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Roberto Orci

Roberto Orci
Robert Orci in 2014
Born (1973-07-20) July 20, 1973
Mexico City, Mexico
Other names Robert Orci, Rob Orci, Bob Orci
Alma mater University of Texas at Austin
Occupation Screenwriter, film and television producer
Years active 1997–present
Spouse(s) Melissa Blake

Roberto Gaston Orci (born July 20, 1973) is a Mexican-American film and television screenwriter and producer. He began to work with longtime collaborator Alex Kurtzman while at school in California, and together they have worked on television series such as Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess, and have created Sleepy Hollow alongside Phillip Iscove, and Fringe with J. J. Abrams. Orci and Kurtzman's first film project was Michael Bay's The Island, and due to that partnership they went on to write the scripts for the first three films of the Transformers film series.

Orci first became a film producer with 2008's The George Pal Memorial Award.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
    • Television and film screenwriting 2.1
    • Becoming a producer 2.2
    • Star Trek 2.3
    • Breakup of the partnership 2.4
  • Awards and accolades 3
  • Filmography 4
    • Television credits 4.1
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life

Orci was born in Mexico City on July 20, 1973,[1][2] to a Mexican father and a Cuban mother. His mother immigrated to the United States with her parents after Fidel Castro came to power.[1] He is the older brother of screenwriter-producer J. R. Orci. He was raised in Canada, Texas, and Los Angeles.[3]

He met his longtime friend and collaborator Alex Kurtzman when both were 17-year-old students at Crossroads, a privately funded school in Santa Monica, California.[3] The first time they came across each other was in a film class,[4] where they discovered each other's love for movies. The duo found that they had a number of things in common, as Kurtzman had previously lived in Mexico City and the two could relate. Orci later called him a "honorary Hispanic".[5] Orci went on to attend the University of Texas at Austin.[3] The duo got together once again, and began to write scripts. These included one called Misfortune Cookies which Orci described as "loosely autobiographical",[6] and Last Kiss, which Kurtzman said was their version of The Breakfast Club but was set in a lunatic asylum.[6]

The duo modelled their relationship on writers Billy Wilder and I. A. L. Diamond, but were much closer friends rather than just writing partners. They took the approach that they were in a band together and purposely studied teams to discover why they break up, and Kurtzman later explained in 2009 that "One big thing that makes the wheels start to wobble is when someone feels that the contribution isn't 50-50. We make sure we live up to the partnership. If we didn't, we wouldn't have lasted this long."[7]


Television and film screenwriting

Orci's longtime writing partner Alex Kurtzman

Orci and Kurtzman began their writing collaboration on the television series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys,[8] after being hired by Sam Raimi.[6] After actor Kevin Sorbo suffered a stroke, the duo were required to come up with inventive ideas to minimise his appearances on screen. Due to this work, they became show runners at the age of 24.[8] They were also involved in the sister-series to Hercules, Xena: Warrior Princess.[6] Together they collaborated with director J. J. Abrams on Alias, and went on to work together again on the Fox science fiction series Fringe where all three were listed as co-creators.[9]

They received their break in writing for films in 2004, with the Michael Bay film The Island. While this wasn't an overwhelming success, they were brought back for Bay's following film – Transformers which took $710 million at the box office.[8] Following their work on that film, the duo were brought in to revise the script for Zack Snyder's Watchmen,[10] in an uncredited capacity.[11] They worked once more with Abrams, on Mission: Impossible III.[12]

In the period between 2005 and 2011, the films written by Kurtzman and Orci grossed more than $3 billion, leading to Forbes describing them as "Hollywood's secret weapons".[8] They started to become so busy with their screenwriting careers that they needed to write in collaboration with other writers due to the number of projects they were involved in. For example, on Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, they teamed up with Ehren Kruger,[6] who took over from them on the writing duties for the Transfomers franchise from Transformers: Dark of the Moon onwards.[13]

Becoming a producer

Orci in 2009

Orci's first credit solely as a producer came with the film Eagle Eye, where he worked once again along Kurtzman. He said in an interview with the magazine Extra that he had previously been involved in productions where the producers had writing backgrounds and had looked to them for help, and he was happy to provide that same support to the writers on the film.[5] The director of the film, D. J. Caruso, praised the duo saying that "What's unusually cool about them is that they have maintained the producer-writer power that they earned in television and carried that over into the feature film area, and that is extremely rare."[7] Following their work on Eagle Eye, they were executive producers on the Sandra Bullock film, The Proposal.[7]

