David Webb Peoples

Biography of David Webb Peoples

David Webb Peoples (born c. 1940) is an American screenwriter, best known for the films Blade Runner, Unforgiven and Twelve Monkeys.

Peoples was born in Middletown, Connecticut, the son of Ruth and Joe Webb Peoples, a geologist. He studied English at the University of California, Berkeley. He first entered the industry as a film editor, and started writing screenplays during this time, but his writing career began when he was hired as co-writer on the cult classic Blade Runner after director Ridley Scott and screenwriter Hampton Fancher separated over creative differences. Following that film's critical success, Peoples was hired by studios to work on films including Ladyhawke, Leviathan, and an unproduced attempt at adapting the Sgt. Rock comic series for Arnold Schwarzenegger.

A number of Peoples' original screenplays were sold during the 1980s, many undergoing lengthy studio development periods before seeing production: among them, Unforgiven, Soldier, and The Blood of Heroes.[citation needed] The latter film was the first to go before the cameras, directed by Peoples himself and starring Rutger Hauer.

Peoples received his highest accolades for Unforgiven, a script first written in 1976 (as The William Munny Killings). The film had a lengthy gestation and did not see theaters until 1992. Peoples received Oscar, Golden Globe and British Academy nominations, and won L.A. Film Critics (1991) and National Society of Film Critics (1992) awards for best screenplay. Because of the success of Unforgiven, Peoples is sometimes credited for revitalizing the Western genre, as well as Clint Eastwood's career.

Released in the same year as Unforgiven, Peoples' screwball comedy Hero was based on an idea by producer Laura Ziskin and her husband, screenwriter Alvin Sargent.

Later in 1992 Peoples began work (in collaboration with wife Janet Peoples) on Twelve Monkeys (1995), a time-warp action/psychodrama inspired by Chris Marker's experimental short film La jetée. The film was directed by Terry Gilliam and was successful both critically and commercially.

In 1998 Soldier was belatedly filmed by British director Paul Anderson, albeit on a reduced budget and with additional rewriting by Anderson.

Peoples was presented with the Distinguished Screenwriter Award at the 2010 Austin Film Festival.

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