Paul Weitz (filmmaker)

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Paul Weitz
Paul Weitz at 2015 Sundance Film Festival
Born Paul John Weitz
(1965-11-19) November 19, 1965 (age 52)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Education Allen-Stevenson School
Alma mater Wesleyan University
Occupation Film director
Years active 1998–present
Known for American Pie
Notable work About a Boy
Patricia Brown (m. 2001)
Children 3
Parent(s) Susan Kohner
John Weitz
Relatives Chris Weitz (brother)
Lupita Tovar (grandmother)
Paul Kohner (grandfather)

Paul John Weitz (born November 19, 1965) is an American film director, film producer, screenwriter, playwright, and actor. He is the older brother of filmmaker Chris Weitz. Together they worked on the comedy films American Pie and About a Boy, for which they were Oscar nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay as co-writers.[1] Weitz is a writer, executive producer, and director of the television series Mozart in the Jungle.

Early life[edit]

Weitz was born in New York City, the son of actress Susan Kohner and Berlin-born novelist/menswear designer John Weitz.[2] His brother is filmmaker Chris Weitz. Weitz is the grandson of Czech-born agent and producer Paul Kohner who managed the careers of Billy Wilder, William Wyler, and Ingmar Bergman, and actress Lupita Tovar on his maternal side.[3][4] Tovar, who was from Oaxaca, Mexico,[5] starred in Santa, Mexico's first talkie, in 1932, as well as a Mexican version of Drácula.[6] Weitz' paternal grandparents escaped Nazi Germany, where his grandfather had been a successful textile manufacturer, and family intimates of Christopher Isherwood and Marlene Dietrich.[4]

Weitz's father and maternal grandfather were Jewish,[7][8][9][10] and his maternal grandmother was Catholic. He was raised in a nonreligious household.[11][12]

Weitz attended the Allen-Stevenson School and Collegiate. In 1988, he graduated from Wesleyan University.[13] While at Wesleyan, Weitz studied under film instructor Jeanine Basinger.[14]


Early career[edit]

Weitz' early career involved many collaborations with his brother.[15][16][17] Some of the work they have done as screenwriters has been both credited and uncredited.[18]

Weitz began his film career as a co-writer on the 1998 animated film Antz. He followed this with work on various sitcoms such as Off Centre and the 1998 revival of the 1977 series Fantasy Island. In 1999, he and Chris directed and produced American Pie, which was written by Adam Herz, and became a major box office success. Weitz returned as executive producer on the film's two theatrical sequels.

In 2002, the Weitz brothers co-wrote and co-directed About a Boy, the Hugh Grant film based on the book by Nick Hornby.[19][20] The film was originally set up at New Line Cinema with Robert De Niro producing, and the main character as an American. The brothers felt that it was important that the character is British. Inspiration came from the film The Apartment (1960). They were nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.[6]

Weitz has written and directed the well-received romantic comedy In Good Company and the political satire American Dreamz, which faced mixed reviews. Additional writing credits include the television show Cracking Up.

He has also directed an adaptation of Darren Shan's young adult novel Cirque du Freak called The Vampire's Assistant. He directed the film Little Fockers (2010), the sequel to Meet the Parents and Meet the Fockers.

Subsequently he wrote and directed Being Flynn, an adaptation of Nick Flynn's memoir Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, starring Robert De Niro.[16] Weitz said he worked collaboratively with Flynn to translate the dense original source material into its film adaptation.[17]

Weitz also directed the movie Admission, starring Tina Fey.


In 2015, Weitz directed the film, Grandma, which starred Lily Tomlin.[21][22][23] The film premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival on January 30, as the closing night film.[24] The film was Tomlin's first leading role in 27 years, after co-starring with Bette Midler in the comedy film Big Business (1988). It is the second collaboration between Tomlin and Weitz, who previously directed her in his film Admission (2013).[23] The film was released on August 21, 2015, by Sony Pictures Classics.[25]

Weitz had the story idea for many years, but it never fully formed until he met and worked with Tomlin on Admission,[21] saying that "After meeting Lily, the voice and the character really clicked, I had thought about it for years, so I had a lot of it worked out in my head, and then I just went to a coffee shop and wrote it longhand."[23]

Weitz said the film cost under $600,000 to make.[26] It was well received.[27][28][29]

In development[edit]

Weitz has a production company with his brother Chris Weitz and producer Andrew Miano called Depth of Field. In March 2016, Weitz and his brother signed a two-year first look deal with Amazon Studios.[30]

