Jon Spaihts

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Jon Spaihts
Born (1970-02-04) February 4, 1970 (age 53)
New York City, U.S.
Occupation(s)Screenwriter, author
Years active1996–present
SpouseJohanna Watts

Jon Spaihts (/spts/)[1] (born February 4, 1970) is an American screenwriter and author.

Early life and education[edit]

Spaihts was born in New York City, the son of Jean, a computer programmer, and Jim Spaihts, an electronics engineer.[2] Spaihts is an alumnus of Princeton University.[3]


His science fiction romance Passengers was included on the 2007 Black List of unproduced high-value screenplays.[4] At the request of Keanu Reeves and Stephen Hamel, Relativity Media co-founder Lynwood Spinks[5] had hired Spaihts to write the film after Reeves originally became[6] attached to Spaihts' abandoned science fiction script Shadow 19.[7] After Reeves agreed to produce with Hamel and star in Passengers,[8] Spaihts was commissioned by Scott Free to write the next installments in the Alien saga, two prequel films to be directed by Ridley Scott, which eventually turned into the more autonomous story Prometheus, ultimately revised by Damon Lindelof.[9] For New Regency Spaihts also wrote the screenplay to the alien invasion thriller The Darkest Hour, based on a story by Leslie Bohem and M.T. Ahern.[10]

Spaihts has worked on a film version of St. George and the Dragon for Sony Pictures, and originated a Disney film project called Children of Mars. In 2012 he entered a two-picture deal at Jerry Bruckheimer Films to adapt Ashley Wood's graphic novel World War Robot[11] and write a space adventure film based on his own original pitch.[12]

He co-wrote the script for Marvel Studios' 2016 live action Doctor Strange film.[13] Spaihts also co-wrote the reboot of The Mummy franchise for Universal, directed by Alex Kurtzman.[14]

In 2013, Spaihts began work on the story for the Black Hole remake by Walt Disney Studios.[15] The rights to his early science fiction screenplay had originally been sold to the Weinstein Company, with Keanu Reeves and Reese Witherspoon set to star, and Game of Thrones director Brian Kirk at the helm.[16] The project was later made into the 2016 film Passengers by Sony Pictures, produced by Original Film and Company Films, directed by Morten Tyldum, and starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt.[17]

In 2018, it was revealed that Spaihts would be co-writing Legendary Pictures's feature film adaptation of the science fiction novel Dune, alongside Eric Roth and director Denis Villeneuve.[18] For his work on Dune, Spaihts was nominated alongside Roth and Villeneuve for the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.[19]

Personal life[edit]

He has written several books for The Princeton Review.[20] Spaihts lives and works in Venice, California,[3][unreliable source?] and is married to actress Johanna Watts.[21][unreliable source?] He is also a photographer.[22]


Year Title Writer Executive
Director Notes
2011 The Darkest Hour Yes No Chris Gorak
2012 Prometheus Yes No Ridley Scott
2016 Doctor Strange Yes No Scott Derrickson
Passengers Yes Yes Morten Tyldum Also voiced "Autodoc"
2017 The Mummy Story No Alex Kurtzman
2021 Dune Yes Yes Denis Villeneuve Nominated — Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
2023 Dune: Part Two Yes No Post-production


  1. ^ Geri Cole (November 12, 2021). "Episode 62: Jon Spaihts and Denis Villeneuve, "Dune"". OnWriting (Podcast). Writers Guild of America, East. Event occurs at 2:34. Retrieved February 19, 2022.
  2. ^ Olson, Pamry (May 1, 2012), "Prometheus Screenwriter: Humans Will Never Reach Another Star, And Other Sobering Views On The Future", Forbes, p. 2, archived from the original on May 2, 2012, retrieved May 2, 2012.
  3. ^ a b Cf. Spaihts' profile on Facebook.
  4. ^ Leonard F (ed.). 2007. 2007 Black List Archived July 21, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, s.v. "Passengers by Jon Spaihts". 5. Cf. Halbfinger DM. 2007. "Tomorrow’s Oscar Hopefuls Today". The New York Times (December 8, 2007).
  5. ^ personal knowledge
  6. ^ personal knowledge
  7. ^ Fleming M. 2009. "Alien prequel takes off". Variety (July 30, 2009).
  8. ^ Sciretta P. 2007. "The Hottest Unproduced Screenplays of 2007" Archived October 22, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Slashfilm (December 9, 2007).
  9. ^ Aspin, M. 2012. "Read The Original Alien-Style Prometheus Script". Archived October 6, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. What Culture (November 13, 2012).
  10. ^ Siegel T. 2010. "Hirsch signs on for The Darkest Hour". Variety (April 10, 2010).
  11. ^ Radish, Christina (April 9, 2012), "Screenwriter Jon Spaihts Talks Prometheus, World War Robot, Children of Mars, George and the Dragon, and More", Collider, archived from the original on April 12, 2012, retrieved April 10, 2012.
  12. ^ Chitwoold, Adam (February 11, 2012), "Jerry Bruckheimer to Produce Space Adventure Film", Collider, archived from the original on April 17, 2012, retrieved April 2, 2012.
  13. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (June 18, 2014). "Marvel Setting Jon Spaihts To Script 'Doctor Strange'". Deadline. Archived from the original on June 22, 2014. Retrieved June 18, 2014.
  14. ^ Goldberg, Matt (April 4, 2012), "Prometheus Co-Writer Jon Spaihts to Reboot The Mummy Franchise", Collider, archived from the original on May 2, 2012, retrieved April 10, 2012; Universal Studios press release in (May 1, 2012), "Universal Signs Kurtzman and Orci; Pair Takes On The Mummy and Van Helsing", Deadline, archived from the original on May 2, 2012, retrieved May 1, 2012.
  15. ^ Baxter, Joseph (April 5, 2013). "The Black Hole Remake Lands Prometheus Writer". TheFeed. Archived from the original on September 24, 2013. Retrieved April 9, 2013.
  16. ^ Brzeski, Patrick (May 21, 2013), "Cannes: Weinstein Co. Picks Up Reeves-Witherspoon Space Romance Passengers", The Hollywood Reporter, archived from the original on June 23, 2013, retrieved June 23, 2013.
  17. ^ Donnelly, Matt (June 16, 2015), "Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence Sci-Fi Romance "Passengers" Greenlit at Sony Pictures", TheWrap, archived from the original on June 17, 2015, retrieved June 17, 2015.
  18. ^ Kit, Borys (September 5, 2018). "Rebecca Ferguson in Talks to Star in Denis Villeneuve's 'Dune'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 18, 2022.
  19. ^ "The 94th Academy Awards (2022) Winners and Nominees". Retrieved August 18, 2022.
  20. ^ E.g. Spaihts J. 1997. Student advantage guide to the best graduate programs: humanities and social sciences. New York: Random House (The Princeton Review Series). ISBN 978-0-679-76911-8; cf. also WorldCat entries of Spaihts' publications below.
  21. ^ Cf. Watts' profile on Facebook; see also Johanna Watts at IMDb.
  22. ^ "Interview (Part 1): Jon Spaihts". December 20, 2016.

External links[edit]