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John Fusco is an American screenwriter born in Waterbury, Connecticut, USA. His screenplays include Crossroads, Young Guns, Young Guns II, Thunderheart, Hidalgo, and the Oscar-nominated Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. He is also the author of the novel Paradise Salvage.
John Fusco was raised in the small town of Prospect, Connecticut, leaving home and high school early to travel the American south as a blues musician and saw mill laborer. He would later attend and graduate from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts where his writing mentors were Waldo Salt and Ring Lardner, Jr. He won back-to-back honors in national screenwriting competitions his junior and senior year, winning the top prize of a Nissan Sentra and a contract with the William Morris Agency.
While best known for Western and Native American themed films, Fusco recently drew on his lifelong background in martial arts to write The Forbidden Kingdom, starring Jet Li and Jackie Chan. The movie opened #1 at the box office on April 18, 2008 and broke opening day box office records in China.
Fusco first studied Martial Arts at age 12 at the Association Of Korean Martial Arts (A.K.M.A) in Oakville, Connecticut under legendary Sōke Romaine Staples and currently holds a black belt rank in Shaolin Kung Fu. He is rumored to be working on several related projects for The Weinstein Company.
Martial arts legend Jet Li is quoted, in February 2007, as saying:
[John Fusco] is a good friend of mine and we have been sparring partners for the past three years. He is a superb screenwriter and has been learning Chinese martial arts for many years.
Fusco has stated in DVD special features that he is interested in the spiritual aspects of warrior cultures and acknowledges a "red thread" that runs through his interests in both Native American and Eastern philosophy. In 2007 he crossed Central Mongolia on horseback with Mongol nomads to conduct research, but no details of the proposed film project have been released.
- 1983 — FOCUS Award, First place: Blues Water
- 1984 — FOCUS Award, First Place: Crossroads
- 1988 — WRANGLER Award—Western Heritage Center: Young Guns
- 2000 — WRANGLER Award—Western Heritage Center: Spirit
- 2003 — THE HUMANITARIAN AWARD—First Americans in the Arts: Dreamkeeper mini-series
- 2004 — Spur Award—Western Writers of America: Hidalgo
According to Deadline Hollywood, February 17, 2011, he is currently adapting the acclaimed Peter Guralnick book Last Train to Memphis for Fox 2000. According to the same article, he is also creating the original TV series Marco Polo for the Starz TV channel.