  • A live-action adaptation Michael Moorcock's Elric saga, which his brother Chris said he enjoyed as a child. Weitz's Depth of Field production company was meant to create the films as a potential trilogy for Universal Pictures. In a May 2007 interview with Empire magazine Weitz's brother announced that he had met with Moorcock, who trusted him with the films, and described his wish for Paul to direct the film.[31]
  • Shield of Straw – producing an English remake of the 2013 Japanese action thriller, Shield of Straw[32][33]
  • Ghost Train – producing a remake of the 2006 Japanese horror film, Soul Reviver[32]
  • Birthright – producing a remake of the 2010 Japanese thriller[32][34]
  • Sinatoro – producing TV series with Grant Morrison for Universal Television[35]


While in college at Wesleyan, Weitz wrote the play Mango Tea, which was performed Off-Broadway.

Weitz has written a number of plays, including Roulette, Privilege, Show People and Trust, all of which have been produced Off-Broadway in New York City.[36] Trust starred Zach Braff, Bobby Cannavale, Sutton Foster, and Ari Graynor, and was directed by Peter DuBois at Second Stage Theatre. It will be produced in Brazil, Germany and Greece in 2013. Second Stage previously produced Privilege and Show People and produced Lonely, I'm Not, starring Topher Grace and Olivia Thirlby a new comedy by Weitz in 2012. Lonely, I'm Not was a New York Times critics pick.

As a writer, Weitz has discussed semi-jokingly the fact that he avoids the discomfort in his life by turning to the act of writing.[16] He sees a good play structure as being very different from a good film structure, and thinks that it is rare for plays as source material to be easily adapted into film.[17]

Personal life[edit]

In 2001, Weitz married novelist Patricia Brown, with whom he has three children.




  • 1998–1999: Fantasy Island – co-executive producer, 13 episodes; story, 2 episodes; teleplay, 1 episode
  • 2000–2001: Off Centre – executive producer, 28 episodes; creator, 19 episodes
  • 2004–2006: Cracking Up – executive producer, 12 episodes; director, 1 episode (pilot); consultant, 2 episodes
  • 2010: Lone Star – executive producer, 2 episodes
  • 2014: Mozart in the Jungle – executive producer, 10 episodes; story, 1 episode; teleplay, 1 episode; written by, 1 episode; director, 3 episodes (including pilot)
  • 2014–2015: About a Boy – based on the screenplay by, 27 episodes


  • 2002: Dylan's Run – executive producer

As actor[edit]

See also[edit]

Works and publications[edit]


