Screenwriters I Love: Steven de Souza

By Laura Crisp Davis - March 30, 2023
Screenwriters I Love: Steven de Souza

My 2023 #LauraAtTheMovies journey is a list of screenwriters I love and why they inspire me as a writer, competition juror, and fan.

Screenwriter:  Steven de Souza

Best Known For: Knight Rider, Die Hard, Die Hard 2, The Running Man, 48 Hrs.

Awards & Nominations: 

First, not every writer is an "Oscar writer" but that doesn't mean they aren't wildly successful. He's had 4 wins and 2 nominations, and none were part of the golden derby (Oscar, Golden Globe, BAFTA, Emmy, People's Choice, Independent Spirit, etc). However he is one of a small group of writers to bank over $2 billion at the box office. Diehard is consistently listed among the top 100 movies of all time by fans and critics. And you know how much I love when a character leads to a Halloween costume? BOOM.

About the writer: Steven is one of those rare "overnight success stories" except, not exactly. What really happened is he worked his tail off. His early career was in Philadelphia's local television scene writing for cooking shows, commercials, talk shows and anyone else who'd hire him until he realized his next step was Hollywood. Thanks to a family connection to an eager new agent, and an appearance on a game show, he signed with Universal Studios six days after he arrived in town! One television episode lead to another and another until he'd earned a reputation for paring humor and action, which got him his first feature writing gig. 

Why I love their work: He really does have a way with comedy action. In fact, I'd argue his style of writing changed action movies forever. He's the reason Diehard was a huge success, despite major skepticism at the time. Up until 48 Hrs and Diehard, the action genre expected to be taken seriously as big, macho drama. Bruce Willis and Eddie Murphy wouldn't have been considered for action roles if it weren't for de Souza's writing. For more on this, I highly recommend the Netflix series, "The Movies That Made Us," episode about Diehard.

IMDb link: Steven de Souza

Thanks for joining me at the movies,

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Sometimes I'm serious, sometimes I'm silly. Any scripts referenced are for educational purposes only. (My lawyer made me say that part.)