Writer and director James DeMonaco worked on movies in a diverse range of genres across his career. His debut film role was as co-scriptwriter of the Francis Ford Coppola-directed, Robin Williams-starring family medical drama "Jack" (1996), yet his most defining works came as both writer and director of the extremely successful dystopian future-come-home invasion thriller "The Purge" (2013), starring Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey, and its sequel "The Purge: Anarchy" (2014), both about a future America where residents can commit any crime on one night of the year. He previously worked with Hawke on his directorial debut, the small-scale indie crime thriller "Staten Island" (2009). Born in New York City, DeMonaco was himself raised in Staten Island. He attended film school but left early. However it was during this time that he met writer/director Gary Nadeau. DeMonaco and Nadeau co-wrote the script for the Nadeau-directed short film "Red" (1994), which won a Student Academy Award and brought the pair to Coppola's attention for the scripting of "Jack." Very soon after this, DeMonaco wrote the Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey-starring action thriller "The Negotiator" (1998). A career dry spell followed until he scripted the remake of "Assault on Precinct 13" (2005), whose original director John Carpenter was a huge influence on the "Purge" films.