As the man once voted onto Premiere Magazine's "Top 25 Future Powers Under 35" list, one might suspect that the weight on writer/director Christopher McQuarrie's shoulders could become too heavy to bear with less than a handful of feature films to his credit. Though McQuarrie's talent as an emerging director may have been difficult to gauge given the mixed reaction to his directorial debut, The Way of the Gun (2000), his talent for creating off-beat and believable characters could well be the saving grace that keeps his career in the fast lane. Born in Princeton Junction, NJ, in 1968, McQuarrie attended high school with future collaborator Bryan Singer before relocating to Australia following graduation to work at a boarding school. McQuarrie returned stateside shortly thereafter, finding employment at a New Jersey detective agency in the following few years. His knowledge of the criminal mind paid off when Singer approached him to co-write the screenplay to Singer's debut feature Public Access, and the film went on to win the Grand Jury prize at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival. McQuarrie spent the following year refining his script for Singer's sophomore feature, The Usual Suspects. Following the film's successful premier at the 1995 Sundance Film Festival, The Usual Suspects earned McQuarrie an Oscar for Best Screenplay. The film's smart mix of sharp dialogue and quirky characters, combined with a killer twist few saw coming earned the writer a notable reputation as a talent to watch for. After that success, McQuarrie made a series of attempts to deviate from the familiar criminal element in his writing, but all met with rejection from studios. Actor and friend Benicio Del Toro convinced him that he may have a few more lawless yarns to spin, and after scripting television's The Underworld, McQuarrie began work on the film that would ultimately become his directorial debut, The Way of the Gun. Immediately lambasted by critics as a cheap Quentin Tarantino rip-off, audiences seemed a bit more forgiving in response to the film concerning a kidnapping gone awry; and while everyone agreed that the film was by no means a classic, may cited it as a solid start to McQuarrie's career as a director.