Despite their film careers, Orci and Kurtzman continued to create television series. These included Sleepy Hollow, which they developed alongside Phillip Iscove. They pitched the series to a number of networks,[14] and was taken up by Fox TV.[15] Orci took five years to bring the series Matador to television, with it originating from a conversation with his cousin Andrew. It was created for Robert Rodriguez's El Rey Network, and Rodriguez's one demand of the show was that he could direct the pilot episode. Orci later explained in an interview that it was an easy decision, and he needed to pretend to consider it.[16]

Orci and Kurtzman also worked together as executive producers on the animated television series, Transformers: Prime, due to their involvement with the live action movies. Following the end of the series they were hopeful to be involved in a future animated series based on the premise, which Orci saw less like a reboot of the show and more of a continuation in a different guise. He felt that while Prime was sophisticated, there were concerns that it was leaving younger viewers behind because of the complexity and intensity.[17]

Star Trek

After working with him on Alias and Fringe, Orci and Kurtzman continued working with J. J. Abrams (pictured) on films such as Mission Impossible III and Star Trek.

Orci and Kurtzman were asked to write the script for a new Star Trek film, but initially turned it down despite Orci being a fan of the series.[6] But Orci suggested rebooting the timeline as seen previously in the films and television series,[18] and adding the return of Leonard Nimoy as Spock from Star Trek: The Original Series.[6] He considered the first two films in the reboot series to be the origin story for the crew, and that the third film will start where the crew was at the beginning of Star Trek: The Original Series.[19] Orci felt that the relationship between the James T. Kirk and the younger Spock was reflective of the partnership of himself and Kurtzman, he said that "We didn't even realize we were writing about ourselves until we were halfway through the script, that was a little embarrassing.[7]

As of June 2009, Star Trek was the biggest grossing film at the domestic box-office in the United States, resulting in a sequel being greenlit by the studio and Kurtzman and Orci being asked to write it.[20] The studio set aside a larger budget for the sequel, which was revealed by Orci in an interview with[21] Orci ruled out the "hero quitting" staple of a second movie, which had featured in the Transformers sequel, saying that the crew of the Enterprise were committed and that type of story doesn't have to apply to all sequels.[22] During the buildup to the film, called Star Trek Into Darkness, Orci was one of the production team who didn't give much away about the villain in the film and denied that Benedict Cumberbatch was to play Khan Noonian Singh.[23][24]

The criticism of the sequel resulted in Orci posting controversial comments on a Star Trek fan site. In response to a fan upset over Into Darkness, Orci said: "STID has infinitely more social commentary than Raiders in every Universe, and I say that with Harrison Ford being a friend. You lose credibility big time when you don’t honestly engage with the FUCKING WRITER OF THE MOVIE ASKING YOU AN HONEST QUESTION. You prove the cliche of shitty fans. And rude in the process. So, as Simon Pegg would say: FUCK OFF!"[25] He later apologized and deactivated his Twitter account.[26]

Breakup of the partnership

In April 2014, Orci and Kurtzman confirmed to ‘’Variety’' that they are no longer going to work together on film projects but will still work together only on television.[9][27] Kurtzman wanted to be more involved in the Spider-Man film franchise, while Orci was linked to the directorial role for Star Trek 3.[9] Orci confirmed later that year in July that he was not involved in the production of 'The Amazing 'Spider-Man 3 alongside Kurtzman.[28] Orci and Kurtzman's K/O Paper Products continues to operate as a production company within CBS Television Studios, and announced that they were working on a pilot based on the 2011 film Limitless.[29]

Prior to the split of Kurtzman and Orci, the duo were lined up to write the third film in the new Star Trek series.[30] In May 2014, Skydance and Paramount Pictures announced that Orci was to direct the third installment of the Star Trek reboot franchise,[31] after Abrams moved on to direct Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This would have marked Orci's directorial debut, and he was to write the script alongside co-writers JD Payne and Patrick McKay.[32] Due to his commitment to Star Trek 3, he dropped out of a new Power Rangers film in which he would have been executive producer.[33] But on December 5, it was announced he would no longer be directing the film.[34] He remains credited as a producer on the film,[35] and was replaced by Doug Jung and cast member Simon Pegg as the script writers after Orci's initial script was dropped.[36][37] Orci was replaced as director by Justin Lin, who had previously directed films in The Fast and the Furious franchise.[36]

Awards and accolades

Saturn Awards.[40]

Orci and Kurtzman were both honored by the nonprofit organization Chrysalis, alongside [41]


