Paul Haggis

Paul Edward Haggis (born March 10, 1953) 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 (2004) and Crash (2005), the latter of which he also directed. Haggis also co-wrote the war film Flags of Our Fathers (2006) and the James Bond films Casino Royale (2006) and Quantum of Solace (2008). He is the creator of the television series Due South (1994–1999) and co-creator of Walker, Texas Ranger (1993–2001), 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.

Paul Haggis
Haggis in November 2013
Paul Edward Haggis

(1953-03-10) March 10, 1953
ResidenceSanta Monica, California, U.S.
OccupationScreenwriter, producer, director
Years active1975–present
Diane Christine Gettas
(m. 1977; div. 1994)

Deborah Rennard
(m. 1997; div. 2016)

Haggis is currently embroiled in a civil lawsuit related to an alleged sexual assault in New York City in 2013.[1]

Early life

Paul Edward Haggis was born in London, Ontario,[2] the son of Mary Yvonne (née Metcalf) and Ted Haggis, an Olympic sprinter.[3] He was raised as a Catholic,[4] 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.[5]

Haggis attended St. Thomas More Elementary School,[6] and after being inspired by Alfred Hitchcock and Jean-Luc Godard, proceeded to study art at H. B. Beal Secondary School.[2] After viewing Michelangelo Antonioni's 1966 film Blowup, he traveled to England with the intent of becoming a fashion photographer.[2] Haggis later returned to Canada to pursue studies in cinematography at Fanshawe College.[2] In 1975, Haggis moved to Los Angeles, California, to begin a career in writing in the entertainment industry.[2][5]


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.[5] With The Facts of Life, Haggis also gained his first credit as producer.[5] 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.[5] He helped to create the television series Walker, Texas Ranger; Family Law; and Due South.[5] Haggis served as executive producer of the series Michael Hayes and Family Law.[5]

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".[5] Haggis had read two stories written by Jerry Boyd, a boxing trainer who wrote under the name of F.X. Toole.[5]

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.[5] Eastwood also directed the film, and used the screenplay written by Haggis.[5] Million Dollar Baby received four Academy Awards including the Academy Award for Best Picture.[5]

After Million Dollar Baby, Haggis worked on the 2004 film Crash.[5] 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.[5] Crash was his first experience as director of a major feature film.[5] Highly positive upon release, critical reception of Crash has since polarized, although Roger Ebert called it the best film of 2005.[5]

Crash received Academy Award nominations for Best Picture and Best Director, in addition to four other Academy Award nominations.[5] Haggis received two Academy Awards for the film: Best Picture (as its producer), and Best Writing for his work on the screenplay.[5] With Million Dollar Baby and then Crash, Haggis became the first individual to have written Best Picture Oscar-winners in two consecutive years.[7]

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.[8]

Personal life

Haggis lives in Santa Monica, California.[9] He has three daughters from his first marriage to Diana Gettas and one son from his second marriage to Deborah Rennard.[10]

Haggis founded the non-profit organization Artists for Peace and Justice to assist impoverished youth in Haiti.[11][12] In an interview with Dan Rather, Haggis mentions that he is an atheist.[13]

Sexual misconduct and rape allegations

On January 5, 2018, Haggis was accused of sexual misconduct including multiple rapes. He is facing a civil lawsuit over these allegations.[14][15][16][17][18] 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.[19] 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.[20] After the initial accusation, three additional women came forward with various accusations of sexual assault and misconduct.[21]

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.[22]

Public break from the Church of Scientology

After maintaining active membership in the Church of Scientology for 35 years, Haggis left the organization in October 2009.[23][24][25][26] 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.[25]

Haggis wrote to Thomas 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."[25][26][27] 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.[25][26]

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."[28]

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."[29] 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."[10] Haggis was interviewed as part of a group of ex-Scientologists for the 2015 movie Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief.



Year Film Director Writer Producer Notes Ref.
1993 Red Hot Yes Yes No Directorial Debut [30]
2004 Million Dollar Baby No Yes Yes Nominated- Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay [30][31]
Crash Yes Yes Yes Academy Award for Best Picture
Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay
BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay
Nominated- Academy Award for Best Director
Nominated- BAFTA Award for Best Direction
Nominated- Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay
2006 The Last Kiss No Yes No [30]
Flags of Our Fathers No Yes No [30]
Letters from Iwo Jima No Yes executive Nominated- Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay [30][31]
Casino Royale No Yes No Nominated- BAFTA Award for Outstanding British Film
Nominated- BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
2007 In the Valley of Elah Yes Yes Yes [30]
2008 Quantum of Solace No Yes No [30]
2009 Terminator Salvation No uncredited No Rewrite [30]
2010 The Next Three Days Yes Yes No [32]
2013 Third Person Yes Yes No [33]
2016 Gold No No executive [34]


