Spotlight On…David Koepp – Co-Writer Of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit


Each month, we turn our spotlight onto the unsung artists behind the biggest new movie releases. This month: David Koepp, co-writer of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.

A graduate of UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television, David Koepp has a name that is familiar to moviegoers around the world, although they may not realize why. It’s one of those names that crops up regularly, on all kinds of film posters and credit rolls, in all sorts of capacities. He has worked as a Producer, Actor, Second Unit Director, Assistant Director, Director, Writer and even Songwriter, on an epic roster of films that would make even Spielberg’s toes curl – though he had a hand in some of them.

While his resume shows him to be a man of many talents, it is screenwriting that has made his name internationally recognizable. David Koepp is one of the most prolific screenwriters in Hollywood, with 27 writing credits in 27 years. While many of the most celebrated screenwriters of today have their own, signature style (such as Charlie Kaufman, Richard Linklater and Diablo Cody), Koepp is a chameleon – disappearing into the aesthetic of the piece he creates. This has made him highly effective in the adaptation of literature and comic books, including the screenplays for Toy Soldiers, Jurassic Park, Carlito’s Way, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Stir Of Echoes, The Shadow, Spider-Man, Secret Window, War Of The Worlds, Zathura: A Space Adventure and Angels And Demons.

Since arriving on the screenplay scene in 1988 – co-writing the Colin Firth psycho-drama Apartment Zero with director Martin Donovan – Koepp has proved himself to be a master of all genres. Having written Curtis Hanson’s 1990 thriller Bad Influence, he brought the laughs (again with Martin Donovan) in the 1992 Robert Zemeckis comedy Death Becomes Her. Following this with the cinematic behemoth Jurassic Park in 1993, Koepp has since alternated between comedy (The Paper), action (Mission: Impossible), thriller (Snake Eyes, Panic Room) and all-out franchise blockbuster (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull).

Working hard, Koepp began to capitalize on his well-earned influence by branching out into directing his own features. Beginning in 1994 with Suspicious –  a 15 minute short horror film featuring Janeane Garofalo and Michael Rooker – Koepp then made his feature length directorial debut in 1996 with The Trigger Effect, starring  Kyle MacLachlan, Elisabeth Shue and Dermot Mulroney. Inspired by the first episode of the TV series Connections, the film explores events during a fictional days-long power cut. His follow-up turn as director was the 1999 horror film, Stir Of Echoes, which he adapted from the novel by Richard Matheson.