Paul Haggis

Paul Haggis

Born: March 10, 1953
Age: 70
Birthplace: London, Ontario, Canada
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Paul Edward Haggis (born March 10, 1953) is a Canadian director, screenwriter, and producer. He is best known as screenwriter and producer for consecutive Best Picture Oscar winners, 2004's Million Dollar Baby and 2005's Crash, the latter of which he also directed.


Early life

Haggis was born in London, Ontario, the son of Mary Yvonne (née Metcalf) and Edward H. Haggis. He was raised as a Catholic, but considered himself an atheist until joining the Church of Scientology, which he later denounced as a cult. During Dan Rather's AXS TV interview, Haggis stated that he is an atheist. The Gallery Theatre in London was owned by his parents, and Haggis gained experience in the field through work at the theatre.

Haggis attended St. Thomas More Elementary School, and after being inspired by Alfred Hitchcock and Jean-Luc Godard, proceeded to study art at H. B. Beal Secondary School. After viewing Michelangelo Antonioni's 1966 film Blowup, he traveled to England with the intent of becoming a fashion photographer. Haggis later went back to Canada to pursue studies in cinematography at Fanshawe College. In 1975, Haggis moved to Los Angeles, California, to begin a career in writing in the entertainment industry.


Haggis began to work as a writer for television programs, including The Love Boat, One Day at a Time, Diff'rent Strokes, and The Facts of Life. With The Facts of Life, Haggis also gained his first credit as producer. During the 1980s and 1990s, Haggis wrote for television series including The Tracey Ullman Show, Due South, L.A. Law, and EZ Streets. He helped to create the television series Walker, Texas Ranger; Family Law; and Due South. Haggis served as executive producer of the series Michael Hayes and Family Law.

He gained recognition in the film industry for his work on the 2004 film Million Dollar Baby, which Allmovie described as a "serious milestone" for the writer/producer, and as "his first high-profile foray into feature film". Haggis had read two stories written by Jerry Boyd, a boxing trainer who wrote under the name of F.X. Toole. Haggis acquired the rights to the stories, and developed them into the screenplay for Million Dollar Baby. Clint Eastwood portrayed the lead character in the film. Eastwood also directed the film, and used the screenplay written by Haggis. Million Dollar Baby received four Academy Awards including the Academy Award for Best Picture.

After Million Dollar Baby, Haggis worked on the 2004 film Crash. Haggis came up with the story for the film on his own, and then wrote and directed the film, which allowed him greater control over his work. Crash was his first experience as director of a major feature film. Critical reception of Crash was positive, and Roger Ebert called it the best film of 2005. It received Academy Award nominations for Best Picture and Best Director, in addition to four other Academy Award nominations. Haggis received two Academy Awards for the film: Best Picture (as its producer), and Best Writing for his work on the screenplay. With Million Dollar Baby and then Crash, Haggis became the first individual to have written Best Picture Oscar-winners in two consecutive years. Haggis said that he wrote Crash to "bust liberals", arguing that his fellow liberals were not honest with themselves about the nature of race and racism, believing that most racial problems had already been resolved in our society.

Public break from the Church of Scientology

After maintaining active membership in the Church of Scientology for 35 years, Haggis left the organization in October 2009. He was motivated to leave Scientology in reaction to statements made by the San Diego branch of the Church of Scientology in support of Proposition 8, the ballot initiative which banned gay marriage in California.

Haggis wrote to Thomas Davis, the Church's spokesman, and requested that he denounce these statements; when Davis remained silent, Haggis responded that "Silence is consent, Tommy. I refuse to consent." Haggis went on to list other grievances against Scientology, including its policy of disconnection, and the smearing of its ex-members through the leaking of their personal details.

The Observer commented on defections of Haggis and actor Jason Beghe from Scientology, "The decision of Beghe and Haggis to quit Scientology appears to have caused the movement its greatest recent PR difficulties, not least because of its dependence on Hollywood figures as both a source of revenue for its most expensive courses and an advertisement for the religion."

In an interview with Movieline, Haggis was asked about similarities between his film The Next Three Days and his departure from the Scientology organization; Haggis responded, "I think one's life always parallels art and art parallels life." In February 2011, The New Yorker published a 25,000-word story, "The Apostate", by Lawrence Wright, detailing Haggis's allegations about the Church of Scientology. The article ended by quoting Haggis: "I was in a cult for thirty-four years. Everyone else could see it. I don't know why I couldn't.". Haggis was interviewed as part of a group of ex-Scientologists for the 2015 movie Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief.

Personal life

Haggis lives in Santa Monica, California. He has three daughters from his first marriage to Diana Gettas and one son from his second marriage to Deborah Rennard.

Haggis founded the non-profit organization Artists for Peace and Justice to assist impoverished youth in Haiti. In an interview with Dan Rather Haggis mentions that he is an atheist.



