Christopher McQuarrie

As the childhood friend and frequent collaborator of director Bryan Singer, screenwriter and sometime helmer Christopher McQuarrie was catapulted to the upper echelons of the screenwriting world after winning the Oscar for the widely hailed noir thriller "The Usual Suspects" (1995). In breaking all the rules for screenwriting - mainly because he was unaware of them - McQuarrie redefined the crime-noir genre and became one of the most sought-after writers in the business. But such blessings came with a price after he was given the chance to direct his first feature, "The Way of the Gun" (2000), a graphic thriller that polarized audiences and critics on its way to becoming a box office failure. For the next seven plus years, McQuarrie was trapped in development hell on a number of movies that never made it to production, frustrating him to the point of wanting to quit the business altogether. But Singer managed to pull his old friend back in by directing McQuarrie's spec script for "Valkyrie" (2008), a World War II thriller about a Nazi plot to assassinate Hitler. From there, he wrote the scripts for two more critically derided films, "Killshot" (2009) and "The Tourist" (2010), but managed to earn praise for writing and directing the highly anticipated adaptation of "Jack Reacher" (2012) and "Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation" (2015). Whether behind the camera or the keyboard, McQuarrie's gift for telling unique stories and redefining genre tropes remained the one constant in his otherwise turbulent career.