John Irving and Bill Clinton, Razor named writer-director Paul Haggis as one of their "25 Mavericks" of the year.

In 2000, Paul left a successful career in television to concentrate on making feature films. His first step was finding a book of short stories by longtime fight manager Jerry Boyd, writing under the name F.X. Toole. Paul optioned two of his short stories with his producing partner and then wrote the screenplay on spec. It wasn't an easy adaptation, and once finished, it wasn't obvious studio material. But after attaching Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman, Paul's producing partner sent it to Clint Eastwood, and Million Dollar Baby quickly became a reality. In 2004, Clint shot Paul's first draft script without change and the film was in the theatres less than a year after Clint first read it. It went on to gross over $ 100 million dollars in the US and earned four Academy Awards including Best Film, Director (Clint Eastwood), Actress (Hillary Swank), and Supporting Actor (Morgan Freeman). Paul received a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar nomination for the film which he co-produced.

Back in 2000, Paul also concocted a story for an original screenplay that he and friend Bobby Moresco wrote, entitled Crash. Paul's producing partner, Mark Harris, set it up at Bob Yari's Stratus/Bulls Eye Entertainment, and Paul directed the film in 2003. The ensemble cast included Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Brendan Fraser, Thandie Newton and Ryan Phillippe. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival to sold-out crowds and rave reviews and was acquired by Lionsgate for domestic distribution. Upon its release in May, 2005 Crash proved to be one of the very few independent hits of the year having taken in $ 52 million in earnings in the US to date. It has also proven to be one of the best reviewed, and most controversial, films of the year.

Paul then wrote the screenplay for Clint Eastwood's next film, Flags of Our Fathers, the true story of the six men who raised the flag on Iwo Jima, based on the book by James Bradley. Steven Spielberg is producing.

Steven and Paul are now co-writing an untitled script, an original idea of Steven's, for Paul to direct for Dreamworks SKG. And over on the Warner Lot, Paul and Clint are collaborating on a third project, which they are also keeping under wraps.

Paul currently has a wide variety of projects in various stages. He will shortly be directing the NBC pilot The Black Donnellys, a show that he created and developed with his writing partner Bobby Moresco and is looking to cast what he hopes will be his next directing project, Honeymoon with Harry, a screenplay he wrote for New Line Cinema and Karz Entertainment, based on the book by Bart Baker.

The Last Kiss, a screenplay Paul wrote for Lakeshore Entertainment and based on the Italian film of the same title has recently wrapped production. Zach Braff and Rachel McAdams star in the comedy with Tony Goldwyn directing.

Paul has created a variety of shows for television; his favorite being the critically acclaimed CBS series EZ Street. Although the series was short-lived, it still routinely turns up on critics' Top Ten lists. The NY Times recently named it one of the most influential TV series of all time, saying "without EZ Streets, there would be no Sopranos."

Haggis is the recipient of many awards, including two Emmys, The Humanitas Prize, TV Critics Association Program of the Year Award, Viewers For Quality Television Founders Award, Banff TV Award, the Columbia Mystery Writers Award, six Geminis, two Houston Worldfest Gold Awards and the Prism Award.

He also recently accepted the EMA Award, the Genesis Award, the Ethel Levitt Memorial Award for Humanitarian Service and the WGA's prestigious Valentine Davies Award, awarded to Paul for "bringing honor and dignity to writers everywhere."

Haggis is co-founder of Artists for Peace and Justice, a member of the Board of Directors of The Hollywood Education and Literacy Project; For the Arts - For Every Child; the Environmental Media Association; and a founding board member of ECO, the Earth Communications Office. He is also member of The President's Council of The Defenders of Wildlife, and a member of the Advisory Board of The Center for the Advancement of Non-Violence.