Paul Haggis

Paul Edward Haggis is a Canadian screenwriter, film producer, and director of film and television. He is best known as screenwriter and producer for consecutive Best Picture Oscar winners: Million Dollar Baby and Crash, the latter of which he also directed. Haggis also co-wrote the war film Flags of Our Fathers and the James Bond films Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. He is the creator of the television series Due South and co-creator of Walker, Texas Ranger, among others. Haggis is a two-time Academy Award winner, two-time Emmy Award winner, and seven-time Gemini Award winner. He also assisted in the making of the "We Are the World 25 For Haiti" music video.
Haggis remains embroiled in a civil lawsuit related to an alleged sexual assault in New York City in 2013.

Early life

Paul Edward Haggis was born in London, Ontario, the son of Mary Yvonne and Ted Haggis, an Olympic sprinter. He was raised as a Catholic, but considered himself an atheist in early adulthood. The Gallery Theatre in London was owned by his parents, and Haggis gained experience in the field through work at the theatre.
Haggis attended St. Thomas More Elementary School, and after being inspired by Alfred Hitchcock and Jean-Luc Godard, proceeded to study art at H. B. Beal Secondary School. After viewing Michelangelo Antonioni's 1966 film Blowup, he traveled to England with the intent of becoming a fashion photographer. Haggis later returned to Canada to pursue studies in cinematography at Fanshawe College. In 1975, Haggis moved to Los Angeles, California, to begin a career in writing in the entertainment industry.


Haggis began to work as a writer for television programs, including The Love Boat, One Day at a Time, Diff'rent Strokes, and The Facts of Life. With The Facts of Life, Haggis also gained his first credit as producer. During the 1980s and 1990s, Haggis wrote for television series including thirtysomething, The Tracey Ullman Show, FM, Due South, L.A. Law, and EZ Streets. He helped to create the television series Walker, Texas Ranger; Family Law; and Due South. Haggis served as executive producer of the series Michael Hayes and Family Law.|left|180x180px
He gained recognition in the film industry for his work on the 2004 film Million Dollar Baby, which Allmovie described as a "serious milestone" for the writer/producer, and as "his first high-profile foray into feature film". Haggis had read two stories written by Jerry Boyd, a boxing trainer who wrote under the name of F.X. Toole.
Haggis later acquired the rights to the stories, and developed them into the screenplay for Million Dollar Baby. Clint Eastwood portrayed the lead character in the film. Eastwood also directed the film, and used the screenplay written by Haggis. Million Dollar Baby received four Academy Awards including the Academy Award for Best Picture.
After Million Dollar Baby, Haggis worked on the 2004 film Crash. Haggis came up with the story for the film on his own, and then wrote and directed the film, which allowed him greater control over his work. Crash was his first experience as director of a major feature film. Highly positive upon release, critical reception of Crash has since polarized, although Roger Ebert called it the best film of 2005.
Crash received Academy Award nominations for Best Picture and Best Director, in addition to four other Academy Award nominations. Haggis received two Academy Awards for the film: Best Picture, and Best Writing for his work on the screenplay. With Million Dollar Baby and then Crash, Haggis became the first individual to have written Best Picture Oscar-winners in two consecutive years.
Haggis said that he wrote Crash to "bust liberals", arguing that his fellow liberals were not honest with themselves about the nature of race and racism because they believed that most racial problems had already been resolved in American society.




