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Brian Koppelman

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Brian Koppelman
Brian William Koppelman

(1966-04-27) April 27, 1966 (age 58)
Occupation(s)Screenwriter, director, filmmaker, record producer, essayist, podcaster, former music business executive
SpouseAmy Levine
Parent(s)Brenda "Bunny" Koppelman
Charles Koppelman

Brian William Koppelman (born April 27, 1966) is an American showrunner. Koppelman is the co-writer of Ocean's Thirteen and Rounders, the producer for films including The Illusionist and The Lucky Ones, the director for films including Solitary Man and the documentary This Is What They Want for ESPN as part of their 30 for 30 series, and the co-creator, showrunner, and executive producer of Showtime's Billions[2][3][4][5] and Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber.[6]

Early life and education[edit]

Koppelman was born on April 27, 1966, in Roslyn Harbor, New York,[7] the son of Brenda "Bunny" Koppelman and Charles Koppelman.[8][9] Koppelman is Jewish.[10] His father was a producer and media executive. Koppelman holds degrees from Tufts University and Fordham University School of Law.[11][12]


He first started managing local Long Island bands as a teenager.[13] He would also book bands at a local nightclub. Through booking acts, he came into contact with Eddie Murphy and helped arrange Murphy's first record deal.[13] As a student at Tufts University, he discovered singer/songwriter Tracy Chapman and executive-produced her first album.[13] He was later brought to Giant Records by president Irving Azoff.[14][15] During his career, Koppelman was an A&R representative for music labels Elektra Records, Giant Records, SBK Records and EMI Records.[15]


In 1997, Koppelman wrote the original screenplay for Rounders with his writing partner, David Levien. Koppelman has described his approach to writing as a team as having only one rule: no video games in the office.[4] In 2001, Koppelman wrote, produced, and directed his first film, Knockaround Guys, which film critic Roger Ebert gave 3 out of 4 stars.[16] Since then, Koppelman has worked on a dozen films, including having written Ocean's Thirteen and directed an ESPN 30 for 30 documentary, This Is What They Want.[4]

In 2009, Koppelman co-directed Solitary Man starring Michael Douglas. The film was included in both A. O. Scott's The New York Times "Year End Best" list, Roger Ebert's "Year End Best" list, and holds a "Fresh" rating of 81% at the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes.[17]

Other writings and podcasts[edit]

Koppelman was a contributor and essayist at Grantland.com, a website that was dedicated to sports and pop culture.[18] Additionally, since March 2014, Koppelman has hosted a weekly podcast, "The Moment", on ESPN Radio.[19] In October, 2013, Koppelman received significant media attention for releasing a series of videos on the platform Vine in which he gives screenwriting advice in six seconds or less called "Six Second Screenwriting Lessons".[20] His "Screenwriting, in Six Seconds or Less" Vine from July 31, 2014, generated over 15 million loops in less than nine days.[21] He has also written a short story, "Wednesday is Viktor's", for the anthology Dark City Lights: New York Stories (Have a NYC), published in 2015.[22] Koppelman has a chapter giving advice in Tim Ferriss' book Tools of Titans.


Showtime's drama Billions, created by Koppelman with The New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin and writing partner David Levien, and starring Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis, premiered to strong reviews in 2016.[23][24]


Koppelman has been involved in several lawsuits regarding his work, namely Grosso v. Miramax Film Corp.,[25] Cayuga Nations v. Showtime Networks Inc.,[26] and Shull v. Sorkin.[27] Both Grosso and Shull claimed that Koppelman stole their ideas and copyright work in his creation of Rounders and Billions respectively.[25][28] All cases have since been dismissed. Shull's case was recently dismissed a second time.[28]

Awards and recognition[edit]

In 2013, Tufts University awarded Koppelman their P.T. Barnum Award for success in Media/Arts.[29] In 2014, Koppelman won an Emmy Award for his 30 for 30 documentary.[30]

Personal life[edit]

In 1992, Koppelman married novelist Amy Levine at the Central Synagogue in Manhattan.[31] His sister is Jennifer Koppelman Hutt, who hosts a Sirius Satellite Radio show called Just Jenny.[32] Regarding religion, Koppelman describes himself as culturally Jewish, but from a philosophical standpoint he identifies himself as an atheist.[33] Koppelman is a fan of the Knicks, Jets, and Yankees.[1]

Of his five-year practice of Transcendental Meditation Koppelman said in 2016: "For me it was a way to control anxiety, and I found that the physical manifestations of anxiety just dissipated by about 85 or 90 percent ... So that was a gigantic life change, to not feel a fluttering stomach, to not get a stress headache and things like that."[34]


Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
1998 Rounders No Yes No
2001 Knockaround Guys Yes Yes Yes Co-directed with David Levien
2003 Runaway Jury No Yes No
2004 Walking Tall No Yes No
2007 Ocean's Thirteen No Yes No
2009 Solitary Man Yes Yes No Co-directed with David Levien
The Girlfriend Experience No Yes No
2013 Runner Runner No Yes Yes

Producer only



Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
2003 The Street Lawyer No Yes Yes TV pilot
2005 Tilt Yes Yes Yes Co-creator
2013 This Is What They Want Yes No No
2016 Billions No Yes Executive Co-creator


  • Koppelman, Brian (2015). "Wednesday is Viktor's". In Block, Lawrence (ed.). Dark city lights : New York stories. New York: Three Rooms Press.
  • — (September 20, 2021). "We can make it work". Shouts & Murmurs. The New Yorker. 97 (29): 27.


