MI6 profiles Paul Haggis, the Oscar winning screenwriter who co-wrote Casino Royale and the upcoming 22nd James Bond adventure...

Meet the Filmmakers - Paul Haggis Biography
30th July 2007

Paul Edward Haggis was born on March 10th 1953 in London, Ontario, Canada. Born to Mary and Ted Haggis, owners of the Gallery Theatre, he was quickly introduced to the world of performance arts.

He attended St. George’s Public School in Ontario and by the age of 19 Haggis was immersed in the world of the theatre. He wrote and directed several productions that were shown at his parent’s theatre before it was bought out by an amateur theatre company.

After graduating, Haggis traveled to the UK to study Photography at Fanshawe College in London. Just a year into the course, realising it was not the career he wished to peruse, Haggis returned to Canada and the dramatic arts.

At age 22, he made the move to Las Angeles to peruse his career, writing for the screen. Struggling to break into the high-powered world of Hollywood, Haggis took odd jobs in and around the city for over two months, all the while attempting to land a writing or directing job.

In the late ‘70s, Haggis took writing jobs on- the TV series “The Love Boat”, “Diff’rent Strokes” and in the 1980s “Thirtysomething”. During this period, Haggis directed token TV episodes but struggled to maintain a long-lasting job on one particular production. Eventually he was asked to broaden his horizons and take on the role of Supervising Producer on the “Thirtysomething” series.

Upon the success of “Thirtysomething”, Haggis grabbed at the chance to write his own TV series. The first, “City” lasted just 13 episodes, but his next project, the 1993 television season “Walker, Texas Ranger” was a roaring success.


Paul Haggis - Selected Filmography

Flags of Our Fathers (2006)
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Crash (2005)
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Million Dollar Baby (2005)
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Due South (1994)
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From his work on this production Haggis was offered the chance to take on several other seasons such as, “Due South” and “Family Law” and with these opportunities, Haggis made his name in entertainment. For “Due South” Haggis returned home to Canada to shoot the production that would pick up three Gemini Awards. While far more renowned for his work on film production, Haggis also had a profitable and mildly successful career as a television writer, director and even producer for over 20 years.

In the 1990’s, when he finally made his break in feature films, his first production, “Red Hot”, was met with minimal acclaim and had a limited video release. It was not until the turn of the century that Haggis came into the public spotlight. He won the writing job on 2004’s “Million Dollar Baby” – the Clint Eastwood production earned Paul Haggis his first Oscar nomination. With this Haggis became one of the big names of Hollywood.


Haggis wrote and directed the critically acclaimed “Crash” – profiling the harsh racism of modern America. Premiering at the Toronto Film Festival, “Crash” wowed critics and cinemagoers and picked up two well-deserved awards for Paul Haggis.

This award’s ceremony marked a never before seen milestone for both the Academy and Haggis. In 2006 Paul Haggis became the only writer to pen back to back Best Picture winners.

Since his Oscar success, Haggis has worked on the Clint Eastwood war movie, “Flags of Our Fathers” and Daniel Craig’s debut as James Bond, “Casino Royale”. He has signed up to rework the draft of the yet untitled Bond 22 and is completing work on his latest project “In The Valley of Elah”, due in cinemas September 2007.

On the basis of his Hollywood success, Haggis has founded several charities and foundations including “The Artists Peace and Justice” and “The Hollywood Education and Literacy Project”. He currently lives in Las Angeles with his wife of 10 years, Deborah Rennard.

Selected Interview Quotes
On a theme for Bond 22: "I think it's going to stand on its own although it does follow right on the heels of Casino Royale"

"There are certain things you can write and there are certain things you can direct. I just felt that it takes a big commitment to direct a Bond film. It's a 120 day shoot. It's a two year commitment basically to do it. If you do that on top of writing, it's almost a three year commitment. So I just didn't want to dedicate that much time. It's going to take me six months to get the script into shape as it is. I think I'll do that and then I'll go off into the next project."

On writing Royale: "I didn't come up with the chase sequence in the beginning. That was Martin Campbell who came up with that and it was presented to me. But just the stairwell scene and things like that, I'd come up with, so I've got a couple of those planned."

"We're trying to reinvent Bond. He's 28: no Q, no gadgets."

On growing up with the movies: "A lot of films made me love the movies, everything from Hitchcock to Godard. But the ones that really grabbed me were Costa-Gavras's films like "Z" and "State of Siege.""

"The worst thing you can do to a filmmaker is to walk out of his film and go, "That was a nice movie." But if you can cause people to walk out and then argue about the film on the sidewalk ... I think we're all seeking dissension, and we love to affect an audience."

"Artists need to be outsiders in order to really view what's going on. That little bit of detachment has been great for me being down here. I look like everyone else; I almost sound like everyone else, except for the odd time I say chesterfield or serviette. But I am different. And I am proud to be a Canadian..."

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