Craig Mazin

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Craig Mazin
Mazin in January 2023
Born1971 (age 52–53)
  • Screenwriter
  • producer
  • director
Years active1997–present

Craig Mazin (born 1971) is an American screenwriter, producer, and director. He is best known for creating, writing, and producing the HBO miniseries Chernobyl (2019) and co-creating, co-writing, and executive producing the HBO series The Last of Us (2023–present), the latter alongside Neil Druckmann. He has won two Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special and Outstanding Limited Series. Before his work on drama shows gained widespread attention, he was primarily known for his writing work on comedy films such as Scary Movie 3 (2003), Scary Movie 4 (2006), The Hangover Part II (2011), The Hangover Part III (2013), and Identity Thief (2013).

Early life[edit]

Mazin was born to Ashkenazi Jewish parents[1][2] in New York City's Brooklyn borough in 1971,[3] and grew up in the city's Staten Island borough. He moved as a teenager to Marlboro Township, New Jersey, where he attended Freehold High School in nearby Freehold Borough. The school later inducted him into its Hall of Fame in 2010.[4] He graduated magna cum laude with a degree in psychology from Princeton University in 1992. His roommate during his freshman year was future Republican politician Ted Cruz, whom he now often describes as a "huge asshole".[5][6][7]


Mazin began his entertainment career as a marketing executive with Walt Disney Pictures in the mid-1990s, where he was responsible for writing and producing campaigns for studio films.[4] He made his screenwriting debut with 1997's sci-fi comedy RocketMan, co-written with his then-writing partner Greg Erb.[8] He has since written movies such as Senseless, Scary Movie 3, Scary Movie 4, and Identity Thief. He has directed two films: 2000's low-budget superhero film The Specials, which he also produced, and the 2008 superhero spoof Superhero Movie, which he also wrote (he also made a cameo appearance as a janitor).

Since 2006, Mazin has collaborated with director Todd Phillips on several occasions. He co-wrote both Hangover sequels, The Hangover Part II and The Hangover Part III, and executive produced School for Scoundrels. In 2004, he was elected to the board of directors of the Writers Guild of America, West. He did not seek re-election and his term expired in September 2006. Along with fellow former WGA board member Ted Elliott, Mazin ran a website called The Artful Writer, which focused on issues relevant to working screenwriters. It closed in 2011 after seven years. In 2011, Mazin and fellow screenwriter John August began Scriptnotes, a weekly podcast on the craft of screenwriting and the U.S. film industry.[9]

In 2017, HBO and Sky Television announced Chernobyl, a five-part drama miniseries created by Mazin about the infamous Chernobyl disaster. The series aired in 2019 and was filmed in Lithuania and Ukraine.[10] Mazin said that the "lesson of Chernobyl isn't that modern nuclear power is dangerous [...] the lesson is that lying, arrogance, and suppression of criticism are dangerous".[11] In an interview with Decider, he said, "If I came to HBO and said 'I want to do another season of Chernobyl, except it's gonna be about another terrible tragedy,' whether it's Bhopal or Fukushima or something like that, I would imagine they at least would give me polite interest."[12]

In 2019, it was announced that Disney had hired Mazin to co-write the screenplay of a sixth Pirates of the Caribbean movie with original Pirates screenwriter Ted Elliott.[13] He was named as the scriptwriter for the Lionsgate film adaptation of the Borderlands video game series in February 2020,[14] though his name was removed from the project by 2023.[15] He was announced as co-writer and co-executive producer for a television series adaptation of the video game The Last of Us for HBO in March 2020, alongside the game's co-director and writer Neil Druckmann.[16] The Last of Us adaptation was greenlit by HBO in November 2020, and was released in January 2023.[17] More recently, Mazin signed an overall deal with HBO.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Mazin and his wife Melissa have two children.[19] He endorsed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.[20]



Year Title Director Writer Producer
1997 RocketMan No Yes No
1998 Senseless No Yes No
2000 The Specials Yes No Co-Producer
2003 Scary Movie 3 No Yes No
2006 Scary Movie 4 No Yes Yes
2008 Superhero Movie Yes Yes Yes
2011 The Hangover Part II No Yes No
2013 Identity Thief No Yes No
The Hangover Part III No Yes No
2016 The Huntsman: Winter's War No Yes No

