New York City, New York, United States
Screenwriter, Director, Playwright, Producer, Journalist
This second-generation screenwriter has made a reputation for strong psychological dramas. Nicholas Kazan, the son of famed screenwriter-producer-director-actor Elia Kazan, has a talent for scripts described as "edgy, terse, bleakly funny." Until the late 1980s, he concentrated on theater, writing for The Impact Company of the Improvisational Theatre Project and having several plays produced in New York.After one not-terribly-successful attempt at screenwriting (the obscure 1977 "Showboat 1988"), Kazan had a modest success with the 1982 biopic "Frances," co-written with Eric Bergren and Christopher DeVore and featuring a tour-de-force performance by Jessica Lange. He next penned "At Close Range" (1986), a fact-based thriller about a family of killers starring Sean Penn and Christopher Walken. "Patty Hearst" (1988), the story of the kidnapped heiress, provided a showcase for actress Natasha Richardson, while "Reversal of Fortune" (1990), the darkly funny tale of Claus von Bulow who stood accused of attempting to murder his socialite wife, earned Kazan an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay and the Best Actor Oscar for Jeremy Irons. Each of these films share a biographical dimension, with a compellingly erratic and disturbing historical figure at the center.Kazan went on to write "Mobsters" (1991), a more modest youth-oriented gangster film before making his directorial debut with the unsuccessful "Dream Lover" (1994), a meandering film noir involving femme fatale Madchen Amick's attempt to destroy her husband James Spader. Working with his wife Robin Swicord, Kazan returned to straight screenwriting, with "Matilda" (1996), a childhood drama starring Mara Wilson, producer/director Danny De Vito and his wife Rhea Perlman. Kazan also scripted the marijuana-farming drama "Homegrown" and the crime thriller "Fallen" (both 1997). Kazan also adapted the political thriller "Point of Impact" as "Shooter" (lensing 1997), starring Robert Redford.Kazan's only TV outing to date has been the 1989 HBO series "The Edge," for which he directed one episode ("Professional Man").