  1. ^ Holson, Laura M. (6 August 2015). "The Weitz Brothers Help Each Other Through Hollywood Hits and Misses". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  2. ^ Kelley, Tina (4 October 2002). "John Weitz, 79, Fashion Designer Turned Historian, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  3. ^ Horn, John (21 June 2011). "Chris Weitz's 'Better Life' shines light on illegal immigrant issues". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 June 2011.
  4. ^ a b Horyn, Cathy (20 February 2000). "Legacy; Growing up Weitz". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  5. ^ Cieply, Michael (1 June 2010). "Another Los Angeles in 'Gardener'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 June 2010.
  6. ^ a b Gross, Terry (5 June 2002). "Directors Chris and Paul Weitz". Fresh Air. NPR. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  7. ^ Pauley, Gay (January 4, 1983). "Many facets of John Weitz". United Press International. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
  8. ^ Chin, Paula (October 26, 1992). "John Weitz". People Magazine. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  9. ^ Pfefferman, Naomi (June 1, 2011). "An Immigrant Struggles for a 'Better Life' for His Son". Jewish Journal. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  10. ^ Pfefferman, Naomi (March 5, 2012). "Paul Weitz on dads, De Niro and "Being Flynn"". Jewish Journal. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
  11. ^ Pfefferman, Naomi (13 March 2003). "About Two Boys: Late fashion designer John Weitz inspires his Academy Award-nominated sons, Paul and Chris". Jewish Journal. Retrieved 23 August 2015.
  12. ^ Bloom, Nate (1 September 2009). "Interfaith Celebrities: Inglourious Basterds' Surprises and Connections". Interfaith Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  13. ^ "Notable Alumni - Paul Weitz '88". Wesleyan University. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  14. ^ Weir, William (30 December 2002). "`Wesleyan Mafia' Racks Up Credits". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  15. ^ Weitz, Chris; Weitz, Paul (12 July 2011). "The WGAW Latino Writers Committee present Chris & Paul Weitz: Chris & Paul Weitz on their career choices and how they got started - 1 of 3". WGA West. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  16. ^ a b c Weitz, Chris; Weitz, Paul (12 July 2011). "The WGAW Latino Writers Committee present Chris & Paul Weitz: Chris & Paul Weitz on Twilight, A Better Life and Suck City - 2 of 3". WGA West. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  17. ^ a b c Weitz, Chris; Weitz, Paul (12 July 2011). "The WGAW Latino Writers Committee present Chris & Paul Weitz: Chris & Paul Weitz offer advice for surviving the film industry - 3 of 3". WGA West. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  18. ^ Tobias, Scott (15 May 2002). "The Weitz Brothers". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  19. ^ Malanowski, Jamie (19 May 2002). "Film; Filmmaking as a Family Affair". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  20. ^ Leibowitz, Ed (May 2002). "Book Fellows: In the Stacks with Filmmakers Chris and Paul Weitz". Los Angeles. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  21. ^ a b Murphy, Mekado (19 August 2015). "'Grandma' (With Movie Trailer): Paul Weitz Narrates a Scene". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 August 2015.
  22. ^ Scott, A. O. (19 August 2015). "Review: In 'Grandma,' Lily Tomlin Energizes an Intergenerational Road Trip". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 August 2015.
  23. ^ a b c Olsen, Mark (January 28, 2015). "Sundance 2015: Lily Tomlin has an easy ride steering 'Grandma'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
  24. ^ Patten, Dominic (January 22, 2015). "Paul Weitz's 'Grandma' With Lily Tomlin – Hot Sundance Clip". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
  25. ^ Fleming Jr., Mike (January 27, 2015). "Sony Pictures Classics Acquires 'Grandma' At Sundance – Update". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on January 29, 2015. Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  26. ^ Rose, Charlie (16 August 2015). "Grandma: A look at the film "Grandma" with director Paul Weitz and actor Lily Tomlin". Charlie Rose. Archived from the original on 22 August 2015. Retrieved 23 August 2015.
  27. ^ Rooney, David (January 26, 2015). "'Grandma': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
  28. ^ Moylan, Brian (January 27, 2015). "Sundance 2015 review: Grandma - Lily Tomlin cranks it up to the max as a ranting poet on the road". The Guardian. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
  29. ^ Foundas, Scott (January 27, 2015). "Sundance Film Review: 'Grandma'". Variety. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
  30. ^ Nakamura, Reid (29 March 2016). "Paul and Chris Weitz Sign First-Look Deal With Amazon Studios TV". TheWrap. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  31. ^ "Exclusive: Weitz Brothers Making Elric - Paul to direct fantasy adaptation?". Empire. 29 May 2007. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  32. ^ a b c McNary, Dave (25 August 2015). "'Shield of Straw' English-Language Remake in the Works With Chris Weitz". Variety. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  33. ^ Hipes, Patrick (25 August 2015). "Takashi Miike's Cannes Pic 'Shield Of Straw' Getting English-Language Redo". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  34. ^ Schilling, Mark (12 December 2014). "Chris and Paul Weitz to Remake Japan's 'Birthright' with ANEW". Variety. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  35. ^ Kit, Borys (22 July 2016). "Comic-Con: Chris and Paul Weitz Team With Grant Morrison for 'Sinatoro' TV Series (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  36. ^ "Paul Weitz - Playwrigtht". Lortel Archives. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  37. ^ "Roulette - Ensemble Studio Theatre". Lortel Archives. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  38. ^ Ryzik, Melena Z. (29 February 2004). "Theater; An American Pie With Different Fruit". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  39. ^ "Past Shows - Season 27, 2005-2006. Show People By Paul Weitz". Second Stage Theatre. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  40. ^ "Privilege - Second Stage Theatre". Lortel Archives. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  41. ^ "Past Shows - Season 26, 2004-2005. Privilege By Paul Weitz". Second Stage Theatre. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  42. ^ "Show People - Second Stage Theatre". Lortel Archives. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  43. ^ "Past Shows - Season 31, 2009-2010. Trust By Paul Weitz". Second Stage Theatre. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  44. ^ "Trust - Second Stage Theatre". Lortel Archives. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  45. ^ "Past Shows - Season 33, 2011-2012. Lonely, I'm Not By Paul Weitz". Second Stage Theatre. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  46. ^ "Lonely I'm Not - Second Stage Theatre". Lortel Archives. Retrieved 28 August 2015.

External links[edit]