Nicholas Meyer

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For the former president of Paramount Vantage, see Nick Meyer.
Nicholas Meyer
Nicholas Meyer (2008-11-17).jpg
Meyer at the Air Force Film Festival in Los Angeles at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (November 14, 2008 (2008-11-14))
Born (1945-12-24) December 24, 1945 (age 68)
New York City, U.S.
Occupation Screenwriter, film producer, film director, and novelist
Website
http://nmeyer.pxl.net/

Nicholas Meyer (born December 24, 1945 in New York City) is an American screenwriter, producer, author and director, most known for his best-selling novel The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, and for directing the films Time After Time, two of the Star Trek feature film series, and the 1983 television movie The Day After.

For adapting a screenplay from his own novel for The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1976), Meyer was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. He has also been nominated for a Satellite Award, three Emmy Awards, and has won four Saturn Awards.

Early life, education and career[edit]

Meyer was born in to a Jewish family. His father was a Manhattan psychoanalyst and his mother a concert pianist.[1] Meyer graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in theater and filmmaking. Meyer first gained public attention for his best-selling 1974 Sherlock Holmes novel The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, a story of Holmes confronting his cocaine addiction with the help of Sigmund Freud. Meyer followed this with two additional Holmes novels: The West End Horror (1976), and then The Canary Trainer (1993).

The Seven-Per-Cent Solution was later adapted as a 1976 film of the same name, for which Meyer wrote the screenplay. The film was directed by Herbert Ross and starred Nicol Williamson, Robert Duvall, Alan Arkin and Laurence Olivier. For his work adapting the novel, Meyer was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay at the 49th Academy Awards.

Intrigued by the first part of college friend Karl Alexander's then-incomplete novel Time After Time, Meyer optioned the book and adapted it into a screenplay. He consented to sell the script only if he were attached as director. The deal was optioned by Warner Bros., and the film became Meyer's directorial debut. Meyer freely allowed Alexander to borrow from the screenplay. The latter published his novel at about the same time the movie was released.

Time After Time (1979) starred Malcolm McDowell, Mary Steenburgen and David Warner. It was a success with both critical reception and in box office returns.[2]

At the behest of then Paramount executive Karen Moore, Meyer was hired to direct Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.[3]

Meyer later directed the 1983 television film The Day After, starring Jason Robards, JoBeth Williams, John Cullum, Bibi Besch, John Lithgow and Steve Guttenberg, which depicted the ramifications of a nuclear attack on the United States. Meyer had originally decided not to do any television work, but changed his mind upon reading the script by Edward Hume. For his work on The Day After, Meyer was nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Director. Afterward, he also directed "The Pied Piper of Hamelin", a 1985 episode of the television series Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre.

He resumed directing theatrical films with the 1985 comedy Volunteers, starring Tom Hanks and John Candy. After directing Volunteers, Meyer returned to working on Star Trek, co-writing the screenplay for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) with producer Harve Bennett. Meyer's next directing job was the 1988 Merchant Ivory produced drama The Deceivers, with Pierce Brosnan as British officer William Savage. Meyer later wrote and directed the 1991 spy comedy Company Business, starring Gene Hackman and Mikhail Baryshnikov as aging American and Russian secret agents. In 1991, Meyer once again returned to the world of Star Trek, co-writing and directing Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, which became a swan song for the original cast.[4] Meyer performed uncredited rewrites on an early draft of the screenplay of the 1997 James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies.[5]

Meyer adapted the Philip Roth novel The Human Stain for the 2003 film of the same name. In 2006, he teamed with Martin Scorsese to write the screenplay for Scorsese's adaptation of Edmund Morris's Pulitzer Prize winning biography of Theodore Roosevelt, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt. The story traces Roosevelt's early life.

Star Trek films[edit]

Meyer, along with writer/producer Harve Bennett, is one of two people credited with revitalizing and perhaps saving the Star Trek franchise after the problems of the first film, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, almost caused Paramount Pictures to end the series. Paramount had been unhappy with the creative direction of the first film, as well as the cost overruns and production problems. However, the film was also a great financial success, and they wanted a sequel. Bennett, a reliable television producer, was hired to help.

Introduced to Bennett by Paramount executive Karen Moore, Meyer was hired as a potential director for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan despite never having seen the first film.[6]:96 Due to problems with the early drafts of the script, which most readers disliked, Meyer quickly became involved in re-writing the film's screenplay. After meeting with Bennett and other members of the cast and crew regarding the script, Meyer impressed Star Trek's actors and producers by delivering a superior draft of the script in only twelve days. The draft had to be completed so quickly, in fact, that Meyer agreed to forgo the negotiation of a contract or credit for his writing in order to begin work on the script immediately. This is why he is uncredited as a writer on the final film.

In his direction, Meyer made stylistic alterations, such as adding more of a naval appearance. Meyer and Bennett together created a film that was engaging while also reducing costs and avoiding the production fiascoes of the first Star Trek. The Wrath of Khan became a financial success, grossing $78 million in the domestic market, and is considered by many to be the best Star Trek film to date.[7]

Although he "refuse[d] to specialize" and so vowed to not work on another Star Trek project,[8] Meyer co-wrote the screenplay for the fourth Star Trek film, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home with Bennett. For that film, Bennett wrote the first and fourth acts, which occur in the 23rd century, and Meyer wrote the second and third acts, which occur in 1986 San Francisco. Meyer has said that one of the most enjoyable aspects of working on this film was getting the chance to re-use elements which he had been forced to discard from his earlier film, Time After Time. Star Trek IV proved to be successful financially,[9] notable for succeeding with general moviegoers as well as science fiction and Star Trek devotees.

