Early life and education
Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, Kolstad attended Edgewood High School of the Sacred Heart and later studied business administration at Taylor University in Indiana. He moved to California at age 24 to pursue screenwriting. He says he started writing films when he was a teenager, but he struggled for success in Hollywood at first.
The first script he sold was called Acolyte, which was purchased by Voltage Pictures in June 2012. After that, he got some writing and re-writing work, including work on One in the Chamber, starring Dolph Lundgren and Cuba Gooding Jr. He then wrote another Dolph Lundgren film titled The Package.
By the end of 2012, Kolstad sold his other script, titled Scorn, to Thunder Road Pictures, and in April 2013, Keanu Reeves agreed to star in the film. It was Reeves who suggested the name of the film change to John Wick, after the title character, who was named after Kolstad's maternal grandfather. The film went on to become a major box office and critical success. It has been followed by two sequels, John Wick: Chapter 2 in 2017 and John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum in 2019. In addition to the films, Kolstad also wrote the video game John Wick: Chronicles and is participating in the John Wick comic book series.
Kolstad lives in Pasadena, California with his wife Sonja and twin toddlers.
- One in the Chamber (2012)
- The Package (2013)
- John Wick (2014)
- John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)
- John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019)
- Just Cause (TBA)
- Doug Moe, Doug Moe: John Wick, hit man, Madison.com, 6 January 2014.
- Jack Giroux, Interview: ‘John Wick: Chapter 2’ Screenwriter Derek Kolstad on Expanding the World and Paying Homage to ‘Open Range’, Slashfilm.com, 10 February 2017.
- Gary Collinson, An interview with Derek Kolstad, screenwriter of John Wick, Flickering Myth, 24 October 2014.
- Boris Kyt, 'John Wick 3' Brings Back Writer Derek Kolstad (Exclusive), The Hollywood Reporter, 1 June 2017.
- Dave McNary, ‘John Wick’ Writer Derek Kolstad Sets up ‘The Steward’ With Cristal Pictures, Variety, 19 June 2017.
- James White, Hitman Targets A TV Relaunch With John Wick's Derek Kolstad, Empire, 13 November 2017.
- Borys Kit, 'John Wick 3' Brings Back Writer Derek Kolstad, Hollywood Reporter, 1 June 2017.
- "'John Wick' Writer Derek Kolstad Tackling 'Just Cause' Video Game Adaptation". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2019-05-21.