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Sayles, John

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author, Film.

(1950-    ) US author and film-maker who made his reputation as a writer with the novels Pride of the Bimbos (1975) and Union Dues (1977) and his collection The Anarchist's Convention (coll 1979). He began writing scripts for exploitation movies in the late 1970s, and enjoyed a burst of creativity in association with Roger Corman, Joe Dante, Lewis Teague and Steven Spielberg. His sf and fantasy screenplays, always lively and self-aware, are Piranha (1978), Battle beyond the Stars (1980), The Howling (1980), Alligator (1980), The Clan of the Cave Bear (1985) and Wild Thing (1989). «Night Skies», a Horror script about an isolated farm besieged by Alien visitors, was commissioned by Spielberg but then abandoned in favour of the similar but more benevolent Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977); Sayles later wrote the script for a moderately early stage of Jurassic World (2015), fourth in the sequence begun with Jurassic Park (1993) directed by Steven Spielberg.

Sayles made his own directorial debut with Return of the Secaucus 7 (1980), and has made a number of well received non-genre films since, including Lianna (1981) and Baby, It's You (1983). His sole sf film as director is The Brother from Another Planet (1984), in which the story of a Black Alien who crashlands in Harlem is used to tackle Sayles's usual concerns. [KN]

see also: Cinema.

John Sayles

born Schenectady, New York: 28 September 1950


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