  1. ^ a b "Episode: The Moment, Hank Steinberg". ESPN. August 5, 2014. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  2. ^ Christopher Rosen (October 3, 2013). "Brian Koppelman & David Levien On 'Runner Runner,' Screenwriting & The Status Of 'Rounders 2'". Huffington Post. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  3. ^ "This Is What They Want". ESPN. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c Bill Simmons (April 9, 2006). "Curious Guy 'Rounders'". ESPN. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  5. ^ Billions Co-Creator Brian Koppelman: The Craziest Thing I Saw at a Billionaire's Home, 2016-01-27, retrieved 2016-12-17
  6. ^ Han, Angie (2022-02-26). "Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Showtime's 'Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber': TV Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2022-04-13.
  7. ^ "Charles Koppelman". Answers.com. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  8. ^ The New York Times: "Brenda "Bunny" Koppelman Obituary" July 9, 2008
  9. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths KOPPELMAN, BUNNY". The New York Times. 2008-07-11.
  10. ^ Donadoni, Serena (September 11, 1998). "At The Movies - Jewish screenwriters David Levien, a U-M frad, and Brian Koppelman infiltrate the world of poker players in "Rounders"". Detroit Jewish News.
  11. ^ "Tufts Grad Honored At Sarasota Film Festival". Tufts University. April 23, 2007. Archived from the original on August 14, 2014. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  12. ^ "Brian Koppelman". Film Bug. September 4, 2002. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  13. ^ a b c Nancy Harrison (January 20, 1991). "Persuasion Pays Off for a Talent Scout". New York Times. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  14. ^ Tom Phalen (August 22, 1996). "Making A New Start—Tracy Chapman's Career Went From A 'Fast Car' To A Slow Crawl; Now She's Back With A Whole 'New Beginning'". Seattle Times. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  15. ^ a b "100 Best Albums of the Eighties". Rolling Stone.
  16. ^ Roger Ebert (October 11, 2002). "Knockaround Guys". Rogerebert.com. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  17. ^ "Solitary Man (2010)". Rotten Tomatoes.
  18. ^ "Contributors: Brian Koppelman". Grantland.com. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  19. ^ "The Moment with Brian Koppelman". ESPN Pod Center. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  20. ^ Rachel Syme (October 10, 2013). "Screenwriting Advice, in Six Seconds or Less". The New Yorker. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  21. ^ "Brian Koppelman's Profile – Vine". Vine.com. Archived from the original on 2016-02-04. Retrieved 2016-02-03.
  22. ^ Block, Lawrence, ed. (30 April 2015). Dark City Lights: New York Stories (Have a NYC). Three Rooms Press.
  23. ^ "Critic Reviews for Billions Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved 2016-02-03.
  24. ^ Soraya Nadia McDonald (March 14, 2014). "Showtime green-lights pilot from NYT columnist Sorkin". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  25. ^ a b "Jeff Grosso, Plaintiff-appellant, v. Miramax Film Corp., a New York Corporation; Miramax Books; Spanky Pictures, a New York Corporation; David Levien, an Individual; Brian Koppelman, an Individual; Ted Demme, an Individual; Joel Stillerman, an Individual, Defendants-appellees, 400 F.3d 658 (9th Cir. 2005)". Justia Law. Retrieved 2021-05-31.
  26. ^ "Cayuga Nation v Showtime Networks Inc". Justia Law. Retrieved 2021-05-31.
  27. ^ "Shull v. Sorkin". Justia Dockets & Filings. Retrieved 2021-05-31.
  28. ^ a b "Shull v Sorkin Appeal Brief" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2021-06-02.
  29. ^ "From the Hill to Hollywood". Tufts. Archived from the original on 2016-05-24. Retrieved 2014-08-14.
  30. ^ "NBC Tops Sports Emmys, Extends 'Sunday Night Football' Streak". Chicago Tribune.
  31. ^ "Amy L. Levine Has Wedding". New York Times. 3 April 1992. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  32. ^ "Jennifer Koppelman Hutt". Huffington Post. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  33. ^ "Episode: Brian Koppelman, David Levien, and Deaf Frat Guy". Adamcarolla.com. November 26, 2013. Archived from the original on October 18, 2014. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  34. ^ "Billions Co-Creator Explains Why the Show's Main Characters Meditate". ABC News. 18 March 2016. Retrieved 20 March 2016. David Levien is my creative partner, he and I both practice Transcendental Meditation … and we have found tremendous benefit in it.
  35. ^ Michael Clayton (2007), retrieved 2018-11-02

External links[edit]