October 5, 1972
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A versatile screenwriter with a knack for fast-paced action, realistic dialogue and wry humor, Ehren Kruger got his start on the small screen before making his feature debut with 1999's "Arlington Road." A former script assistant at Fox TV and Sandollar Productions, Kruger received his first screen credit with the 1998 USA Network TV-movie "Killers in the House," a nail-biting hostage drama in which a family is held in their own home by ruthless bank robbers. Next his 1996 Nicholl Fellowship-winning script for "Arlington Road" was produced in feature form. Directed by Mark Pellington, the film was both an action-packed thriller and a psychodrama, a disturbing look at the smiling evil of domestic terrorism and one man's struggle with potential paranoia. "Arlington Road" starred Jeff Bridges, Tim Robbins and Joan Cusack and opened with a portrait of mindless destruction that succeeds both as a momentary jolt and an image that haunts for the entire film. Kruger's script for the high-tech espionage drama "New World Disorder" never reached the big screen, but debuted on HBO. He lightened up a bit with his next feature foray, the last installment of the "Scream" trilogy. Faster paced, with more appropriate, less verbose dialogue and lots of surprises, "Scream 3" (2000) was a suitable sequel, capturing the former films' chills as well as tongue-in-cheek attitude, making fun not only of the horror genre as a whole, but the previous "Scream" entries specifically.Audiences would next see the results of Kruger's work in John Frankenheimer's actioner "Reindeer Games" (2000), starring Ben Affleck, Gary Sinise and Charlize Theron. A cleverly scripted crime thriller with countless mistaken identity plot twists and an unforgettable climactic scene featuring Santa suit-clad gun-toting robbers, "Reindeer Games" had a good sense of humor and an enjoyably relentless pace, although its box office showing was much less exciting. Next his feature length script for the gripping futuristic sci-fi film "Impostor" (2000, originally shot as a 40-minute short) about a scientist accused of being an alien spy hit the big screen. In 2002, he contributed to the screenplay for the anticipated revisionist Western "Texas Rangers" A star-studded cast featuring James Van Der Beek and Dylan McDermott and its compelling real-life inspiration -- a 1875 band of teenage law enforcers -- would seem to indicate an audience pleaser. But constant delays in its release had wags wondering if the film would live up to the hype. Should it not do so, Kruger could take some comfort in the demand for his talents. Among the slate of projects to which his name was attached were a remake of the charming fantasy "Bell, Book and Candle," Wayne Wang's China/US government conspiracy gun-running thriller "Dragon Fire" and an adaptation of the oft-filmed John Buchan novel "The 39 Steps" to be directed by Robert Towne.