Chris Terrio (born December 31, 1976) is an American film director and screenwriter based in New York City. He is best known for writing the screenplay for the 2012 film Argo, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Terrio also won the Writers Guild Award for Best Adapted Screenplay of 2012 and was nominated for Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay, a BAFTA nomination and the 2013 Los Angeles Film Critics Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Terrio is currently writing the screenplay for the sequel to Zack Snyder's Man of Steel, entitled Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Terrio graduated in 1997 from Harvard University, where he concentrated in English and American literature and lived in Adams House. Terrio attended University of Cambridge and received his master's degree from the USC School of Cinematic Arts in 2002.
At age 26, he directed the feature film Heights (Sony Pictures Classics, 2005), which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. It follows a pivotal twenty-four hours in the interconnected lives of five New Yorkers. It stars Glenn Close, Elizabeth Banks, James Marsden and Jesse Bradford, and features Isabella Rossellini, George Segal and Rufus Wainwright in small roles. It was one of the final films produced by Ismail Merchant. The film won a "Best Independent Feature Film Casting" award from the Casting Society of America, USA in 2005.
In 2010, he directed the episode "I Look Like Frankenstein", which was Episode 8 in Season 3 of Damages on FX.
In 2002, he directed, wrote and produced a short film entitled Book of Kings, which starred Aasif Mandvi among others. It won "Best Short" at the 2002 Santa Fe Film Festival and also was nominated for "Best Short Film" at the 2002 Deauville Film Festival.
Terrio wrote the script for Argo, winning the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for the screenplay, and the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. His screenplay was also nominated for "Best Screenplay" awards from the Golden Globes and the BAFTA Awards. For the Argo screenplay, he also won "Best Screenplay" or "Best Adapted Screenplay" honors from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards, the Online Film Critics Society Awards, the Austin Film Critics Association, the Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards, the San Diego Film Critics Society Awards, the Southeastern Film Critics Association Awards, the 2013 University of Southern California (USC) Scripter Award, 2nd place in the Central Ohio Film Critics Association, the Florida Film Critics Circle Awards, and the Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards. He adapted the screenplay based on a Wired magazine article by Joshuah Bearman entitled "The Great Escape" and the autobiography of Tony Mendez, The Master of Disguise.
Terrio recalls the experience of writing a dialogue-intensive scene for Argo:
Scene 58--nine men sitting in a conference room talking through scenarios for cover stories to get Americans out of Iran--was difficult. There's nothing to cut to except the actors' faces. The tension has to come from the subtle shifts of power. CIA and State Department officials debate ideas, each worse than the last. I knew the crucial beat would come when our hero, Tony Mendez speaks up. He couldn't seem disrespectful, yet he had to make his case. I settled on the idea that Mendez would throw a spitball into the conversation with a joke about giving the bicycle escapees Gatorade. The table would go silent. The attention of the room would shift to the court jester. I also had to determine whether Gatorade was on the market and a commonly recognized brand in December of 1979. I celebrated when I found a magazine from the year before featuring a dehydrated athlete with a Village People moustache: 'Gatorade: When You're Thirsty to Win.'
Terrio has also been hired by Paramount Studios and Indian Paintbrush to write the script for the drama, A Murder Foretold, based on an article in The New Yorker by David Grann revolving around a number of high-profile murders in Guatemala.
Terrio will also be scripting the adaptation of Harlan Coben's novel, Tell No One, for Warner Bros., with Ben Affleck also being attached to direct. There has already been a French film directed by Guillaume Canet based on the novel.
Terrio has also edited the documentary short First Out.
Terrio also served as an assistant director on the short film Equation, directed by Anuj Majumdar, and was also a grip on the short film Awake, directed by Lori Lovoy-Goran, who won a DGA Student Film Award and a SXSW Competition Award for her documentary short film, In Between Days.
- The Toughest Scene I Wrote, New York Magazine, http://personalmags.com/new-york/new-york-january-21-2013/2810-the-toughest-scene-i-wrote.html
- Siegel, Tatiana (December 18, 2013). "Batman-Superman Film Enlists 'Argo' Writer (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Mike Fleming Jr., Chris Terrio To Write ‘A Murder Foretold’ For Paramount And Indian Paintbrush, http://www.deadline.com/2011/10/chris-terrio-to-write-a-murder-foretold-for-paramount-and-indian-paintbrush/
- Mike Fleming Jr., Ben Affleck To Turn French-Flavored Harlan Coben Novel ‘Tell No One’ Into Feature, http://www.deadline.com/2011/06/ben-affleck-to-turn-french-flavored-harlan-coben-novel-tell-no-one-into-feature/
- Chris Terrio at the Internet Movie Database
- A Biography of Chris Terrio and an Analysis of His Writing Techniques
- IFC picks up short film. Accessed 3 July 2006.
- Interview with Terrio at About.com. Accessed 3 July 2006.