Christopher McQuarrie Biography

Christopher McQuarrie is an American screenwriter, film director and producer. He received the BAFTA Award, Independent Spirit Award, and Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for the neo-noir mystery film The Usual Suspects (1995).

McQuarrie made his directorial debut with the crime thriller film The Way of the Gun (2000). He is a frequent collaborator with Tom Cruise, having written and directed the action films Jack Reacher (2012), Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015), Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018) and Mission: Impossible 7 (2022). He was also part of the writing team on the films Valkyrie (2008), Edge of Tomorrow (2014), The Mummy (2017), and Top Gun: Maverick (2021).

Early life

McQuarrie was born in Princeton, New Jersey. After graduating from West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South in 1986, he worked as an assistant at Christ Church Grammar School in Perth, Western Australia, recalling in 2013, “I was offered an Interim program. ... I picked a place out of a hat and ended up at Christ Church Grammar School. I lived at the school and worked at the boarding school, though I did very little work". Fired after nine months, "I hitchhiked for three months, came home, knocked around for about a month and then immediately started working for this detective agency.... It was actually a glorified security-guard position. I think in the four years I worked there I did about six investigations...."


McQuarrie's first feature film was the 1993 thriller Public Access, directed by Bryan Singer. It won the Critics Award at the Deauville American Film Festival and shared the Sundance Film Festival's Grand Jury Prize. The film did not secure a theatrical distributor in the United States. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film received an approval rating of 58%.McQuarrie wrote The Usual Suspects (1995), for which he received best screenplay awards from the British and American Academy Awards, as well as from Premiere Magazine, the Texas Board of Review, and the Chicago Critics as well as the Edgar Award, and The Independent Spirit Awards. The film was later included on the New York Times list of the 1000 greatest films ever made, and the character Verbal Kint was included on AFI's list of the 100 greatest Heroes and Villains of all time. In 2006, the Writers Guild of America voted The Usual Suspects No. 35 on their list of 101 Greatest Screenplays. In his third collaboration with Singer, McQuarrie performed an extensive rewrite on X-Men, but ultimately removed his name from the project.In 2000, McQuarrie made his directorial debut with The Way of the Gun, a modern-day Western for which he also wrote the script. It starred Benicio del Toro, Ryan Phillippe and James Caan. The film, budgeted at US$8.5 million, received mixed reviews and grossed US$13 million worldwide.Eight years later, McQuarrie co-wrote and co-produced Valkyrie, which opened on December 25, 2008. The story is based on the real-life July 20, 1944 plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler. The script was co-written with Nathan Alexander. The pair had access to members of the Stauffenberg family as well as a book written by Fabian von Schlabrendorff – a conspirator who survived. While doing research for the screenplay, they also spoke with Hitler's bodyguard. The film stars Tom Cruise and is directed by Bryan Singer. It received two awards, the BMI Film Music Award and the Bambi Award for Courage. In 2009, McQuarrie was hired to pen the script for the then-untitled The Wolverine.McQuarrie co-wrote the 2010 film The Tourist with Julian Fellowes, Jeffrey Nachmanoff and director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. The film starred Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie and grossed US$278 million worldwide. It received three Golden Globe Award nominations and several other awards, among them the Redbox Movie Award for the most rented drama of 2011.In 2011, McQuarrie directed his second feature Jack Reacher; an adaptation of One Shot, the ninth in the series of 21 Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child. Filming began in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area on October 3, 2011, and continued through the end of January 2012. The movie was released in December 2012 by Paramount Pictures. In 2012, McQuarrie had stepped in to rewrite the script for World War Z after Drew Goddard and Damon Lindelof had exited the film.2013 saw the release of McQuarrie's fourth collaboration with Singer: Jack the Giant Slayer, co-written by McQuarrie. The film was a failure at the box office, grossing only US$198 million with an estimated US$240 million budget (excluding promotional fees). The critical reviews were generally mixed. McQuarrie co-wrote the 2014 science fiction action thriller Edge of Tomorrow with Jez and John-Henry Butterworth, based on the Japanese novel All You Need Is Kill. While the film underperformed at the box office on its opening weekend with only US$28.8 million, it received strong reviews and became a word-of-mouth hit, grossing just over US$100 million at the domestic box office.

McQuarrie completed his third feature as director in 2015. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, the fifth entry in the Mission: Impossible film series, which he co-wrote with Drew Pearce. The film received strong reviews and grossed over US$195 million at the North American box office and won a Golden Tomato for Best Action-Adventure Movie of 2015. McQuarrie followed it with Mission: Impossible – Fallout in 2018, which marked his third directing collaboration with Tom Cruise. The film was a hit, and also received strong reviews from Rotten Tomatoes and other critic websites. The film was the highest-grossing film from the franchise and won the Critic's Choice award for Best Action Film and a Golden Tomato for Best Action-Adventure Movie of 2018. Initially hesitant to return to the franchise, McQuarrie finalized a deal to write and direct Mission: Impossible 7 and Mission: Impossible 8 in January 2019. Both films are currently shooting back-to-back in 2020 and will release on November 19, 2021 and November 4, 2022 respectively.By October 2015, McQuarrie had completed a rewrite of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and spent two weeks "tightening up the story". McQuarrie and screenwriter Dylan Kussman were both commissioned by Tom Cruise to write a new script for The Mummy.McQuarrie is currently slated to helm a feature film adaptation of the 1970s animated series Star Blazers (itself an adaptation of Space Battleship Yamato), with Zach Dean as screenwriter. He has been attached to the project since February 2011.


= Film

Uncredited writing work

X-Men (2000)

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)

The Wolverine (2013)

Rogue One (2016)

American Made (2017)

Untitled Nora Fingscheidt project (2021)

= Television


McQuarrie, Christopher. The Usual Suspects. Faber and Faber Publishers (1996); ISBN 0571191533/ISBN 9780571191536


External links

Christopher McQuarrie at IMDb

Christopher McQuarrie at the TCM Movie Database

Christopher McQuarrie at AllMovie

Christopher McQuarrie at Rotten Tomatoes

Christopher McQuarrie

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