Lisa Joy

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Lisa Joy
Lisa Joy by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Joy at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con
Alma materStanford University
Harvard Law School
  • Film director
  • film producer
  • screenwriter
Years active2007–present
(m. 2009)
RelativesChristopher Nolan (brother-in-law)

Lisa Joy is an American screenwriter, director, producer, and attorney. She is best known as the co-creator, writer, director, and executive producer of the HBO science-fiction drama series Westworld (2016–present). For her work on the series, she received multiple Primetime Emmy Award nominations.[1] Joy's other work includes the ABC comedy series Pushing Daisies (2007–2009) and the USA Network crime drama series Burn Notice (2009–2011). In 2021, she made her feature film directorial debut with Reminiscence.

Early life[edit]

Lisa Joy was raised in New Jersey. Her parents are both immigrants, her father is English and her mother is Taiwanese.[2]

Joy graduated from Stanford University and worked as a consultant at McKinsey & Company in Los Angeles before attending Harvard Law School.[3] Joy was admitted to the bar in 2009 and practiced law in California prior to her career in entertainment.[4]


While studying for the bar, Joy submitted a sample script for the ABC fantasy comedy-drama series Pushing Daisies. A friend passed the script along to a television producer, helping her get the job as a staff writer in 2007. She went on to become the only female writer on the USA Network crime drama series Burn Notice. She later served as a co-producer on the series.

In 2016, Joy co-created the HBO science fiction series Westworld and serves as its co-showrunner. So far Westworld has three seasons and another one in the works as of March 2022.[5] The series focuses on "a futuristic theme park gone wrong where robots start rebelling against humans". The series went on to become one of the most popular series on television.[6] For her work on the series, Joy earned nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series, among others.

Joy, along with her husband Jonathan Nolan, signed a new deal with Amazon to write and produce a series for the company. The deal is worth $150 million over five years. As a part of the deal, Joy and Nolan were announced as executive producers on a science fiction series The Peripheral[7] and an adaptation of the post-apocalyptic video game series Fallout.[8]

Joy's feature film debut, Reminiscence, was released by Warner Bros. Pictures in US cinemas on August 20, 2021, to mixed reviews and was a commercial failure.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Joy married screenwriter Jonathan Nolan, the younger brother of director Christopher Nolan. The two first met at the premiere of the elder Nolan's film Memento.[10][11]

Joy and Nolan have two children, a daughter and a son.[2][12][13]



Year Title Credited as Notes
Director Writer Producer
2021 Reminiscence Yes Yes Yes Feature debut


Year Title Credited as Notes
Director Writer Producer
2007–2009 Pushing Daisies No Yes No 3 episodes
2009–2011 Burn Notice No Yes Yes 19 episodes
2016–present Westworld Yes Yes Executive Co-creator
28 episodes
TBA The Peripheral No No Executive Filming
TBA Fallout No No Executive Upcoming
TBA The Son No Yes Executive Upcoming

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Work Result Ref.
2008 Writers Guild of America Awards Best New Series Pushing Daisies Nominated
2016 Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards Best Television Presentation Westworld Nominated
2017 Writers Guild of America Awards Best New Series Nominated
Best Dramatic Series Nominated
Producers Guild of America Awards Best Episodic Drama Nominated
Gold Derby Awards Drama Episode of the Year Nominated
Dragon Awards Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series Nominated
Edgar Allan Poe Awards Best Episode in a TV Series Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Drama Series Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series Nominated
2018 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Drama Series Nominated


  1. ^ Miller, Matt (September 29, 2016). "Westworld Is Not the Next Game of Thrones—It's Much More Than That". Esquire. Hearst Magazines. Retrieved October 19, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Fortini, Amanda (April 17, 2018). "With 'Westworld', Lisa Joy Is Rewriting Women's Power Story Line in Hollywood and Beyond". Elle. Joy, who is 40, was raised in a hardworking immigrant family (her dad is from England; her mom is from Taiwan) in suburban New Jersey.
  3. ^ Heather Wood Rudulph, Get That Life: How I Became the Co-Creator of Westworld, Cosmopolitan,
  4. ^ California, The State Bar of. "State Bar of CA :: Lisa Joy". Retrieved October 20, 2016.
  5. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (April 22, 2020). "'Westworld' Renewed for Season 4 at HBO". The Hollywood Reporter. Valence Media.
  6. ^ Rudulph, Heather Wood (February 6, 2017). "Get That Life: How I Became the Co-Creator of "Westworld"". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  7. ^ Otterson, Joe (April 5, 2019). "Jonathan Nolan, Lisa Joy Exit Warner Bros. TV for Massive Overall Deal at Amazon". Variety. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  8. ^ "Kilter Films Teams with Amazon Studios to Develop Series Based on Fallout". July 2, 2020. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  9. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (February 19, 2021). "Lisa Joy Sci-Fi Thriller 'Reminiscence' Sets End Of Summer Release". Deadline. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  10. ^ Staff, The Playlist (August 19, 2014). "On The Rise 2014: 13 Screenwriters To Watch | IndieWire". Retrieved October 20, 2016.
  11. ^ Gire, Jamie Sotonoff and Dann (October 18, 2016). "A-minus at Loyola Academy fueled 'Westworld' creator". Daily Herald. Retrieved October 20, 2016.
  12. ^ King, Larry (April 15, 2014). "What Does A Showrunner Bring To A Deserted Island?". YouTube. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
  13. ^ "Is 'Westworld' HBO's Next Big Hit?". New York Times. September 29, 2016.
  14. ^ "Lisa Joy – Awards – IMDb". IMDb. Retrieved April 21, 2020.

External links[edit]