Video games

Awards and nominations

Haggis has been nominated for dozens of awards.
1985Humanitas PrizeChildren's Animation CategoryCBS Storybreak: "Zucchini"
1988Primetime Emmy AwardOutstanding Drama Seriesthirtysomething
1988Primetime Emmy AwardOutstanding Writing for a Drama Series: Business as Usualthirtysomething
1988Humanitas Prize60 Minute Categorythirtysomething
1989Writers Guild of America AwardEpisodic Dramathirtysomething
1995Gemini AwardBest Dramatic SeriesDue South
1995Gemini AwardBest TV MovieDue South: Pilot
1995Gemini AwardBest Writing in a Dramatic SeriesDue South
1995Gemini AwardBest Writing in a Dramatic Program or Mini-SeriesDue South: Pilot
1996Gemini AwardCanada's Choice AwardDue South
1996Gemini AwardBest Dramatic SeriesDue South
1996Gemini AwardBest Writing in a Dramatic SeriesDue South: "Hawk and a Handsaw"
1996Gemini AwardBest Writing in a Dramatic SeriesDue South: "The Gift of the Wheelman"
1997Viewers for Quality Television AwardFounder's AwardEZ Streets
2001Writers Guild of America AwardValentine Davies AwardContributions to industry
2005Writers Guild of America AwardBest Adapted ScreenplayMillion Dollar Baby
2005American Screenwriters AssociationDiscover Screenwriting AwardMillion Dollar Baby
2005Black Movie AwardOutstanding Motion PictureCrash
2005Deauville American Film FestivalGrand Special PrizeCrash
2005European Film AwardScreen International AwardCrash
2005Hollywood Film FestivalDirecting workBreakthrough Directing
2005Las Vegas Film Critics Society AwardBest ScreenplayCrash
2005Online Film Critics Society AwardBest Screenplay, AdaptedMillion Dollar Baby
2005San Diego Film FestivalDiscover Screenwriter AwardLife's Work
2005San Francisco International Film FestivalKanbar AwardScreenwriting work
2005Satellite AwardBest Screenplay, AdaptedMillion Dollar Baby
2005Satellite AwardOutstanding Screenplay, OriginalCrash
2005Southeastern Film Critics Association AwardBest Screenplay, OriginalCrash
2005USC Scripter AwardUSC Scripter AwardMillion Dollar Baby
2005Washington DC Area Film Critics Association AwardBest Screenplay – OriginalCrash
2006Writers Guild of America AwardBest Original ScreenplayCrash
2006Directors Guild of America AwardOutstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion PicturesCrash
2006Austin Film Critics AwardBest DirectorCrash
2006Broadcast Film Critics Association AwardBest WriterCrash
2006Broadcast Film Critics Association AwardBest DirectorCrash
2006Chicago Film Critics Association AwardBest ScreenplayCrash
2006David di DonatelloBest Foreign FilmCrash
2006Edgar AwardBest Motion Picture ScreenplayCrash
2006Humanitas PrizeFeature Film CategoryCrash
2006Independent Spirit AwardBest First FeatureCrash
2006London Critics Circle Film AwardScreenwriter of the YearCrash
2006London Critics Circle Film AwardDirector of the YearCrash
2006Online Film Critics Society AwardBest Breakthrough FilmmakerCrash
2006Online Film Critics Society AwardBest Screenplay, OriginalCrash
2006Producers Guild of America AwardMotion Picture Producer of the Year AwardCrash
2006Robert AwardBest American FilmCrash
2006Satellite AwardBest Screenplay, AdaptedFlags of Our Fathers
2007Saturn AwardBest WritingCasino Royale
2007Edgar AwardBest Motion Picture ScreenplayCasino Royale
2007Venice Film FestivalSIGNIS AwardIn the Valley of Elah
2007Venice Film FestivalGolden LionIn the Valley of Elah
2008David di DonatelloBest Foreign FilmIn the Valley of Elah
2015Directors Guild of America AwardsOutstanding Directing – Miniseries or Television FilmShow Me a Hero

Personal life

Haggis lives in Santa Monica, California. He has three daughters from his first marriage to Diana Gettas and one son from his second marriage to Deborah Rennard.
Haggis founded the non-profit organization Artists for Peace and Justice to assist impoverished youth in Haiti. In an interview with Dan Rather, Haggis mentions that he is an atheist.

Break from Scientology

After maintaining active membership in the Church of Scientology for 35 years, Haggis left the organization in October 2009. He was motivated to leave Scientology in reaction to statements made by the San Diego branch of the Church of Scientology in support of Proposition 8, the ballot initiative which banned same-sex marriage in California.
Haggis wrote to Tommy Davis, the Church's spokesman, and requested that he denounce these statements; when Davis remained silent, Haggis responded that "Silence is consent, Tommy. I refuse to consent." Haggis went on to list other grievances against Scientology, including its policy of disconnection, and the smearing of its ex-members through the leaking of their personal details.
The Observer commented on defections of Haggis and actor Jason Beghe from Scientology, "The decision of Beghe and Haggis to quit Scientology appears to have caused the movement its greatest recent PR difficulties, not least because of its dependence on Hollywood figures as both a source of revenue for its most expensive courses and an advertisement for the religion."
In an interview with Movieline, Haggis was asked about similarities between his film The Next Three Days and his departure from the Scientology organization; Haggis responded, "I think one's life always parallels art and art parallels life." In February 2011, The New Yorker published a 25,000-word story, "The Apostate", by Lawrence Wright, detailing Haggis's allegations about the Church of Scientology. The article ended by quoting Haggis: "I was in a cult for thirty-four years. Everyone else could see it. I don't know why I couldn't." Haggis was interviewed as part of a group of ex-Scientologists for the 2015 movie .

Sexual misconduct allegations

On January 5, 2018, Haggis was accused of sexual misconduct including multiple rapes. He is facing a civil lawsuit over these allegations. Haggis has denied the allegations, claiming one of the accusers attempted to extort him for $9 million. In July 2019, Haggis was ordered to provide a DNA sample as part of legal proceedings. According to published reports, Haggis and his legal team have worked to block the testimony of additional alleged victims, as the initial civil case heads to trial. After the initial accusation, three additional women came forward with various accusations of sexual assault and misconduct.
In December of 2019, Haggis lost an appeal before the First Judicial Department Appellate Division in New York, which found that rape amounts to a gender-based hate crime.
Fellow Scientology defectors Leah Remini and Mike Rinder have defended him, suggesting that the Church of Scientology may be involved, an assertion both the accusers and the Church itself deny.