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John Fusco is an American screenwriter born in Waterbury, Connecticut. His screenplays include Crossroads, Young Guns, Young Guns II, Thunderheart, Hidalgo, and the Oscar-nominated Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.
Fusco is also a martial artist and a prose fiction writer.
John Fusco was raised in the small town of Prospect, Connecticut, leaving home and high school early to travel the American south as a blues musician and saw mill laborer. He would later attend and graduate from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts where his writing mentors were Waldo Salt and Ring Lardner, Jr. He won back-to-back honors in national screenwriting competitions his junior and senior year, winning the top prize of a Nissan Sentra and a contract with the William Morris Agency.
While best known for Western and Native American themed films, Fusco recently drew on his lifelong background in martial arts to write The Forbidden Kingdom, starring Jet Li and Jackie Chan. The movie opened #1 at the box office on April 18, 2008 and broke opening day box office records in China.
Fusco first studied Martial Arts at age 12 at the Association Of Korean Martial Arts (A.K.M.A) in Oakville, Connecticut under Romaine Staples and currently holds a black belt rank in Shaolin Kung Fu. He is rumored to be working on several related projects for The Weinstein Company.
Martial arts legend Jet Li is quoted, in February 2007, as saying:
[John Fusco] is a good friend of mine and we have been sparring partners for the past three years. He is a superb screenwriter and has been learning Chinese martial arts for many years.
Fusco has stated in DVD special features that he is interested in the spiritual aspects of warrior cultures and acknowledges a "red thread" that runs through his interests in both Native American and Eastern philosophy. In 2007 he crossed Central Mongolia on horseback with his son, and Mongol nomads to conduct research on what would eventually develop into Marco Polo.
- 1983 — FOCUS Award, First place: Blues Water
- 1984 — FOCUS Award, First Place: Crossroads
- 1988 — WRANGLER Award—Western Heritage Center: Young Guns
- 2000 — WRANGLER Award—Western Heritage Center: Spirit
- 2003 — THE HUMANITARIAN AWARD—First Americans in the Arts: Dreamkeeper mini-series
- 2004 — Spur Award—Western Writers of America: Hidalgo
According to Deadline Hollywood, February 17, 2011, he is currently adapting the acclaimed Peter Guralnick book Last Train to Memphis for Fox 2000. He is also creating the original TV series Marco Polo for Netflix.
In the first entry on his new blog it mentions several other upcoming projects:
Along with the TV series [Marco Polo], I have several movies going into production: "Last Train to Memphis" directed by Kevin MacDonald and produced by Mick Jagger. "The Highwaymen" directed by John Lee Hancock and starring Liam Neeson and Woody Harrelson. "The Alchemist" produced by Harvey Weinstein, and the sequel to "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" helmed by legendary action director Master Yuen Woo-Ping. That one begins shooting in China and New Zealand in May.— John Fusco, 2014: From Venice to Xanadu, Screenwriter's Personal Blog, Jan 7th
- Paradise Salvage (Overlook Press, 2002), mystery novel and bildungsroman, LCCN 2001-51356
- Little Monk and the Mantis: a bug, a boy, and the birth of a kung fu legend, illus. Patrick Lugo (Tuttle Publ., 2012), picture book – "based on the seventeenth-century legend of Wong Long and the founding of praying mantis kung fu", LCCN 2011-43962
- Dog Beach: a novel (Simon & Schuster, 2014) – featuring a "struggling screenwriter" and a "stuntman turned mafia enforcer", LCCN 2013-49875
- "For Marco Polo creator John Fusco, Netflix offered a chance to trash the rules". digitaltrends.com. December 14, 2014. Retrieved December 17, 2014.
- "It’s Official: Netflix Orders Series ‘Marco Polo’ From Weinstein Co.". deadline.com. January 14, 2014. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
- John Fusco at the Internet Movie Database
- Up Close With Jet Li retrieved February 26, 2007[dead link]
- Review of Paradise Salvage by Professor Alfred Rosa
- John Fusco Takes His Shot At Early Elvis at deadline.com
- John Fusco at Library of Congress Authorities, with 6 catalog records