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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Michael Arndt
Arndt in 2007
Arndt in 2007
BornMcLean, Virginia, U.S.
Pen nameMichael deBruyn
Years active1997–present
Notable works
Notable awards

Michael Arndt is an American screenwriter, who has written for the films Little Miss Sunshine (2006), Toy Story 3 (2010), and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).

Arndt won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Little Miss Sunshine and was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay for Toy Story 3. This made Arndt the first screenwriter ever to be nominated for both the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay for his first two screenplays.

He has also been credited under the pseudonyms Michael deBruyn and Rick Kerb, which are mainly used for script revisions.[1]

Early life and education

Arndt was born in McLean, Virginia. Arndt's father was a member of the Foreign Service, and as a result he lived in various countries, including Sri Lanka and India; he also lived in Virginia for a time.[2] Arndt graduated from Langley High School in McLean, and also attended The Potomac School. He graduated from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.[2] Arndt was a script reader for some time, and was a personal assistant to actor Matthew Broderick until late 1999,[3] when he chose to begin writing screenplays full-time.[2][3][4]

Screenwriting career

"I figured I'd probably write 50 scripts in my life. Out of those 50, I figured maybe five would be produced, and that maybe one or two would be successful. So I always kind of expected I'd write at least one successful film in my life. [...] The way it all came together was kind of like Murphy's law in reverse—I don't expect that kind of experience again any time soon."

—Michael Arndt[3]

Arndt wrote the first draft of Little Miss Sunshine in three days between May 23–26, 2000.[5] From that initial draft, he made approximately 100 revisions over the course of a year, requesting input from friends and family.[2][3] Arndt considered directing the film himself "as a no-budget, DV feature" due to his concern of the story being "just too small and "indie" to get any real attention from Hollywood".[3] After the Endeavor Talent Agency read the script in July 2001, however, producers Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa subsequently gave the script to commercial and music video directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, who were immediately attracted to the project.[3][4][6] Dayton and Faris were signed on by producer Marc Turtletaub, who purchased the script from Arndt for $250,000, on December 21, 2001.[4][5]

The project was set up at Focus Features, where it was in various stages of pre-production for approximately three years. During that time, Arndt was fired when he objected to centralizing the story on Richard Hoover (played by Greg Kinnear in the film), only to be re-hired within a month after the new writer hired by Focus left the project.[7] Arndt resumed work on the script, which continued through production and into post-production: "The final scene of the movie [...] was written and shot about eight weeks before [its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 20, 2006]", he said.[3][4] Following its theatrical release on August 18, 2006, Little Miss Sunshine won many prizes and awards. Arndt won multiple Best Original Screenplay awards for Little Miss Sunshine, from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and the Writers Guild of America. He was later invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.[8]

Arndt began collaborating with Lee Unkrich and other Pixar personnel on the screenplay for Toy Story 3 in 2006,[9] working from a treatment by Andrew Stanton, who co-wrote the two preceding films in the series.[10][11] He was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay for his work, and became the first ever screenwriter to be nominated for both Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay for his first two screenplays.

Arndt was one of several screenwriters brought on to perform script revisions for Men in Black 3.[12][13]

Arndt wrote the script for The Hunger Games sequel, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Suzanne Collins.[14] Ten years later, he co-wrote the screenplay to the Hunger Games prequel, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes.

In November 2012, Arndt was announced as the screenwriter for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In October 2013, it was announced that Lawrence Kasdan and director J. J. Abrams were rewriting Arndt's script.[15]



Year Title Director Notes
2006 Little Miss Sunshine Jonathan Dayton
Valerie Faris
2010 Toy Story 3 Lee Unkrich
2013 Oblivion Joseph Kosinski Credited as Michael deBruyn
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Francis Lawrence
2015 A Walk in the Woods Ken Kwapis Credited as Rick Kerb
Star Wars: The Force Awakens J. J. Abrams
2023 The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes Francis Lawrence


Senior creative team

Awards and nominations

Year Title Award/Nomination
2006 Little Miss Sunshine Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay
BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Writer
Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Screenplay
Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Original Screenplay
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Original Screenplay
Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Original Screenplay
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Original Screenplay
Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for New Generation Award
Palm Springs International Film Festival for Chairman's Vanguard Award
Nominated–Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Original Screenplay
Nominated–London Critics Circle Film Award for Screenwriter of the Year
Nominated–Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Original Screenplay
2010 Toy Story 3 Nominated–Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated–Annie Award for Writing in a Feature Production
Nominated–BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated–Bradbury Award
Nominated–Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated–Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated–Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation - Long Form
Nominated–San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Original Screenplay
Nominated–Satellite Award for Best Original Screenplay
Nominated–Saturn Award for Best Writing
Nominated–Scream Award for Best Scream-Play
Nominated–Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
2013 The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Nominated–Bradbury Award
Nominated–Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation - Long Form
2015 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Saturn Award for Best Writing
Nominated–Bradbury Award
Nominated–Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation - Long Form


  1. ^ Alloway, Meredith (April 6, 2014). "Oscar winner Michael Arndt talks screenwriting, and offers some advice". The Script Lab. TSL Media Inc. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d Wloszczyna, Susan (March 5, 2007). "Writing for an Oscar". USA Today. Retrieved July 9, 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Wood, Jennifer (February 3, 2007). "Family Values". MovieMaker Magazine. Retrieved July 9, 2008.
  4. ^ a b c d Waxman, Sharon (January 23, 2006). "A Small Film Nearly Left for Dead Has Its Day in the Sundance Rays". The New York Times. Retrieved July 8, 2008.
  5. ^ a b Arndt, Michael (2007). Little Miss Sunshine: The Shooting Script. Newmarket. p. x. ISBN 978-1-55704-770-0.
  6. ^ Goldstein, Patrick (February 20, 2007). "The unkindest cut". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 8, 2008.
  7. ^ Guillen, Michael (February 23, 2007). "Michael Arndt, Little Mr. Sunshine". SF360. Archived from the original on October 6, 2008. Retrieved July 8, 2008.
  8. ^ "Academy Invites 115 to Become Members" (Press release). AMPAS. June 18, 2007. Archived from the original on December 24, 2007. Retrieved July 8, 2008.
  9. ^ Daly, Steve (February 16, 2007). "Toy's Out of the Attic". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 9, 2008.
  10. ^ "2007 Disney Conference – Studio Presentation" (PDF). Disney Enterprises. February 8, 2007. Retrieved August 6, 2007.
  11. ^ Fritz, Ben (February 8, 2007). "'Toy Story' sequel set". Variety. Retrieved July 8, 2008.
  12. ^ Lee, Chris (May 21, 2012). "How Will Smith's 'Men in Black 3' Almost Became a Disaster Movie". Newsweek. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  13. ^ Lee, Chris (May 29, 2012). "The Movie Redemption of 'Men in Black 3' Scribe Etan Cohen". The Daily Beast. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  14. ^ Kit, Borys (May 5, 2012). "Michael Arndt in Talks to Re-Write 'Hunger Games' Sequel 'Catching Fire' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 6, 2012.
  15. ^ Holslin, Peter (October 25, 2013). "Decoding the 'Star Wars' Writers' Drama". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 22, 2015.

Further reading

External links

This page was last edited on 17 June 2024, at 17:34
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