David Peoples

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David Peoples
David Webb Peoples

February 9, 1940 (1940-02-09) (age 82)
Spouse(s)Janet Beebe Peoples[1]

David Webb Peoples (born February 9, 1940) is an American screenwriter who wrote Blade Runner (1982), Unforgiven (1992), and 12 Monkeys (1995). He was nominated for Oscar, Golden Globe, and BAFTA awards. He won the best screenplay awards from the L.A. Film Critics (1991) and National Society of Film Critics (1992) for Unforgiven.

Early life[edit]

Peoples was born in Middletown, Connecticut, the son of Ruth Clara (née Levinger) and Joe Webb Peoples, a geologist.[2][3][4] He studied English at the University of California, Berkeley.[citation needed]


Peoples worked as a film editor in the 1970s while writing screenplays,[when?][5] but his writing career took off after he was hired as co-writer on Blade Runner after director Ridley Scott and screenwriter Hampton Fancher parted ways.[citation needed] Following the success of Blade Runner,[citation needed] Peoples worked on Ladyhawke (1985) and Leviathan (1989).[5]

During the 1980s, Peoples wrote a script based on DC Comics' Sgt. Rock series. Arnold Schwarzenegger was picked to play the title role; the project was revived three decades later in 2010 involving Joel Silver and Easy Company, although with the expectation to set the narrative in a place other than the battlefields of World War II to distinguish the project from the earlier script.[6]

Other Peoples' screenplays were purchased during the 1980s, many after studio development prior to production: Unforgiven, Soldier, and The Blood of Heroes.[citation needed] The Blood of Heroes was directed by Peoples, and starred Rutger Hauer.[7] Peoples received his greatest recognition for Unforgiven (1992)[citation needed]. He wrote the script in 1976, titled The William Munny Killings[5] and appearing in theaters in 1992.[5] Peoples' screwball comedy Hero also appeared in 1992.

Later in 1992, Peoples worked with his wife Janet Peoples on 12 Monkeys (1995), a science fiction fable about time travel inspired by Chris Marker's experimental short film La Jetée.

In 1998, Soldier was filmed by British director Paul W. S. Anderson, although it was re-written by Anderson.[8]


As of February 2015, Peoples has thirteen writing credits (ten for original screenplays, two for stories, and one for source material), as well as five credits for editing, and three credits for directing.[9]


Peoples' highest accolades are for Unforgiven. It received Oscar, Golden Globe and British Academy nominations, and won L.A. Film Critics (1991) and National Society of Film Critics (1992) awards for best screenplay.[citation needed] Peoples was presented with the Distinguished Screenwriter Award at the 2010 Austin Film Festival.[10]

Further reading[edit]

  • Dutka, Elaine (October 5, 1992). "Q&A With David Webb Peoples: A Reluctant Hollywood Hero". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 19 December 2016.


  1. ^ Courant Staff [ (March 23, 2000). "Obiturary: Joe Webb Peoples". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  2. ^ Weinraub, Bernard (October 6, 1992). "A Screenwriter Whose Life's Script Stars Privacy". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  3. ^ NYT Staff (April 4, 2000). "Obituary: Joe Webb Peoples, 92, Student of Dinosaurs". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  4. ^ NYT Staff (September 10, 1937). "Wedding announcement: Ruth Levinger Married; Maplewood Girl Wed at Club to Prof. Joe W. Peoples". The New York Times: 21. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d Snider, Eric D. (August 29, 2015). "12 Dusty Facts About 'Unforgiven'". Mental Floss. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  6. ^ Boucher, Geoff (February 1, 2010). "'Sgt. Rock' Reloads as Movie Project—But Not as a WWII Story". Hero Complex. Los Angeles, CA: Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  7. ^ Canby, Vincent (23 February 1990). "Review/Film; Clashing Gladiators in the Bloody Sport of a Future Dark Age". The New York Times.
  8. ^ "Soldier: Kurt Russell, a major injury, and an ornamental cabbage". Film Stories. 2020-03-24. Retrieved 2021-02-02.
  9. ^ Hollywood.com Staff (February 4, 2015). "David Peoples—Biography and Filmography". Hollywood.com. Retrieved December 25, 2016.
  10. ^ "2010 Winners". Austin Film Festival. 2010-11-01. Retrieved 2021-02-02.

External links[edit]