Derek Haas co-wrote the screenplay 3:10 to Yuma, starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. He also co-wrote the film Wanted, starring James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman, and Angelina Jolie. The Silver Bear is his first novel. Derek lives in Los Angeles.
Question: What was the inspiration for your first screenplay?
Derek Hass:I always wanted to be a writer since I was a 12-year-old kid and my dad would leave books lying around. I remember distinctively picking up Stephen King’s Different Seasons at age 11 and that really changed my life. I asked for a typewriter that year for Christmas and my parents gave me the old-fashioned kind that you would hit the keys on really hard with your little fingers. I just kept all the way through school wanting to be a writer, kept taking the English classes, went to college at Baylor in Waco, Texas, and ended up taking a screenwriting class there as an undergrad. That’s where I met my writing partner, Michael Brant. Well, we knew each other socially but when we took that class together, we said we should do this. We kind of had the same sensibilities, so we thought we should do this together. We wrote one terrible screenplay in that class. I stayed for graduate school and got a Masters in English Lit. I had a great creative writing professor who told me pretty much, “I can’t teach you how to write but you should read everything you get your hands on,” and so convinced me to go into the academia part of it, but as I was studying poetry and things that would have never touched or picked up on my own, I realized I didn’t want to talk about other people’s writings, I just wanted to continue doing my own. After school I worked in advertising for a little while and then Michael and I, Michael was out in Hollywood editing movies and we just had this idea for a script. It was about a guy who delivered things to people that didn’t want to be reached. It was called The Courier and that was the first script we sold back in 1999.