Penn at the Tribeca Film Festival
|Born||1968 (age 45–46)
New York, United States
|Occupation||Film director, screenwriter, producer|
Zak Penn (born 1968) is an American screenwriter and director. Penn wrote and directed Incident at Loch Ness, The Grand, and Atari: Game Over and co-wrote the script for X-Men: The Last Stand and the story for The Avengers. With Michael Karnow, Penn is the co-creator of the TV series Alphas on the Syfy network.
Penn graduated from Wesleyan University in 1990. His screenplay for PCU was based on his experiences at the Eclectic Society house. He is the son of New York businessman and lawyer Arthur Penn, who led the acquisition of the Capital Markets Assurance Corporation from Citicorp.
Zak Penn’s career began as a screenwriter when he sold his first script, LAST ACTION HERO, at the age of twenty-three. Since then, Penn has become known for his work on numerous films based on Marvel comics, including X-MEN 2 and X-MEN: THE LAST STAND, ELEKTRA, THE INCREDIBLE HULK, and most recently, THE AVENGERS. He has also dabbled in other genres, writing scripts for disparate films such as P.C.U., BEHIND ENEMY LINES and SUSPECT ZERO.
Penn’s shift into independent cinema began when he collaborated with his idol, Werner Herzog, on the script for RESCUE DAWN. Penn directed and co-starred with Herzog in INCIDENT AT LOCH NESS, his award-winning “hoax” documentary about the legendary director’s attempts to make a film about the equally legendary monster. THE GRAND, Penn’s second completely improvised film, was his third film with Herzog, and featured an eclectic cast including Woody Harrelson, David Cross, Ray Romano, Cheryl Hines, Dennis Farina and Gabe Kaplan. 
In July 2012, Avatar Press released the first issue of Penn's first comic book, Hero Worship. The six issue series is co-written with Star Wars: The Clone Wars screenwriter Scott Murphy and drawn by Michael DiPascale. It centers on Zenith, an indestructible hero who has fans following every disaster, trying to catch a glimpse of the ultimate celebrity and risking their own lives in the process. One fan becomes so obsessed that it leads to the development of his own powers.
Zak Penn's most recent directing endeavor was the documentary ATARI: GAME OVER for Xbox Live. This critically acclaimed documentary chronicles the fall of the Atari Corporation through the lens of one of the biggest mysteries of all time, dubbed “The Great Video Game Burial of 1983.” As the story goes, the Atari Corporation, faced with an overwhelmingly negative response to “E.T.,” the video game for the Atari 2600, disposed of hundreds of thousands of unsold game cartridges by burying them in the small town of Alamogordo, New Mexico.
- Last Action Hero (with Adam Leff and Shane Black) (1993)
- PCU (with Adam Leff) (1994)
- Inspector Gadget (with Kerry Ehrin) (1999)
- Behind Enemy Lines (with David Veloz) (2001)
- X2 (2003) (story)
- Incident at Loch Ness (2004) (also director)
- Suspect Zero (with Billy Ray) (2004)
- The Fantastic Four (2005) (video game)
- Elektra (with Stu Zicherman and Raven Metzner) (2005)
- X-Men: The Official Game (2006) (video game)
- X-Men: The Last Stand (with Simon Kinberg) (2006)
- The Grand (with Matt Bierman) (2007) (also director)
- The Incredible Hulk (2008)
- Alphas (co-created with Michael Karnow) (2011) (TV)
- The Avengers (story, with Joss Whedon) (2012)
- Atari: Game Over (2014) (Director)
- Untitled Pacific Rim Sequel (with Guillermo del Toro) (2017)
- Ready Player One (with Ernest Cline and Eric Eason) (2017)