Who is Paul Haggis, world famous screenwriter, two Oscars and four children – Corriere.it

from Maria Volpe

Director and producer, born in Canada, but living in Los Angeles, he also wrote the remake of “The last kiss” by Muccino (“The last kiss”)

They call him the Hollywood storyteller, even though he’s Canadian. Paul Edward Haggis (accused of sexual assault in Ostuni) was born in London, Ontario on March 10, 1953. Today he is a very successful director, screenwriter, film producer and television producer. In 2006 he won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for the film Crash – Physical contact and for the same film he received an Oscar nomination for best director and won the David di Donatello for best foreign film. His also the script of the beautiful film Million Dollar Baby which won the Oscar.

Young Paul, a Canadian with movie buffs, spent his childhood in British Columbia with dad Edward and mom Mary Yvonne. In 1975, having obtained a degree in cinematography, at the age of 22 she decides to move to Los Angeles to try her luck in Hollywood, continuing to study and write for cinema and TV. There he began his career on the small screen: he is the author of TV series such as My friend Arnold and Love Boatamong the most loved and followed by the public.

In 1993 he is now famous: he is one of the creators of the successful series Walker Texas Rangerbut it is in 2004 that the decisive turning point arrives: the screenplay of Million Dollar Baby. Captured by the poignant story of boxer Maggie Fitzgerald, filmmaker Clint Eastwood decides to direct her for the big screen. Starring are the actors Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman. It is immediately Oscar rain. To follow, he writes and directs Crash – Physical Contact
, bitter and realistic portrait of society. Hollywood chases him and he works and works: a choral drama that deals with the different facets of the human relationship and that sees among the interpreters Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Brendan Fraser and Ryan Phillippe.

In 2006 Haggis wrote the screenplay for The Last KissAmerican remake of de The last Kiss by Gabriele Muccino; and of Casino Royaletwenty-first film in the 007 film series, saga of which he will also write the screenplay of the following chapter, Quantum of Solace (2008). Also in 2006, Haggis renews her solid working relationship with director Clint Eastwood with whom she collaborates in the development of the film’s subject. Letters by Iwo Jima and the screenplay by Flags of Our Fathers, dramatic films on the theme of the Second World War. In 2007 he returned to directing with the film In the valley of Elah, a film of which he is also responsible for the subject, script and production. In 2011 Haggis directed a stellar cast (Russell Crowe, Olivia Wilde, Jonathan Tucker, rapper RZA, Brian Dennehy and Liam Neeson) in the film The Next Three Days, of which he is also the screenwriter and producer. Two years later he wrote and directed Third Personfilm presented in world premiere on 9 September 2013 at the Toronto International Film Festival: a choral film, shot in Rome, Paris, New York and Taranto, starring Liam Neeson, Olivia Wilde, Adrien Brody, and James Franco, in which they meet three stories of love, passion, and betrayal.

Haggis currently lives in New York. From 1977 to 1997 he was married to Diane Christine Gettas
with whom he had three children: Alissa Sullivan, Lauren Kilvington and Katy Elizabeth. Divorced from his first wife, in 1997 he remarried to actress Deborah Rennard, with whom he had another son: James. In 2012 he also divorced his second wife. In 2009 he founded Artists for Peace and Justice, a non-profit organization that encourages peace and social justice and addresses the problems of poverty and suffrage around the world. In an interview with reporter Dan Rather, Haggis professed his atheism.

The current rape accusation is not new in the life of the director who is facing a civil lawsuit in the US, born from the accusations made in 2017 by the press officer Haleigh Breest, who claimed she was raped by Haggis after a premiere in 2013. Since 2018, four other women have come forward claiming to have been victims of harassment and sexual assault by the director. Haggis denied all allegations, arguing that the relationship with the press secretary was consensual and attempted to sue Haleigh Breest in turn (the motion was rejected by the judge) for defamation through false accusations and because he allegedly attempted to extort 9 million dollars from him. The case had returned to talk last year when Haggis asked the judge to expedite the civil suit, declaring that he was close to bankruptcy and could not cover the legal costs that would have reached almost two million dollars. Costs that he would no longer be able to bear, according to what has been declared, due to the difficulties he would be encountering in finding engagements, precisely because of the allegations of violence. The filmmaker in recent years has often been at the center of controversy, especially for the clash with Scientology, of which he was a member for 35 years and which he abandoned in 2009 after the positions of the religious organization founded by Ron Hubbard against gay marriages.

June 19, 2022 (change June 19, 2022 | 19:12)

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David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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