Year Title Director Writer Executive
Notes Ref.
1987 Return of the Shaggy Dog No Yes No [30]
1987–1988 thirtysomething No Yes No Also supervising producer
1990 City No No Yes Creator
1990–1991 You Take the Kids Yes Yes Yes Co-creator
1993–2001 Walker, Texas Ranger No No No Co-creator
1994–1999 Due South Yes Yes Yes Creator;
Also unit director
1996–1997 EZ Streets Yes Yes Yes Creator
1997 Walker, Texas Ranger: Sons of Thunder Yes Yes Yes Creator [30]
1999–2002 Family Law Yes Yes Yes Co-creator
2007 The Black Donnellys Yes Yes Yes Creator
2015 Show Me a Hero Yes No Yes Miniseries

Video games

Year Game Role Notes
2011 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Co-writer

Awards and nominations

Haggis has been nominated for dozens of awards.[35]

Year Award Work Category Result
1985 Humanitas Prize CBS Storybreak: "Zucchini" Children's Animation Category Nominated
1988 Emmy Award thirtysomething Outstanding Drama Series Won
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series: Business as Usual Won
Humanitas Prize 60 Minute Category Won
1989 Writers Guild of America Award Episodic Drama Nominated
1995 Gemini Award Due South Best Dramatic Series Won
Due South: Pilot (#1.0) Best TV Movie Won
Due South Best Writing in a Dramatic Series Won
Due South: Pilot (#1.0) Best Writing in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series Nominated
1996 Due South Canada's Choice Award Won
Best Dramatic Series Won
Due South: "Hawk and a Handsaw" Best Writing in a Dramatic Series Won
Due South: "The Gift of the Wheelman" Won
1997 Viewers for Quality Television Award EZ Streets Founder's Award Won
2001 Writers Guild of America Award Contributions to industry Valentine Davies Award Won
2005 Writers Guild of America Award Million Dollar Baby Best Adapted Screenplay Nominated[31]
American Screenwriters Association Discover Screenwriting Award Won
Black Movie Award Crash Outstanding Motion Picture Won
Deauville American Film Festival Grand Special Prize Won
European Film Award Screen International Award Nominated
Hollywood Film Festival Directing work Breakthrough Directing Won
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award Crash Best Screenplay Won
Online Film Critics Society Award Million Dollar Baby Best Screenplay, Adapted Nominated
San Diego Film Festival Life's Work Discover Screenwriter Award[36] Won
San Francisco International Film Festival Screenwriting work Kanbar Award Won
Satellite Award Million Dollar Baby Best Screenplay, Adapted Won
Crash Outstanding Screenplay, Original Nominated
Southeastern Film Critics Association Award Best Screenplay, Original Won
USC Scripter Award Million Dollar Baby USC Scripter Award Won
Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Award Crash Best Screenplay – Original Won
2006 Writers Guild of America Award Best Original Screenplay Won[31]
Directors Guild of America Award Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures Nominated[31]
Austin Film Critics Award Best Director Won
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award Best Writer Won
Best Director Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association Award Best Screenplay Won
David di Donatello Best Foreign Film Won
Edgar Award Best Motion Picture Screenplay Nominated
Humanitas Prize Feature Film Category Won
Independent Spirit Award Best First Feature Won
London Critics Circle Film Award Screenwriter of the Year Won
Director of the Year Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Award Best Breakthrough Filmmaker Won
Best Screenplay, Original Nominated
Producers Guild of America Award Motion Picture Producer of the Year Award Nominated
Robert Award Best American Film Nominated
Satellite Award Flags of Our Fathers Best Screenplay, Adapted Nominated
2007 Saturn Award Casino Royale Best Writing Nominated
Edgar Award Best Motion Picture Screenplay Nominated
Venice Film Festival In the Valley of Elah SIGNIS Award Won
Golden Lion Nominated
2008 David di Donatello Best Foreign Film Nominated
2015 Directors Guild of America Awards Show Me a Hero Outstanding Directing – Miniseries or Television Film Nominated[37]

See also

Further reading

  • Wells, Barry. "Paul Haggis wants to inspire London students". Alt London. Archived from the original on October 24, 2007. Retrieved September 13, 2006.
  • Forsythe, Coco (January 27, 2008). "Down In The Valley". FutureMovies.


