Paul Edward Haggis (born March 10, 1953) is a Canadian screenwriter, film producer, and director of film and television. He is best known as screenwriter and producer for consecutive Best Picture Oscar winners: Million Dollar Baby (2004) and Crash (2005), the latter of which he also directed. He is the creator of the television series Due South and the co-creator of Walker, Texas Ranger. He is a two-time Academy Award winner, two-time Emmy Award winner, and seven-time Gemini Award winner.
Paul Edward Haggis was born in London, Ontario, the son of Mary Yvonne (née Metcalf) and Ted Haggis, an Olympic sprinter. He was raised as a Catholic, but considered himself an atheist in early adulthood. 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 returned 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, FM, 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 later 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.
Crash 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 because they believed that most racial problems had already been resolved in American society.
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 same-sex 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.
|1993||Red Hot||Screenwriter, Director|
|2004||Million Dollar Baby||Screenwriter, Producer|
|Crash||Story, Screenwriter, Director, Producer|
|2006||The Last Kiss||Screenwriter (adaptation)|
|Flags of Our Fathers||Screenwriter|
|Letters from Iwo Jima||Screenwriter, Executive Producer|
|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|
|2017||Lead and Copper||Director||Filming|
|1987||Return of the Shaggy Dog||Screenwriter|
|1987–1988||thirtysomething||Supervising producer, Writer, Director|
|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|
|2007||The Black Donnellys||Creator|
|2015||Show Me a Hero||Director, Executive producer|
|2011||Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3||Co-writer|
Haggis has been nominated for dozens of awards.
|1985||Humanitas Prize||CBS Storybreak: "Zucchini"||Children's Animation Category||Nominated|
|1988||Emmy Award||thirtysomething||Outstanding Drama Series||Won|
|Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series: Business as Usual||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 Motion Picture of the Year||Won|
|Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay||Nominated|
|Writers Guild of America Award||Best Adapted Screenplay||Nominated|
|American Screenwriters Association||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|
|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|
|2015||Directors Guild of America Awards||Show Me a Hero||Outstanding Directing – Miniseries or Television Film||Nominated|
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