Executive producer

Uncredited writer

Special thanks


Year Title Director Writer Creator Executive
2019 Chernobyl No Yes Yes Yes TV miniseries;
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Limited Series
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series
2021 Mythic Quest No Yes No No Episode: "Backstory!"
Also consulting producer
2023–present The Last of Us Yes Yes Yes Yes Directed episode "When You're Lost in the Darkness"

Acting credits[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2006 Scary Movie 4 Saw Villain Voice role
2008 Superhero Movie Janitor Cameo
2020 Mythic Quest Lou
2023 The Last of Us Soldier


  1. ^ "How 'Chernobyl' Creator Craig Mazin Morphed from Comedy Screenwriter to Emmy-Contending HBO Showrunner". 21 August 2019. Archived from the original on 26 November 2020. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  2. ^ "Ted Cruz's Jewish College Roomie Remembers when — with Acid Tongue". 15 January 2016. Archived from the original on 20 May 2021. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  3. ^ McNally, Karen (12 April 2022). American Television during a Television Presidency. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 9780814349373. Archived from the original on 17 July 2023. Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  4. ^ a b Celano, Clare Marie. "Freehold Hall of Fame inductees to be feted", News Transcript, March 3, 2010. Accessed February 5, 2011. "Screenwriter and author Craig Mazin, a native of Staten Island, N.Y., was 13 when he moved to Marlboro."
  5. ^ Patricia Murphy. "Ted Cruz at Princeton: Creepy, Sometimes Well Liked, and Exactly the Same" Archived 2017-05-17 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Fuckin' Craig Mazin: An Appreciation of Ted Cruz's College Roommate". 4 December 2015. Archived from the original on 4 December 2015. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  7. ^ Nolan, Emma (June 15, 2020). "Ted Cruz's College Roommate Says Texas Senator Has Been 'Pathetic Since 1988'". Newsweek. Archived from the original on September 21, 2021. Retrieved September 21, 2021.
  8. ^ "Interview (Part 1): Craig Mazin – Go Into The Story". Go Into The Story. 2013-07-29. Archived from the original on 2023-07-17. Retrieved 2017-11-24.
  9. ^ "Scriptnotes on iTunes". iTunes. Archived from the original on 2016-03-18. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
  10. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (2017-07-26). "HBO Sets 'Chernobyl' Miniseries to Star Jared Harris". Variety. Archived from the original on 2019-05-12. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
  11. ^ Towhey, Jessica (June 23, 2019). "Will HBO's 'Chernobyl' Miniseries Impact Perceptions of Nuclear Power?". Inside Sources. Archived from the original on July 5, 2019. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  12. ^ "People are asking the writer of Chernobyl to do a similar show and he has some thoughts". Joe. June 6, 2019. Archived from the original on June 7, 2019. Retrieved June 7, 2019.
  13. ^ Kit, Borys (October 25, 2019). "'Chernobyl' Creator Craig Mazin Tackling 'Pirates of the Caribbean' Reboot (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on March 17, 2022. Retrieved June 12, 2023.
  14. ^ McNary, Dave (February 20, 2020). "Eli Roth to Direct 'Borderlands' Movie for Lionsgate". Variety. Archived from the original on September 30, 2020. Retrieved February 20, 2020.
  15. ^ Hailu, Selome (July 12, 2023). "'Borderlands' Movie; Craig Mazin Says He's 'Not a Credited Writer' and Reports of Pseudonym Credit Are 'False'". Variety. Retrieved July 26, 2023.
  16. ^ Otterson, Joe (March 5, 2020). "'The Last of Us' Series in Development at HBO From 'Chernobyl' Creator". Variety. Archived from the original on March 6, 2020. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
  17. ^ White, Peter (2020-11-20). "'The Last Of Us': HBO Hands Series Order To Video Game Adaptation From Craig Mazin & Neil Druckmann". Deadline. Archived from the original on 2020-11-20. Retrieved 2020-12-12.
  18. ^ "'Last of Us' EP Craig Mazin Extends HBO Overall Deal". The Hollywood Reporter. 2021-01-25. Archived from the original on 2021-01-25. Retrieved 2021-01-26.
  19. ^ Piasecki, Joe (June 8, 2011). "Writer's art doesn't reflect his life". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on September 21, 2021. Retrieved September 21, 2021.
  20. ^ "The Creator of Chernobyl on Viewers Taking Away the Wrong Lessons". Slate. June 3, 2019. Archived from the original on August 2, 2019. Retrieved August 2, 2019.

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