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Writers on Writing - Francis Veber
This prolific French writer and director originally intended to become a doctor but switched to journalism before finding his calling on the stage and screen. Francis Veber began his writing career while serving in the military, contributing to an army publication. After his military discharge, he worked as a radio reporter and then segued to writing scripts for television and theater.
With 1971's Il etait une fois un flic (There Once Was a Cop) (1971), Veber began his feature career in earnest. For much of the 1970s, he served as writer of a number of successful, farcical comedies. Among his more popular scripts were Le Grand blond avec une chaussure noire (The Tall Blond Man With One Black Shoe) (1973), La Cage aux folles (1978), for which he shared an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay, and Annaud's Coup de tete (Hot Head) (1979). Veber made his directorial debut with Le Jouet in 1976.
Several of his films proved so successful in his native France that Hollywood soon beckoned. No less a talent than Billy Wilder used a Veber's play for the basis of the celebrated director's final film, Buddy Buddy (1981). Veber made his American directorial debut with Three Fugitives (1989). He returned to France in the early 1990s, picking up where he left off. Veber crafted one of his biggest hits and most artistically satisfying films with 1998's Le Diner de cons (The Dinner Game). He continued his winning streak into the new century, writing and directing the hits Le placard (The Closet) in 2001 and La doublure (The Valet) in 2006.