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Neil Tolkin

Highest Rated: 50% The Emperor's Club (2002)

Lowest Rated: 17% License to Drive (1988)

Birthday: Not Available

Birthplace: Not Available

A native of Montreal, Quebec, screenwriter Neil Tolkin relocated to Hollywood in the 80s and began his career by authoring the scripts for popular comedies, especially ones aimed explicitly at young audiences. Tolkin earned his premiere credit as a scribe in the summer of 1988, with "License to Drive," a quintessential '80s teen picture. Co-starring Corey Haim and Corey Feldman and directed by Greg Beeman, it concerns an adolescent boy (Haim) who borrows his grandfather's vintage 1972 Cadillac to take a pretty female classmate (Heather Graham) on a date, with the inevitable complications that ensue. The movie earned decent if not glowing reviews, and did solid box office. Tolkin's sophomore effort, 1994's "Ri¢hie Ri¢h," gave Macaulay Culkin one of his post-"Home Alone" vehicles, with the star cast as Warren Kremer and Alfred Harvey's famous comic book character - the wealthiest little boy in the world. And 1995's "Jury Duty" toplined cult comedian Pauly Shore, as a dolt who signs up for the titular job to take advantage of the $5 per day salary and the free room and board. In the late 1990s, Tolkin began to shift gears a bit, to focus on more personal projects. He debuted as a writer-director with 1996's "Sticks and Stones," a heartwarming drama co-starring Gary Busey and Kirstie Alley. Though it received an extremely limited theatrical release, it did glean some favorable notices in the trades - including one glowing comparison to Rob Reiner's "Stand by Me" (1986) with its coming-of-age tale of several young boys struggling to deal with irresponsible parents. Tolkin's next major effort was an equally earnest one. Adapted from a short story by physician Ethan Canin, 2002's "The Emperor's Club" starred Kevin Kline in the complex tale of an East Coast prep school teacher who ventures into murky waters by fixing an academic competition and allowing an obnoxious young student (Emile Hirsch) to get away with cheating. Tolkin later recalled that he adapted the story because of the material's success at examining contemporary ethics and morality in shades of gray, and he indicated that he deliberately set out to avert Hollywood cliches in the script - a tendency more than evident onscreen. Also in the early-mid 2000s, Tolkin became the latest in a long list of scribes who signed on with Universal to attempt to adapt World War II veteran Louis Zamperini's autobiography The Devil at My Heels. A project that Hollywood had been nursing since 1957, it told of Zamperini's presence in a near-fatal plane crash, his survival of a 47-day stretch in a life raft, and ultimately, his torture at the hands of Japanese captors in a POW camp. In the eyes of many, Tolkin's draft was the finest and most eloquent of many attempts to get the Zamperini story right - so beautifully written, in fact, that at one point it landed on Hollywood's annual "Black List" of the greatest unproduced scripts. For a time, Antoine Fuqua was attached to direct, though this particular incarnation of the movie did not pan out. The picture was finally made, however, and directed by Angelina Jolie, as 2014's "Unbroken." Though ultimately uncredited, Tolkin did contribute to the script of that picture, along with Joel and Ethan Coen and others.

Filmography

Movies

Credit
50% 67% The Emperor's Club Writer (Screenplay) $14.1M 2002
No Score Yet 82% Sticks and Stones Director,
Writer
- 1996
24% 32% Richie Rich Writer $37.1M 1994
17% 61% License to Drive Screenwriter $21.1M 1988

TV

Credit
No Score Yet 76% Magnum P.I. Writer 2018-2020

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