Scott Z. Burns

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Scott Z. Burns
Born1962 (age 58–59)
Alma materUniversity of Minnesota
OccupationScreenwriter, director, producer
Known forScreenwriting
Notable work
The Bourne Ultimatum
The Informant!
Side Effects
The Laundromat

Scott Z. Burns (born 1962) is an American screenwriter, producer, and director.[1]


After graduating from the University of Minnesota, Burns began his career in advertising and later became a television commercials director. He was part of the team at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners responsible for the original Got Milk? campaign.[2][3]

Burns has written screenplays for The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), The Informant! (2009), and Contagion (2011), all of which feature Matt Damon. His films The Informant!, Contagion, and Side Effects (2013) were directed by Steven Soderbergh.[4] Burns also produced the Academy Award-winning An Inconvenient Truth. Burns wrote and directed the 2019 film The Report, a drama about the secret torture program inside the CIA.[5]

Public interest in Burns' 2011 film Contagion renewed during the COVID-19 pandemic, making it the seventh-most downloaded film on iTunes by March 6, 2020.[6][7] Interviewed by Variety about the film's resurgence and similarities to the active pandemic in March 2020, Burns said:

Every scientist who I spoke to when I worked on the movie said that exact same thing to me: It’s not a matter of “if,” it’s a matter of “when.” You can decide that most of the time, firemen are just sitting around. But it’s very hard to start a fire department once your house is on fire. And so the notion that we’re going to cut these things and we’ll just try to rebuild them when we need them is foolish and dangerous. I was very aware that our Department of Homeland Security had a pandemic team standing by because this is a real threat.

Early life and education[edit]

Burns was born in Golden Valley, Minnesota[8] and graduated summa cum laude in 1985 with a degree in English from the University of Minnesota.[9] He currently lives in Los Angeles.



Year Title Director Writer Producer
2006 An Inconvenient Truth No No Yes
Pu-239 Yes Yes No
2007 The Bourne Ultimatum No Yes No
2009 The Informant! No Yes No
2011 Contagion No Yes No
2013 Side Effects No Yes Yes
2017 The Mercy[10] No Yes Yes
2019 The Report Yes Yes Yes
The Laundromat No Yes Yes




  1. ^ "Movies". The New York Times.
  2. ^ "Scott Z. Burns".
  3. ^ "Writer-Director Scott Z. Burns Reflects on "The Report"".
  4. ^ Scott, A. O. (February 7, 2013). "May Cause Greed, Lust or Retirement". The New York Times.
  5. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (May 1, 2018). "'The Torture Report': Tim Blake Nelson, Ben McKenzie, Matthew Rhys & More Round Cast Of CIA Drama – Cannes".
  6. ^ Pandemic movie 'Contagion' is surging in popularity due to the coronavirus and has hit the No. 7 spot on iTunes, Business Insider, March 6, 2020, retrieved March 25, 2020
  7. ^ "'Contagion,' Steven Soderbergh's 2011 Thriller, Is Climbing Up the Charts", The New York Times, March 4, 2020, retrieved March 25, 2020
  8. ^ "Star Tribune". Archived from the original on January 21, 2012.
  9. ^ "". Archived from the original on January 16, 2011.
  10. ^
  11. ^ "The Library". The Public Theater. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  12. ^ Healy, Patrick (16 January 2014). "Soderbergh to Direct New Play at Public Theater". The New York Times.
  13. ^ Rooney, David (16 January 2014). "Steven Soderbergh to Direct Off-Broadway Play Starring Chloe Grace Moretz". The Hollywood Reporter.

External links[edit]