Gary Goldman (screenwriter)

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Gary Goldman is an American screenwriter. His film credits include Big Trouble in Little China (1986), Total Recall (1990) and Navy SEALs (1990).


Gary Goldman's first big screen writing credit was for John Carpenter's fantasy martial arts film, Big Trouble in Little China, which he co-wrote with David Weinstein. Originally set in the old west, the script was later adapted by Carpenter's former classmate at USC film school, W. D. Richter, to take place in modern times.[1]

Goldman's next major writing job came in 1989 for the science fiction action film Total Recall, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Originally written by Ronald Shusett and Dan O'Bannon, director Paul Verhoeven had problems with the third act and hired Goldman to help fix the screenplay. According to the director, the problem was that the last forty minutes of the film was one long action sequence and had abandoned the "mental theme." Working with Shusett, Goldman was able to reintroduce this mental theme by adding a plot twist where the audience discovers that Schwarzenegger's character, who is assumed to be a good guy, had his memory wiped and is actually a bad guy.[2]

Shortly after the success of Total Recall, Goldman and Shusett co-wrote a screen adaptation of Philip K. Dick's story, The Minority Report, to serve as a possible sequel to the film.[3] Although their screenplay was not used, the 2002 film, Minority Report, has a sequence set in a car factory, which was adapted from their early script. In the end, Goldman didn't receive a writing credit, but was listed as an executive producer of the film.[4]

By 2003, Goldman's career had slowed down, and manager Lenny Beckerman suggested that he adapt another Philip K. Dick story. Goldman had a good relationship with the Dick estate and was able to acquire the rights to his 1954 short story, The Golden Man.[5] The completed script was sold to Nicolas Cage's production company, Saturn Films, and eventually became the 2007 film, Next, directed by Lee Tamahori and starring Cage, along with Julianne Moore and Jessica Biel.[6] Unfortunately, the film was not a great success, with a domestic gross of only $18 million.[5]


On, March 21, 2017, Goldman filed a lawsuit against Disney, claiming that he pitched the idea for a movie called Zootopia twice in 2000 and 2009, being rejected both times. Goldman alleges that Disney went on and used plot elements, character designs, and the setting from his pitch to create Zootopia. A spokesperson for Disney responded to the lawsuit, saying that it is "ridden with patently false allegations."[7]


  1. ^ Muir, John Kenneth. The Films of John Carpenter. McFarland. ISBN 9780786422692. 
  2. ^ Duchovnay, Gerald. Film Voices: Interviews from Post Script. SUNY Press. p. 186. ISBN 9780791484753. Retrieved 10 May 2017. 
  3. ^ Ong, Germaine (10 May 2017). "MovieAxis". GameAxis Unwired. SPH Magazines (45): 77. Retrieved 10 May 2017. 
  4. ^ Loder, Kurt. The Good, the Bad and the Godawful: 21st-Century Movie Reviews. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 9781429938655. Retrieved 10 May 2017. 
  5. ^ a b Chad, Gervich. How to Manage Your Agent: A Writer’s Guide to Hollywood Representation. CRC Press. p. 178. ISBN 9781136070945. 
  6. ^ Barsanti, Chris. The Sci-Fi Movie Guide: The Universe of Film from Alien to Zardoz. Visible Ink Press. p. 264. ISBN 9781578595334. Retrieved 10 May 2017. 
  7. ^ Patten, Dominic (March 21, 2017). "Disney Slams "False" ‘Zootopia’ Big $$$ Copyright Suit From ‘Total Recall’ Scribe". Retrieved March 21, 2017. 

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