David Levien

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David Levien
Born (1967-12-09) December 9, 1967 (age 55)
Great Neck, New York, United States
OccupationScreenwriter, novelist, director, producer
EducationB.A. University of Michigan
GenreFiction, suspense
Notable worksBillions, Rounders, Solitary Man
SpouseMelissa Sandler Levien
ChildrenJoseph Levien

James Levien

Robbie Levien

David Levien (born December 9, 1967) is an American screenwriter, director, producer, and novelist. He is co-creator, executive producer, and showrunner of Showtime's Billions, along with Brian Koppelman.[1][2] Over the past two decades Levien has created an influential and diverse body of work in both film and television. Some of his most noteworthy credits include Ocean's Thirteen, Rounders,[3][4] Solitary Man, The Illusionist, Runaway Jury, Tilt, and ESPN's 30 for 30 (This Is What They Want) for which he won a sports Emmy.

Levien is also the author of six novels, including four in the celebrated Frank Behr series.[5][6][7] Some of his earlier works were published under D.J. Levien.

Early life and education[edit]

Levien was born in Great Neck, New York.[8] He met his lifelong writing partner and friend, Brian Koppelman, on a summer bus trip for teens when Levien was 14 years old.[9] Levien is Jewish.[10] He is a graduate of the University of Michigan.[10] After school he moved to Los Angeles where he worked as a story editor for various agencies and production companies.[10] Finding that editing the stories of the others impacted his writing, he quit and moved to Paris and then Argentina where he trained horses before returning to New York City where he reunited with Koppelman.[10]



In 1997, Levien wrote the original screenplay for Rounders with his writing partner, Brian Koppelman. In 2001, Levien and Koppelman wrote, produced, and directed the film Knockaround Guys, which film critic Roger Ebert gave 3 out of 4 stars. Levien and Koppelman also co-wrote the 2003 film Runaway Jury, which was nominated for the Edgar Award for Best Screenplay. In 2009, Levien and 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 and Roger Ebert's "Year End Best" list. Other film credits include the third installment in the Ocean's franchise, 2007's Ocean's Thirteen, directed by Steven Soderbergh.


Levien has published six novels, including the literary novels Wormwood, Swagbelly, and the popular Frank Behr crime series, set in the midwest and chronicling the fictional private investigator. The series includes City of the Sun, Where the Dead Lay, 13 Million Dollar Pop, and Signature Kill. The Behr books were nominated for the Hammett, Barry and Shamus awards. Sons of Spade named 13 Million Dollar Pop the best P.I. novel of 2011.

Short stories[edit]

In 2015, Levien published the short story "Knock Out Whist," which was nominated by Best American Mystery Stories 2016 as an honorable mention. His story "Einstein's Sabbath" was published in The Darkling Halls of Ivy anthology in 2020.


Showtime's drama series, Billions, created by David Levien, Brian Koppelman, and Andrew Ross Sorkin, and starring Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis, premiered to strong reviews in 2016. The show is now in its fifth season and was renewed for a sixth in 2020.



Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
1998 Rounders No Yes No Co-written with Brian Koppelman
2001 Knockaround Guys Yes Yes Yes Co-directed with Brian Koppelman
2003 Runaway Jury No Yes No Co-written with Brian Koppelman
2004 Walking Tall No Yes No
2007 Ocean's Thirteen No Yes No
2009 Solitary Man Yes No No Co-directed with Brian Koppelman
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
2016 Billions No Yes Executive
2022 Super Pumped No Yes Executive


Frank Behr novels[edit]

  • City of the Sun (2008)
  • Where the Dead Lay (2009)
  • Thirteen Million Dollar Pop (2011); released as The Contract outside the US (2012)
  • Signature Kill (2014)

Standalone novels[edit]

  • Wormwood (1999)
  • Swagbelly: A Novel for Today's Gentleman (2003)

Short stories[edit]

  • "Knock-out Whist" (2015)[11]
  • "Einstein's Sabbath" (2020)


  1. ^ Schawbel, Dan. "Brian Koppelman And David Levien: What You Can Learn From The Team Behind Showtime's 'Billions'". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-04-18.
  2. ^ Harris, Brandon (19 May 2010). "Brian Koppelman And David Levien, Solitary Man". Filmmaker Magazine. Retrieved 2019-04-18.
  3. ^ "CW Plots 'The Illusionist' Remake With 'True Blood' Alum". The Hollywood Reporter. 14 October 2014. Retrieved 2019-04-18.
  4. ^ "Were 'Ocean's 13' & 'The Girlfriend Experience' Screenwriters Brian Koppelman & David Levien On Track To Write 'Bourne 4' Before It Died?". theplaylist.net. Retrieved 2019-04-18.
  5. ^ "David Levien". www.amazon.com. Retrieved 2019-05-08.
  6. ^ "David Levein". Book Series in Order. 2015-03-17. Retrieved 2019-05-08.
  7. ^ "Order of David Levien Books - OrderOfBooks.com". www.orderofbooks.com. Retrieved 2019-05-08.
  8. ^ "Billions showrunner David Levien puts the city in a starring role". Crain's New York. April 24, 2017.
  9. ^ Wolfe, Jim (2010-01-29). "David Levien finds success making movies and writing novels". GreenwichTime. Retrieved 2019-05-08.
  10. ^ a b c d 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. ^ Block, Lawrence, ed. (30 April 2015). Dark City Lights: New York Stories (Have a NYC). Three Rooms Press.

External links[edit]