John Orloff

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John Orloff
Occupation Screenwriter
Nationality American
Alma mater University of California, Los Angeles
Notable works Band of Brothers,
A Mighty Heart, Legend of the Guardians

John Orloff is an American screenwriter known for creating and adapting complex stories in widely disparate genres.

Life and career[edit]

Orloff was born in Los Angeles, California, where he was raised in a "Hollywood" family. His father, also named John Orloff, was a TV commercial director. His grandmother was B-Movie actress Peggy Knudsen, and his great-grandparents were the real-life married couple of Fibber McGee and Molly, stars of TV and radio.

Orloff studied screenwriting at the University of California, Los Angeles Film School, and on graduation went to work in the advertising business.

After ten years working on TV commercials in various positions, he met a TV Movie development executive, now his wife, from the HBO television network. When she continually brought home what he felt were "awful" screenplays, he decided to write his own; a 16th-century English melodrama based on the Shakespeare authorship question, which ended up being sent to Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg.

They were not interested in producing his project, but Hanks asked Orloff, a keen "World War II buff", to write for the 2001 HBO miniseries Band of Brothers. Orloff wrote episode 2, "Day of Days" and episode 9, "Why We Fight". His work earned him a Christopher Award,[1] and an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special.[2] Band of Brothers has a 9.6 rating on IMDb—higher than any feature film in the database—and is the single highest grossing and best-selling TV DVD of all time, and one of the highest grossing DVD's of any kind.[3]

In 2003, Warner Bros. paid over US$500,000 for filming rights for Mariane Pearl's memoir A Mighty Heart, and Orloff was assigned to adapt the screenplay by producer Brad Pitt.[4] New York Times film reviewer Manohla Dargis declared the finished film "a surprising, insistently political work of commercial art". Orloff's script for the film earned him an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best First Screenplay.[5] In a 2011 interview with 60 Minutes' Bob Simon the film's star, Angelina Jolie mentioned that A Mighty Heart is her favorite film starring herself.[6]

Changing genres, Orloff next adapted the children's fantasy book series Legend of the Guardians, based on the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series of books written by Kathryn Lasky. The animated 3-D film was directed by Zack Snyder, and was released in 2010.[7]

After years of various attempts to get his script based on the controversial Shakespeare authorship question produced, cameras finally rolled under the direction of Roland Emmerich in the Spring of 2010. Entitled Anonymous, the film includes Vanessa Redgrave, Rhys Ifans, Sir Derek Jacobi, Mark Rylance and David Thewlis. Anonymous was released to much controversy in October 2011.

Orloff's script based on the first novel of The Nome Trilogy by Terry Pratchett, is in production at DreamWorks Animation under the direction of Anand Tucker.[8] It is scheduled to be released in 2015.

Orloff is currently writing the screenplay for the feature film version of Battlestar Galactica, to be directed by Bryan Singer.[9]



Year Title Credit Note(s)
2001 Band of Brothers Writer
2007 A Mighty Heart Writer
2010 Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole Writer
2011 Anonymous Writer, Exec. Producer


  1. ^ "The 2002 Christopher Award Winners". The Christophers. Retrieved 2008-03-21. 
  2. ^ "10 Questions: John Orloff". IGN. May 14, 2004. Retrieved 2008-03-21. 
  3. ^ "War, What is it Good For?". The Raygun. 
  4. ^ Christian Moerk (August 25, 2005). "Dueling visions of Daniel Pearl". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 2008-03-21. 
  5. ^ Patrick Walsh (23 January 2008). "The Write Stuff: Interview with "A Mighty Heart" Screenwriter John Orloff". Cinematical. Retrieved 2008-03-21. 
  6. ^ Simon, Bob. "Angelina Jolie: Behind the camera". 60 Minutes Transcript (CBS News). 
  7. ^ Fleming, Michael (13 April 2008). "Snyder to watch over 'Guardians'". Variety. 
  8. ^ Topel, Fred (October 24, 2011). "John Orloff on 'Anonymous'". Crave Online. Retrieved October 28, 2011. 
  9. ^ John Orloff talks his new exciting gig: writing Bryan Singer's 'Battlestar Galactica' reboot

External links[edit]