Posts Tagged ‘OntarioHeathcliff’

In 2006 the first person in more than 50 years to win back to back Oscar Awards in screenwriting was Paul Haggis. He then followed his award-winning scripts Million Dollar Baby and Crash with another Academy Award nomination in 2007 for his screenplay Letters from Iwo Jima.

Haggis had a background in theater and construction before moving to Los Angeles in his early twenties from London, Ontario—which makes him almost a Midwesterner as London is less than an hour from the Michigan state line. Soon after arriving in L.A. he landed his first TV credit on Love Boat in 1985 which lead to more opportunities in television, some more memorable than others; Heathcliff, One Day at a Time, Who’s the Boss, L.A. Law, Different Strokes, The Facts of Life, thirtysomething, Walker, Texas Ranger, EZ Streets, Due South, Michael Hayes. Family Law.

He worked on hundreds of TV episodes which is a staggering amount of writing which he credits for teaching him how to write, paid the bills rather well, but also created in him a to write the kind of scripts that feed his soul. That process took a few years.  By the time he won his first Oscar he was in his early 50s with three decades of writing credits behind him.

According to Haggis the impetus for writing Crash was being car jacked in 1991 followed by wondering ten years later who were these young guys who stuck a gun in his face. Where did they come from? He explored that creatively.

“I like asking myself  difficult questions—I don’t think writers should write about answers, I think they should write about questions.”
Paul Haggis
The Dialogue

Below is a ten minute version of the interview from The Dialogue.

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