December 31, 1976
New York, New York, USA
Writer-director Chris Terrio made an auspicious debut behind the camera with the 2005 Merchant Ivory production "Heights," but found even greater success in 2012 as the writer of Ben Affleck's popular thriller "Argo," which set in motion his status as one of Hollywood's most in-demand scribes. Born Dec. 31, 1976, Terrio's path to feature films began as a literature student at Harvard University. There, he encountered acclaimed director James Ivory, whom he contacted following a speech at the school. To Terrio's surprise, Ivory sent him a letter in return, which marked the beginning of their professional relationship. After transferring to the University of Southern California to study film production, Terrio's background in literature earned him an assistant position to Ivory on "The Golden Bowl" (2000). Subsequent work for the director's famed film company, Merchant Ivory Productions, included shooting a behind-the-scenes documentary for "Le Divorce" (2003) before Ivory's partner, producer Ismail Merchant, offered him a script by Amy Fox called "Heights" that had remained in development for several years. Terrio made his directorial debut with the 2005 release, which featured an all-star cast led by Elizabeth Banks, Glenn Close, James Marsden and Isabella Rossellini. Despite a premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, Terrio received no subsequent directing offers, and turned to writing scripts. In 2010, he returned briefly to the director's chair for an episode of "Damages" (FX/Audience Network, 2007-2012).
Though highly regarded by industry insiders, Terrio's screenplays went unproduced until 2011, when producers George Clooney and Grant Heslov hired him to pen a script based on the Canadian Caper, a famed joint effort between the CIA and Canadian government to rescue American diplomats trapped in Iran during the 1979 revolution by means of an elaborate ruse to portray them as Hollywood film scouts researching Middle Eastern locations for a science fiction movie. Directed by and co-starring Ben Affleck, the resulting picture, "Argo" (2011), was a box office hit as well as a critical success which earned Terrio an Oscar for Best (Adapted) Screenplay. He was soon attached to several high-profile feature projects, including a reunion with Clooney and Heslov on a crime thriller for director Paul Greengrass, an English-language remake of the French film "Tell No One" (2006), and "A Murder Foretold," a drama based on a New Yorker article about a Guatemalen businessman's search for his wife's killers. In 2012, he signed a much-publicized two-picture script deal with Warner Bros.
By Paul Gaita