Meyer worked for the Star Trek franchise again for the sixth film in the series, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991). He developed the story with Leonard Nimoy and co-wrote the screenplay with long-time friend and assistant Denny Flinn. He directed the picture, which was the final film to feature the entire classic Star Trek cast. Like its predecessors, this film was successful financially, grossing $74 million in the domestic market.[10]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Job Notes
1973 Invasion of the Bee Girls Writer
1974 Judge Dee and the Monastery Murders Writer (screenplay) TV film
1975 The Night That Panicked America Writer (screenplay) TV film
Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special
1976 The Seven-Per-Cent Solution Writer (novel/screenplay) Nominated — Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated — WGA Award for Best Drama Adapted from Another Medium
1979 Time After Time Director/Writer (screenplay) Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival Antenne II Award
Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival Grand Prize
Saturn Award for Best Writing
Nominated — Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Motion Picture Screenplay
Nominated — Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation
Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Direction
Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film
1982 Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Director/Writer (screenplay – uncredited) Saturn Award for Best Direction
Nominated — Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation
Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film
1983 The Day After Director TV film
Golden Screen Award
Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing in a Limited Series or a Special
Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama/Comedy Special
1985 Faerie Tale Theatre Director/Writer (screenplay) TV series, episode "The Pied Piper of Hamelin"
Volunteers Director
1986 Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home Writer (screenplay) Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Writing
1988 The Deceivers Director
1991 Company Business Director/Writer
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country Director/Writer (screenplay) Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film
Nominated — Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation
Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Writing
1993 Sommersby Writer Spur Award for Best Motion Picture Script
1995 Voices Writer
1997 The Informant Writer (screenplay)/Executive Producer TV film
Won — PEN Center USA West Literary Awards for Best Teleplay
The Odyssey Executive Producer TV miniseries
Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Miniseries
Tomorrow Never Dies Writer (screenplay — uncredited)[5]
1999 Vendetta Director TV film
1999 The Prince of Egypt Writer (screenplay alongside Phillip LaZebnik, based on the Book of Exodus)
2002 Fall from the Sky Writer TV film
Collateral Damage Executive Producer
2003 The Human Stain Writer (screenplay)
2006 Orpheus Writer/Executive Producer TV film
2008 Elegy Writer (screenplay) Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
2009 The Hessen Conspiracy Writer
2014 Houdini Writer TV miniseries (post production)

Bibliography[edit]

Year Title Notes
1970 The Love Story Story Non-fiction
1974 Target Practice
The Seven-Per-Cent Solution Publishers Weekly's bestselling novels of 1974
The New York Times Best Seller list.[11][12]
1976 The West End Horror The New York Times Best Seller list.[13]
1978 Black Orchid Co-Wrote with Barry J. Kaplan
1981 Confessions of a Homing Pigeon
1993 The Canary Trainer
2009 The View From the Bridge: Memories of Star Trek and a Life in Hollywood Non-fiction

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award Year Project Category Outcome
Academy Awards 1976 The Seven-Per-Cent Solution Best Adapted Screenplay Nominated
Emmy Awards 1975 The Night That Panicked America Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special Nominated
1983 The Day After Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing in a Limited Series or a Special Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama/Comedy Special Nominated
1997 The Odyssey Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Miniseries Nominated
Satellite Awards 2008 Elegy Best Adapted Screenplay Nominated
Saturn Awards 1979 Time After Time Best Science Fiction Film Nominated
Best Director Nominated
Best Writing Won
1982 Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Best Director Won
Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film Nominated
1984 The George Pal Memorial Award Won
1986 Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home Best Writing Nominated
1991 Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country Best Science Fiction Film Won
Best Writing Nominated
Spur Awards 1993 Sommersby Best Drama Script Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ Celebrity Jews- Einstein the jokester. October 2012 http://www.jweekly.com/article/full/66741/celebrity-jews121/ |url= missing title (help). Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  2. ^ "Time After Time". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 2011-09-02. 
  3. ^ Meyer, Nicholas (2009). The View From the Bridge: Memories of Star Trek and a Life in Hollywood. NY: Viking. pp. 72–73. ISBN 978-0-670-02130-7. 
  4. ^ ISBNdb.com. "Bibliography of Meyer, Nicholas, alphabetically ordered". Retrieved 5 February 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Rex Weiner and Adam Dawtrey. "Latest Bond Production Shaken, Stirred". Retrieved 1 October 2012.  Online copy of news article originally published in Variety (8–15 December 1996).
  6. ^ Dillard, J.M. (1994). Star Trek: "Where No Man Has Gone Before" — A History in Pictures. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-51149-1. 
  7. ^ "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2011-09-02. 
  8. ^ Anderson, Nancy (1982-07-04). "Trekkies wrath worse than Khan's". Newburgh Evening News. Copley News Service. pp. 14E. Retrieved May 3, 2011. 
  9. ^ Star Trek Movies
  10. ^ The Internet Movie Database
  11. ^ Adult New York Times Best Seller Lists for 1974. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
  12. ^ Adult New York Times Best Seller Lists for 1975. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
  13. ^ Adult New York Times Best Seller Lists for 1976. Retrieved 23 December 2012.

External links[edit]