Tony Gilroy

Active - 1992 - 2018  |   Born - Sep 11, 1956 in New York, New York, United States  |   Genres - Thriller, Spy Film, Action, Drama

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Biography by Nathan Southern

Screenwriter Tony Gilroy debuted as a scribe on a lucrative but uncharacteristic note -- lucrative because the 1992 sports-themed romantic comedy The Cutting Edge (which Gilroy scripted) grossed a respectable 25 million dollars at the domestic box office; uncharacteristic because that film in no way presaged the genres in which Gilroy came to specialize. Time and again, over the following decades, Gilroy churned out scripts for intense variants on the thriller formula -- outings that exhibited a propensity for not only high-ratcheted suspense but literate subtexts and polished dialogue. These included the incest-themed Stephen King melodrama Dolores Claiborne (1995), the medical ethos-tinged suspenser Extreme Measures (1996), and the supernaturally charged, darkly comic thriller The Devil's Advocate (1997). Gilroy's activity surged after the turn of the millennium, when producers tapped him to script the first three installments in the Bourne series of films, adapted from the novels by Robert Ludlum. In 2007, Gilroy debuted as a director, helming his own script for the hotly anticipated legal thriller Michael Clayton (2007). The picture concerned a morally dubious fixer for a major Manhattan law firm (George Clooney), faced with the most daunting moral, ethical, and logistical crisis of his legal career. The film opened to largely positive reviews, and went on to capture Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay.

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  • Father Frank D. Gilroy won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1965 for the play The Subject was Roses.
  • Dropped out of college to sing and play guitar in Boston.
  • Sold copier ink and tended bar in New York while honing his writing skills.
  • Developed a reputation as a master script fixer, demonstrated, for example, in writing The Bourne Identity (loosely based on Robert Ludlum's book), which hit the big screen in 2002. 
  • Was initially slammed by The Bourne Ultimatum star Matt Damon for the screenplay of that 2007 thriller, although Damon later apologized.  
  • Drew on his childhood in upstate New York in writing the script for his 2007 multiple-Oscar nominee Michael Clayton. Gilroy is also heard as the uncredited voice of a taxi driver in the film.