John Gatins

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John Gatins
Born (1968-04-16) April 16, 1968 (age 52)[1]
Alma materVassar College (1990)
Occupationscreenwriter, actor, director
Years active1993–present

John Gatins (born April 16, 1968[1]) is an American screenwriter, director, and actor. For writing the drama film Flight (2012), he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

Gatins made his directorial feature debut by filming his screenplay for Dreamer (2005), and also wrote or co-wrote Coach Carter (2005), Real Steel (2011), and Kong: Skull Island (2017). As an actor, he has collaborated three times with Eddie Murphy, on Norbit (2007), Meet Dave (2008) and A Thousand Words (2012).

Early life and education[edit]

Gatins was born in Manhattan, New York, where his father worked as a New York City police officer.[2] Later, his family relocated to the Poughkeepsie area, where Gatins went on to attend Arlington High School[3] and Vassar College.[2] He graduated in 1990 with a degree in drama.[2]


After graduation, Gatins moved to Los Angeles with the intention of pursuing acting.[2] His first role was in the low budget 1993 horror film Witchboard 2: The Devil's Doorway, followed by a role in the 1994 movie Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings.[2] As he won small roles in larger-budget productions, including 1999's Varsity Blues and 2002's Big Fat Liar,[2] Jeremy Kramer, a fellow Vassar grad and employee at Fox, paid him $1,000 to write a teen comedy by the name of Smells Like Teen Suicide.[4] Varsity Blues was directed by Brian Robbins and produced by Michael Tollin, the latter of whom would, in 2001, direct Gatins's first screenplay, a romantic comedy entitled Summer Catch, while Robbins produced it.[2] Tollin returned in 2002 to direct Gatins's second screenplay, a dramedy called Hardball.[2] While continuing to act, Gatins wrote Coach Carter which was released in 2005.[2] The same year, he presented his first directorial effort, Dreamer, which he also wrote.[2]

At the suggestion of Steven Spielberg, Gatins was brought in to work on Real Steel, a science fiction film based on a 1956 Richard Matheson short story.[5] Gatins considered the draft of the screenplay which he received when he began working on the project to be very dark, and he adapted it to focus more on the family aspects, such as the film's father-son relationship, about which he was accustomed to writing in his previous works.[5] Real Steel was released October 7, 2011.[5]

Since 1999, Gatins had been working on Flight, an original screenplay which, by 2009, was 149 pages.[4] Robert Zemeckis picked up the script; and the resulting film, starring Denzel Washington, was released to critical acclaim in 2012.[4] Gatins received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Writing (Original Screenplay) at the 85th Academy Awards for his screenplay.[6]

DreamWorks tapped Gatins to write a sequel to Real Steel before the film was released based on positive test screenings of the movie.[7] He and his brother, George Gatins, also adapted the Electronic Arts videogame series Need for Speed into an eponymous film.[8]

Gatins rewrote Kong: Skull Island (2017) for Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures.[9]


Year Film Credit Notes
2000 Ready to Rumble Co-producer
2001 Summer Catch Screenplay by
Co-wrote with Kevin Falls
Hardball Screenplay by
2005 Coach Carter Written by Co-wrote with Mark Schwahn
Dreamer Director
Written by
2006 Ciggies Special thanks Short film
2007 Eagle vs Shark Special thanks
2009 Harmony and Me Thanks
2011 Real Steel Screenplay by
Martha Marcy May Marlene Thanks
2012 Flight Written by
2014 Need for Speed Story by
Co-wrote with George Gatins
2016 Spectral Uncredited script contributions
2017 Kong: Skull Island Story by
Power Rangers Screenplay by
Executive producer
The House of Tomorrow Special thanks
As an actor
Year Title Role Notes
1993 Witchboard 2: The Devil's Doorway Russel
1994 Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings Young Caspar Dixon Direct-to-video
1995 Leprechaun 3 Scott McCoy Direct-to-video
1998 Gods and Monsters Kid Saylor Uncredited
Another Day in Paradise Phil
1999 Varsity Blues Smiling Man
2002 Impostor Patient-Soldier
Big Fat Liar Tow Truck Driver
2006 The Shaggy Dog Homeless Guy
2007 Norbit Attendant
2008 Meet Dave Air Traffic Controller
2009 Harmony and Me Homeless Tom
2010 Fred: The Movie Car Wash Clerk #1 TV movie
Terriers Beach Bum TV series, episode "Hail Mary"
2011 Real Steel Kingpin Screenwriter also
Fred 2: Night of the Living Fred Dishwasher
2012 A Thousand Words Valet
2017 Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Jeff Channington TV series, episode "Getting Over Jeff"[10]
2019 Lying and Stealing


  1. ^ a b "'Flight': Screenwriter John Gatins confronts his fears". Los Angeles Times. November 2, 2012. the 44-year-old Gatins
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "John Gatins Biography". Tribute Entertainment Media Group. January 7, 2013. Retrieved January 8, 2013.
  3. ^ "Poughquag's own John Gatins among Oscar nominees". Poughkeepsie Journal. January 11, 2013. Retrieved January 11, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c Appelo, Tim (December 20, 2012). "Oscar Hopeful John Gatins on 'Flight' (Q&A)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 8, 2013.
  5. ^ a b c Campbell, Josie (September 29, 2011). "Gatins, Montford And Murphy Bet On The Family Drama Of Real Steel". Spinoff Online. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
  6. ^ "FLIGHT". The Oscars. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved January 11, 2013.
  7. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (April 14, 2011). "DreamWorks Revs Up 'Real Steel' Sequel". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
  8. ^ Graser, Marc; Jeff Sneider; Justin Kroll (April 12, 2012). "EA feeling the 'Need for Speed' movie". Variety. Retrieved January 11, 2013.
  9. ^ Fleming Jr., Mike (October 30, 2014). "King Kong Tale 'Skull Island' Gets Rewrite From 'Flight' Scribe John Gatins". Deadline Hollywood.
  10. ^ Shoemaker, Allison (December 8, 2017). "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend gives us the gift of a sad, sweet mid-season finale". The A.V. Club. Retrieved December 10, 2017.

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