EXCLUSIVE: WME has scored a coup, signing Chris Terrio as the screenwriter comes off winning the Oscar for Argo. Terrio had been repped at CAA. While Terrio’s run goes back to writing and directing the 2005 pic Heights, his ascension to A-list scribe has been fairly recent. Ben Affleck has told me that after carving his previous directing vehicles from the ground up, he could not believe his good fortune when handed Terrio’s Argo script. Since then, Terrio has been writing one high-profile project after another. They include: another project for Argo producers George Clooney and Grant Heslov which is untitled but has Paul Greengrass attached to direct; adapting the Nathaniel Philbrick book Bunker Hill as a potential directing vehicle for Affleck; an adaptation of the Harlan Coben bestseller Tell No One for Universal and Focus; and A Foreigner, which Matt Damon might direct.
Christy Grosz is Editor of AwardsLine.
Hearing that an Oscar-winning screenwriter has just signed on to direct the highest-profile script of your career could be somewhat nerve-wracking. But for Argo’s Chris Terrio, working with director Ben Affleck was easier because of Affleck’s writing background. “At the beginning, you’re slightly defensive, thinking, ‘The director’s going to come kidnap the baby and carry it away,’ but there was zero of that. From our first conversation, it was just us geeking out about how we could make every scene better,” Terrio recalls. Terrio is enjoying the experience of watching audiences see his first major-studio project, all while learning the ropes of awards season as a serious writing contender. Terrio recently spoke with AwardsLine about the complexities of researching the script and what he learned from working with Affleck.
AwardsLine: Were you familiar at all with the Argo story when Smoke House’s Nina Wolarsky first called you about writing the script?
Chris Terrio: Of course I knew something about the Iran hostage situation, and I had always been curious about it and had read various books, but no, I didn’t know anything about Argo. I had read Tim Weiner’s Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA, and that book briefly mentions it, but I think I read it without ever thinking too much about it. One of the few people in that book that comes off well is (Argo plot architect and CIA agent) Tony Mendez because that book is (about) a litany of mistakes that the CIA made; in fact that New York Times writer is not very popular at the CIA.
Screenwriter Chris Terrio has landed a two-script deal at Warner Bros that will follow his reteaming with Argo producers George Clooney and Grant Heslov on a project with director Paul Greengrass, Deadline has confirmed. The Greengrass project with Clooney and Heslov is at Sony where the pair’s production shingle Smoke House is based. Clooney is attached to star in the original tale that unfolds amid New York crime syndicates. Terrio’s initial script for Warner Bros is expected to be next in line. In addition to his screenplay for Argo, Terrio’s resume includes directing and co-writing Sony Pictures Classics Heights as well as scripting the upcoming Tell No One and A Murder Foretold.
Scott Free Productions and 20th Century Fox are moving forward in developing Hugh Howey’s Wool series of post-apocalyptic e-novelettes with UK writer-director J Blakeson in early talks for the project, Deadline has confirmed. Fox and Scott Free acquired rights to the best-selling e-books earlier this year. Ridley Scott and Steve Zallian are producing. Blakeson wrote and directed The Disappearance of Alice Creed and co-wrote The Descent Part 2.