Year Film Role Notes
1993 Red Hot Screenwriter, Director
2004 Million Dollar Baby Screenwriter, Producer
2004 Crash Story, Screenwriter, Director, Producer
2006 The Last Kiss Screenwriter (adaptation)
2006 Flags of Our Fathers Screenwriter
2006 Letters from Iwo Jima Screenwriter, Executive Producer
2006 Casino Royale Screenwriter (adaptation)
2007 In the Valley of Elah Screenwriter (adaptation), Director, Producer
2008 Quantum of Solace Screenwriter
2009 Terminator Salvation Writer (rewrite)
2010 The Next Three Days Screenwriter, Director
2013 Third Person Screenwriter, Director
2016 Gold Executive Producer Filming


Year Title Role Notes
1987 Return of the Shaggy Dog Screenwriter
1987-1988 thirtysomething Supervising producer, Writer, Director
1990 City Creator
1993-2001 Walker, Texas Ranger Co-creator
1994-1999 Due South Creator, Executive Producer, Screenwriter, Unit Director
1996-1997 EZ Streets Creator, Executive producer
1997 Walker, Texas Ranger: Sons of Thunder Creator, Director
1999-2002 Family Law Co-creator, Executive producer
2005 Walker, Texas Ranger: Trial by Fire Director
2007 The Black Donnellys Creator
2015 Show Me a Hero Director, Executive producer

Video games

Year Game Role Notes
2011 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Co-writer

Awards and nominations

Haggis has been nominated for dozens of awards.

Year Award Work Category Result
1985 Humanitas Prize CBS Storybreak: "Zucchini" Children's Animation Category Nominated
1988 Emmy Award thirtysomething Outstanding Drama Series Won
Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series Won
Humanitas Prize thirtysomething 60 Minute Category Won
1989 Writers Guild of America Award thirtysomething Episodic Drama Nominated
1995 Gemini Award Due South Best Dramatic Series Won
Due South: Pilot (#1.0) Best TV Movie Won
Due South Best Writing in a Dramatic Series Won
Due South: Pilot (#1.0) Best Writing in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series Nominated
1996 Gemini Award Due South Canada's Choice Award Won
Due South Best Dramatic Series Won
Due South: "Hawk and a Handsaw" Best Writing in a Dramatic Series Won
Due South: "The Gift of the Wheelman" Best Writing in a Dramatic Series Won
1997 Viewers for Quality Television Award EZ Streets Founder's Award Won
2001 Writers Guild of America Award Contributions to industry Valentine Davies Award Won
2005 Academy Award Million Dollar Baby Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay Nominated
Writers Guild of America Award Million Dollar Baby Best Adapted Screenplay Nominated
American Screenwriters Association Million Dollar Baby Discover Screenwriting Award Won
Black Movie Award Crash Outstanding Motion Picture Won
Deauville American Film Festival Crash Grand Special Prize Won
European Film Award Crash Screen International Award Nominated
Hollywood Film Festival Directing work Breakthrough Directing Won
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award Crash Best Screenplay Won
Online Film Critics Society Award Million Dollar Baby Best Screenplay, Adapted Nominated
San Francisco International Film Festival Screenwriting work Kanbar Award Won
Satellite Award Million Dollar Baby Best Screenplay, Adapted Won
Crash Outstanding Screenplay, Original Nominated
Southeastern Film Critics Association Award Crash Best Screenplay, Original Won
USC Scripter Award Million Dollar Baby USC Scripter Award Won
Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Award Crash Best Screenplay - Original Won
2006 Academy Award Crash Best Motion Picture of the Year Won
Best Writing, Original Screenplay Won
Best Achievement in Directing Nominated
Golden Globe Award Crash Best Screenplay - Motion Picture Nominated
Writers Guild of America Award Crash Best Original Screenplay Won
Directors Guild of America Award Crash Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures Nominated
BAFTA Award Crash Best Screenplay - Original Won
David Lean Award for Direction Nominated
Austin Film Critics Award Crash Best Director Won
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award Crash Best Writer Won
Crash Best Director Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association Award Crash Best Screenplay Won
David di Donatello Crash Best Foreign Film Won
Edgar Award Crash Best Motion Picture Screenplay Nominated
Humanitas Prize Crash Feature Film Category Won
Independent Spirit Award Crash Best First Feature Won
London Critics Circle Film Award Crash Screenwriter of the Year Won
Crash Director of the Year Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Award Crash Best Breakthrough Filmmaker Won
Crash Best Screenplay, Original Nominated
Producers Guild of America Award Crash Motion Picture Producer of the Year Award Nominated
Robert Award Crash Best American Film Nominated
Satellite Award Flags of Our Fathers Best Screenplay, Adapted Nominated
2007 Academy Award Letters from Iwo Jima Best Writing, Original Screenplay Nominated
BAFTA Award Casino Royale Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film Nominated
Best Screenplay - Adapted Nominated
Saturn Award Casino Royale Best Writing Nominated
Edgar Award Casino Royale Best Motion Picture Screenplay Nominated
Venice Film Festival In the Valley of Elah SIGNIS Award Won
In the Valley of Elah Golden Lion Nominated
2008 David di Donatello In the Valley of Elah Best Foreign Film Nominated

[ Source: Wikipedia ]

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