Paul Weitz

Active - 1998 - 2018  |   Born - Nov 19, 1965 in New York, New York, United States  |   Genres - Comedy, Comedy Drama, Fantasy

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Since their career breakout as the screenwriters of the blockbuster computer-animated hit Antz (1998), brothers Paul and Chris Weitz shot to the Hollywood A-list as the creators of the film that single-handedly revitalized the teen sex comedy genre: American Pie (1999). Despite their mainstream success, the Weitz brothers have also accomplished the rare feat of keeping one foot in the indie world while simultaneously becoming the toast of Tinseltown with such efforts as the self-proclaimed "stalker-dramedy" Chuck & Buck (2000).

Born into a solid Hollywood bloodline as the sons of actress Susan Kohner and popular '60s fashion designer John Weitz, as well as the nephew of producer Pancho Kohner, the Weitz brothers began working together by happy coincidence. Following his graduation from Connecticut's Wesleyan with a degree in film, Paul went on to produce a play off-Broadway that he had written at college, Mango Tea. Though brother Chris had studied English literature at Cambridge University and then pursued a career in journalism, it was during the standard, one-year waiting period to join the diplomatic corps that he and Paul forged their lucrative writing partnership -- a fateful collaboration that the brothers claim saved them from their mutually unemployable status.

Though their writing credit for the children's fantasy Madeline (1998) was dropped after rewrites left few of their contributions in the final product, the release of Antz provided the brothers with the success they needed to get their career off to a solid start. With its witty contemplations on the value of individuality and appeal to children as well as adults, Antz's success was widespread, though it was no indicator of the substance of the film that would be their defining success, American Pie (1999). A cheerfully raunchy yet warm comedy for which Paul took directing credit with Chris listed as producer, American Pie was a throwback to the carefree teen-sex exploits of the Porky's (1981) days of yore that flew in the face of the more conservative sexual mores of modern society. Though nobody expected American Pie to be the breakout hit that it was, its success spawned not only multiple sequels, but also a slew of clones attempting to ride its box-office tidal wave.

With his role in the dark comedy Chuck & Buck the following year, sibling Chris was not only the object of obsession for a childhood friend unable to let go of the past, but the darling of the indie circuit as well. After directing Chris Rock in the Heaven Can Wait remake Down to Earth in 2001, Paul served as writer and director (of course with brother Chris) for the warm Hugh Grant comedy About a Boy (2002). In addition to their cinematic success, the Weitz brothers forged on toward conquering the small screen with their role as executive producers of the television sitcom Off Centre in 2001. A sort of Odd Couple for the millennial generation, the humorously risqué sitcom told the tale of two roommates and their constant efforts to balance their polarized lifestyles. Their father's one-time wish for them to fill vacant writing positions on the Merchant-Ivory team may have never quite come to fruition, but the brothers Weitz seemed to have had no problems in finding continued success on their own terms.

Movie Highlights

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Factsheet

  • Father is German-born designer and author John Weitz; mother is actor Susan Kohner, who earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress in the 1959 version of Imitation of Life.
  • Maternal grandparents are Mexican actor Lupita Tovar and producer Paul Kohner, who also became an agent for Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Billy Wilder, Charles Bronson and others.
  • Play Mango Tea, which he wrote in college, was produced off-Broadway in 1988 when he was 22, and starred Marisa Tomei and Rob Morrow.
  • Frequently collaborates with brother, Chris, and their script for Antz (1998), cowritten with Todd Alcott, set the stage for their breakout hit, 1999's American Pie (directed by Paul, coproduced by Chris); also codirected and cowrote (with Peter Hedges) About a Boy (2002).
  • Other off-Broadway plays include Roulette (2004), Privilege (2005), Show People (2006), Trust (2010) and Lonely, I'm Not (2012).