  1. Marsh, Julia (December 16, 2017). "Paul Haggis suing NYC publicist over sex assault claims". Page Six. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
  2. Turner Classic Movies staff (2009). "Biography for Paul Haggis". Turner Classic Movies. Time Warner. Archived from the original on October 19, 2010. Retrieved October 27, 2009.
  3. Riggs, Thomas (2003). Contemporary Theatre Film & Television. Gale / Cengage Learning. p. 181. ISBN 0787663638.
  4. Clarke, Cath (January 6, 2011). "Paul Haggis: 'You have to question your beliefs'". Retrieved April 27, 2011.
  5. Albertson, Cammila (2009). "Paul Haggis - Biography". Allmovie. Macrovision Corporation. Retrieved October 28, 2009.
  6. Rumelski, Kathy (September 12, 2006). "London fans toast Haggis". Jam! Showbiz. Canoe Inc. Archived from the original on January 1, 2013. Retrieved October 28, 2009.
  7. Salem, Rob (February 25, 2007). "Who needs Oscar? He has a mob: Nominee Paul Haggis returns to TV with new crime saga". Toronto Star. Retrieved October 26, 2009.
  8. Buxton, Ryan (June 16, 2014). "Paul Haggis: I Wrote 'Crash' To 'Bust Liberals'". Huffington Post. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  9. Whipp, Glenn (May 8, 2005). "The 'Crash' of '05 - Paul Haggis explores intolerance and isolation in modern L.A." Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved October 28, 2009.
  10. Wright, Lawrence (February 12, 2011). "The Apostate". The New Yorker. Retrieved February 13, 2011.
  11. Tang, Syl (February 17, 2014). "Paul Haggis Receives Millions From Bovet Watches for Haiti Help". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 30, 2015.
  12. Dekel, Jon (September 24, 2012). "Paul Haggis' quest for Peace and Justice in Haiti". Retrieved March 30, 2015.
  13. "Intimate interview with Paul Haggis". Retrieved February 5, 2016.
  14. "'Crash' Director Paul Haggis Accused of Multiple Rapes". January 5, 2018. Retrieved January 6, 2018.
  15. "Director Paul Haggis Accused of Rape, Sexual Misconduct by Multiple Women". Retrieved January 6, 2018.
  16. "Canadian filmmaker Paul Haggis faces more allegations of sexual misconduct". Retrieved January 6, 2018.
  17. Kaplan, Ilana (January 5, 2018). "Paul Haggis: Oscar-winning director denies rape and sexual misconduct allegations made by four women". The Independent. Independent Digital News & Media. Retrieved January 6, 2018.
  18. "Four Women Accuse Paul Haggis of Sexual Misconduct, Including Two Rapes". Retrieved January 6, 2018.
  19. DeGregory, Priscilla (July 10, 2019). "Paul Haggis ordered to give DNA sample in alleged rape case". Page Six. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  20. DeGregory, Priscilla (July 3, 2019). "Paul Haggis allegedly trying to block accusers from providing testimony". Page Six. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  21. Press, Associated (January 5, 2018). "Paul Haggis accused of sexual misconduct by four women". Page Six. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
  22. "Leah Remini Defends Filmmaker And Ex-Scientologist Paul Haggis Against 'Very Suspect' Allegations; Suggests Church May Be Involved". Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  23. Irish Independent staff (January 26, 2008). "The silence of Cruise's 'sinister' Cult". Irish Independent.
  24. Goodstein, Laurie (March 7, 2010). "Breaking With Scientology". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. p. A1.
  25. Brooks, Xan (October 26, 2009). "Film-maker Paul Haggis quits Scientology over gay rights stance". The Guardian. Retrieved October 26, 2009.
  26. Ortega, Tony (October 25, 2009). "'Crash' Director Paul Haggis Ditches Scientology". Runnin' Scared. The Village Voice. Archived from the original on October 27, 2009. Retrieved October 25, 2009.
  27. Moore, Matthew (October 26, 2009). "Crash director Paul Haggis quits Church of Scientology over gay marriage opposition". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved October 26, 2009.
  28. Beaumont, Peter; Toni O'Loughlin; Paul Harris (November 22, 2009). "Celebrities lead charge against Scientology: Hollywood figures quit 'rip-off' church as Australian prime minister threatens parliamentary inquiry into its activities". The Observer. The Guardian. Retrieved November 22, 2009.
  29. Ryan, Mike (November 15, 2010). "Paul Haggis on The Next Three Days, Scientology and Why He's OK With You Hating Crash". Movieline. Movieline LLC. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
  30. Turner Classic Movies staff (2009). "Filmography for Paul Haggis". Turner Classic Movies. Time Warner. Archived from the original on October 19, 2010. Retrieved October 28, 2009.
  31. Allmovie staff (2009). "Paul Haggis - Awards". Allmovie. Macrovision Corporation. Retrieved October 28, 2009.
  32. Bodey, Michael (March 24, 2010). "Indian extravaganza a juicy win for rival capitals of film". The Australian. Retrieved March 23, 2010.
  33. "The Third Person". IMDb. October 17, 2012. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
  34. McNary, Dave (January 28, 2015). "Berlin: Matthew McConaughey's 'Gold' Starts Shooting in June". Retrieved July 1, 2015.
  35. Internet Movie Database staff (2009). "Awards for Paul Haggis". Internet Movie Database., Inc. Retrieved October 27, 2009.
  36. "san diego film festival 2007: award winners". July 3, 2007. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
  37. Kilday, Gregg (February 6, 2016). "2016 DGA Awards: The Complete Winners List". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 9, 2016.
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