Leslie Dixon

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Leslie Dixon
Born Leslie Dixon
New York
Residence Beverly Hills, California
Nationality American
Occupation Screenwriter, film producer
Spouse(s) Tom Ropelewski
Children Thomas Ropelewski

Leslie Dixon is an American screenwriter and producer. She began her career as an original screenwriter, writing films such as: Outrageous Fortune and Overboard. She then moved into adaptations and re-writes, developing the screenplays for: Mrs. Doubtfire, The Thomas Crown Affair, Pay It Forward, and Hairspray. She has also produced a variety of films and the television series Limitless.


Early life[edit]

Leslie Dixon is the granddaughter of photographer Dorothea Lange and landscaper painter Maynard Dixon.[1] Dixon grew up in the California Bay Area.[2][3] At the age of 18, she was living alone in San Francisco without enough money to afford college. Once she realized that she wanted to pursue writing, she moved to Hollywood at the age of 26 with hopes of making her way into the film industry. Having no contacts within the industry, she began by working office jobs for several years and eventually landed a job as a script reader.[3] During her time as a script reader she studied the scripts she was reading. She learned the structure of scripts, their layout on the page, the elements that were needed in order to make a script appealing and successful and was able to recognize the types of scripts that gained the most attention from producers. This gave her insight into "what was and wasn’t being bought".[4] She wrote continuously in her free time and after a year of living in Hollywood she attempted to write her first screenplay (written with an unknown co-writer).[5] Her partner got an agent attached to the piece and after receiving two offers it was then sold to Columbia Pictures for $30,000.[4] Although it never made it to production, this was the beginning of her career.[3]


Dixon began her screenwriting career in the romantic comedy genre. Her first solo screenplay was Outrageous Fortune (1987),[6] written for Shelley Long and Bette Midler.[1] The idea for the screenplay came at Robert Cort's request for a "female buddy film", he sought after Dixon to pursue the task.[1] From 1987 to 1997, Dixon successfully continued to write romantic comedies, including films such as: Overboard (1987), Loverboy (1989), Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) and That Old Feeling (1997). After the success of these films, Dixon decided to challenge herself and tackle different genres, such as dramas and thrillers.[6] She began this transition by adapting novels for the big screen. Her first adaptation was an Edith Wharton novel. Although the script did not make it into the production phase, its quality allowed Dixon to gain credit and recognition within the film industry.[3] The credibility she gained with her Edith Wharton screenplay, led her to write adaptations such as the thriller The Thomas Crown Affair (1999), a re-write from Alan Trustman's original screenplay in 1968 and then the drama Pay It Forward (2000) based on Catherine Ryan Hyde's novel Pay It Forward. Dixon continued to adapt novels into screenplays, searching for the right novels to bring to the big screen. After reading Alan Glynn's The Dark Fields, which became Limitless (2011), she not only saw the potential of this novel as a feature but also wanted to jump into another genre; action. She continues and prefers to adapt novels into feature films.[4]

Dixon was nominated for a Saturn Award for her Freaky Friday (2003) screenplay.

Personal life[edit]

She is married to fellow screenwriter, producer and director Tom Ropelewski.[2] They have a son together, Thomas Ropelewski born January 16, 1996.[7] They reside in Beverly Hills, California.[2]


Feature Films[edit]

Year Title Credit
1987 Outrageous Fortune Writer
1987 Overboard Writer
1989 Loverboy Co-Writer, Producer
1990 Madhouse Producer
1993 Look Who's Talking Now Executive Producer
1993 Mrs. Doubtfire Writer
1997 That Old Feeling Writer, Producer
1999 The Thomas Crown Affair Writer (re-write)
2000 Pay It Forward Writer
2000 The Next Best Thing Producer
2003 Freaky Friday Writer
2005 Just Like Heaven Writer
2007 Hairspray Writer (re-write)
2007 The Heartbreak Kid Writer
2011 Limitless Writer, Producer
2014 Gone Girl Executive Producer

TV Shows[edit]

Year Title Credit
2012-2013 The 85th Annual Academy Awards Writer
2015-2016 Limitless Co-executive Producer


  1. ^ a b c McCreadie, Marsha. Women Screenwriters Today: Their Lives and Words. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2006. 44-47. Print.
  2. ^ a b c Leslie Dixon and Tom Ropelewski List Beverly Hills House for $8.995 Million (Exclusive), The Hollywood Reporter, 6/12/2014
  3. ^ a b c d Nelmes, Jill, and Jule Selbo. Women Screenwriters: An International Guide. N.p.: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. 778-79. Print.
  4. ^ a b c "Screenwriter / Producer Interview: Leslie Dixon ("Limitless") Part 1". Make Your Story a Movie: Adapting Your Book or Story for Hollywood. Retrieved 2016-03-28. 
  5. ^ Smith, S. 2011. ‘Leslie Dixon’s First Script Sale’. Available at: http://screenwritingfromiowa. wordpress.com/2011/12/17/leslie-dixons-first-script-sale/
  6. ^ a b Nickell, K. 2008. ‘Interview: Pay It Forward’s Leslie Dixon’, Writer’s Digest. Available at: http:// www.writersdigest.com/writing-articles/by-writing-genre/script-riting/interview_pay_it_ forwards_leslie_dixon
  7. ^ Staff, Hollywood.com. "Leslie Dixon | Biography and Filmography". Hollywood.com. Retrieved 2016-03-28. 

External links[edit]