David Twohy

David Twohy

Born David Neil Twohy in Los Angeles County, California, he studied radio, television and film at California State University, Long Beach, and penned his first two feature scripts shortly after graduation. Both films - Mick Garris' broadly comic monster movie "Critters 2" (1988) and the supernatural fantasy thriller "Warlock" for Steve Miner - generated positive reviews and a substantial cult following that resulted in unexpected franchise status with several sequels for both pictures. Twohy's knack for smart, subversive popcorn films led to a draft of "Alien 3" (1992) that was rejected by the film's director, before making his own first directorial effort, "Timescape," a thoughtful time-travel drama with Jeff Daniels as a widower who discovers that the new boarders at his home are time travelers with an interest in major disasters. Unfortunately, the film struggled to find an audience and was eventually dumped into the home video market with a cumbersome new title, "Grand Tour: Disaster in Time." Twohy rebounded with "The Fugitive," director Andrew Davis' blockbuster big screen adaptation of the popular 1960s television series. Twohy, who penned the original story and shared a screenwriting credit with Jeb Stuart on the film, received a 1994 Writers Guild of America Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay, but more importantly, the chance to work on more studio projects. Unfortunately, his subsequent projects - a breezy caper film called "Terminal Velocity" and the disastrous science fiction epic "Waterworld" - were roundly panned by critics and largely avoided by moviegoers. Twohy then scaled back for his next project, a modestly budgeted science fiction thriller called "The Arrival" (1996), which starred his "Terminal Velocity" leading man, Charlie Sheen, as an astronomer who discovers a hidden alien base on Earth. Though well received by critics, it was unable to recoup its budget. Twohy then returned to screenwriting, co-authoring the Demi Moore hit "G.I. Jane" before crafting what would prove to be one of his most popular features. "Pitch Black" was a clever blend of science fiction, horror and noir that focused on the survivors of a spaceship crash on a seemingly deserted planet that actually served as home for ferocious, nocturnal winged monsters. As the planet plunges into a lengthy eclipse, an unlikely hero emerges from the group: a convict named Riddick (Vin Diesel) with the ability to see in the dark. Though a minor hit upon its release, "Pitch Black" would develop a sizable cult following on home video that would eventually led to a franchise. Twohy's follow-up to "Pitch Black," a 2001 adaptation of the Philip K. Dick short story "Impostor" (2001), was mostly ignored by moviegoers, as was "Below" (2002), a smart and suspenseful supernatural film produced by Darren Aronofsky. Two years later, Twohy and star Vin Diesel reunited for "The Chronicles of Riddick" (2004), a sprawling science fiction epic that plunged Diesel's scrappy criminal into a huge intergalactic battle. Budgeted at upwards of $120 million, the film was deemed too unwieldy and complicated, and failed to earn back its ponderous budget, which appeared to doom subsequent Riddick adventures. However, the film, like its predecessor, performed well on home video, and spurred the long gestation of the third entry in the series. Between these efforts, Twohy wrote and directed a lean psychological thriller titled "A Perfect Getaway" (2009), with Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich as honeymooners in Hawaii whose encounter with fellow travelers Timothy Olyphant and Kiele Sanchez turns deadly. Though it enjoyed only a brief run at the box office, the film did well with critics, and underscored Twohy's status as a talented multi-hyphenate. Diesel and Twohy had been working on a follow-up to "Chronicles of Riddick" since 2006, when the actor gained ownership of the rights to the character and subsequent sequels from Universal in exchange for a cameo in "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift" (2006). The pair honed a script for the next six years before principal photography began in 2012, with Twohy again behind the camera as director. The resulting film, simply titled "Riddick," picked up after the incidents in "Chronicles of Riddick" but hewed closer to the futuristic Western scenario of "Pitch Black," with Riddick matching wits and brawn with a gang of bounty hunters and an equally dangerous group of mercenaries. Though it received mixed reviews, "Riddick" performed exceptionally well at the box office, topping the charts in the week of its release, and naturally spawning talk of additional entries in the franchise.