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avatar for Brian Helgeland

Brian Helgeland

2015 Distinguished Screenwriter; writer/director Legend, 42, A Knight’s Tale, Payback; writer L.A Confidential, Man on Fire, The Taking of Pelham 123, Conspiracy Theory, Green Zone, Blood Work, Mystic River

Brian Helgeland was born in 1961 in Providence, Rhode Island.  He was raised mainly in New Bedford, Massachusetts where his family made their living in that city’s fishing industry.  After somehow receiving an undergraduate degree in English, Brian took a site as a 'half-share' man on the fishing vessel Mondego II. A chance meeting with a book entitled “A Guide To Film School” changed everything.  Ignorant as to the existence of such venerable institutions, Brian applied to several and was accepted by one.  Giving up his now “full-share” berth on the fishing vessel Concordia, Brian headed west in 1985. 

Thirty years later he has found himself in possession of nineteen feature film writing credits. He is also a film director. Among the films he has written and directed are Legend starring Tom Hardy & Emily Browning,  42 starring Chadwick Boseman & Harrison Ford, A Knight’s Tale starring Heath Ledger & Paul Bettany and Payback starring Mel Gibson. As a straight screenwriter, his writing credits include Curtis Hanson's  L.A Confidential starring Russell Crowe, Tony Scott’s Man on Fire & The Taking of Pelham 123 both starring Denzel Washington, Richard Donner’s Conspiracy Theory starring Mel Gibson & Julia Roberts, Paul Greengrass’ Green Zone starring Matt Damon and Clint Eastwood’s Blood Work and Mystic River for which he received an Academy Award nomination and for which stars Sean Penn & Tim Robbins both won the Oscar.

Helgeland is also the recipient himself of the Academy Award, the Writers Guild of America Award, the PEN Center Literary Award, the Edgar Alan Poe Award, a two time recipient of the USC Scriptor Award and the Sidney Lumet Award for Integrity in Entertainment.