Year Film Credit Notes Ref(s)
2005 The Island Co-writer [8]
The Legend of Zorro Co-writer [42]
2006 Mission: Impossible III Co-writer [5]
2007 Transformers Co-writer [8]
2008 Eagle Eye Producer [5]
2009 Watchmen Co-writer Uncredited script polish [11]
Star Trek Co-writer and executive producer [4][40][43][44][45]
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Co-writer [4][46]
The Proposal Executive producer [7]
2011 Cowboys & Aliens Co-writer, producer [47]
2012 People Like Us Co-writer, producer [48]
2013 Star Trek Into Darkness Co-writer, producer [49]
Now You See Me Producer [50]
Ender's Game Producer [51]
2014 The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Co-writer, executive producer [52]
2016 Now You See Me: The Second Act Producer [53]
The Mummy Producer [54]
Star Trek Beyond Producer [34]
TBA Van Helsing Producer [54]

Television credits

Year TV Program Credit Notes Ref
1997–1998 Hercules: The Legendary Journeys Writer, co-executive producer [8]
1999–2000 Xena: Warrior Princess Writer, co-executive producer, creative consultant [6]
2000 Jack of All Trades Writer, executive producer [16]
2001–2006 Alias Writer, supervising producer, co-executive producer, executive producer [9]
2004 The Secret Service Co-creator, co-writer, executive producer Pilot [55]
2008–2013 Fringe Co-creator, writer, executive producer, consulting producer
  • Nominated – Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form (2013)
  • Nominated – Writers Guild of America Award for Long Form – Original (2009)
  • Nominated – Writers Guild of America Award for New Series (2009)
2010–2013 Transformers: Prime Executive producer
  • Won – Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class Animated Program (2012)
2010–present Hawaii Five-0 Developer, writer, executive producer [59]
2011 Locke & Key Co-creator, co-writer, executive producer Pilot [60]
Exit Strategy Co-creator, co-writer, executive producer Pilot [61]
2013–present Sleepy Hollow Co-creator, co-writer, executive producer [14]
2014 Matador Co-creator, co-writer, executive producer [16]
Scorpion Executive producer [62]
2015 Limitless Executive producer [63]


  1. ^ a b Pascale, Anthony (July 1, 2010). "Star Trek Writer Roberto Orci Reveals Personal Connection To Spock". Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Roberto Orci". IGN. Retrieved February 20, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c Schoeneman, Deborah (July 31, 2009). "A Night Out With Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci". The New York Times. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d Barker, Andrew (August 21, 2009). "Scribe's career in stratosphere: Roberto Orci". Variety ( 
  5. ^ a b c d Martinez, Kiko (September 24, 2008). "Roberto Orci". Extra ( 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h "The Wonderful World of Orci & Kurtzman". Empire ( 
  7. ^ a b c d e Boucher, Geoff (April 5, 2009). Star Trek' pair cling to writing partnership"'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g "Roberto Orci And Alex Kurtzman: Hollywood's Secret Weapons". Forbes. May 18, 2011. Retrieved February 19, 2015. 
  9. ^ a b c d e Kit, Borys (April 22, 2014). "Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci Splitting Up as Movie Team". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 19, 2015. 
  10. ^ "New Watchmen Writers?". IGN. October 2, 2007. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  11. ^ a b "Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci Re-Writing 'Amazing Spider-Man' Sequel". HitFix. April 24, 2012. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  12. ^ "`Lost' creator boldly takes on `Star Trek' XI". Chicago Tribune. April 22, 2006. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  13. ^ Goldberg, Matt (April 26, 2012). "Ehren Kruger Returns to Write TRANSFORMERS 4; Shia LaBeouf Definitely Out". Collider. Retrieved February 20, 2015. (subscription required (help)). 
  14. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie (July 20, 2012). "Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci Shop 'Sleepy Hollow' Series; Len Wiseman Set To Direct". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 19, 2015. 
  15. ^ Radish, Christina (September 16, 2013). "Executive Producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci Talk SLEEPY HOLLOW, a New Version of Ichabod Crane, Making the Mythology Accessible, and More". Collider. Retrieved February 19, 2015. 
  16. ^ a b c Whittaker, Richard (July 15, 2014). "'"Roberto Orci Grabs the Bull by the Horns for 'Matador. Austin Chronicle. Retrieved February 19, 2015. 
  17. ^ a b "Roberto Orci on the Next Transfomers Animated Series and Whether it will Continue Transformer's Prime Story". IGN. August 7, 2013. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  18. ^ Ashley, Kendall. "Roberto Orci Continues To Attack Star Trek Fans Online Over His Reboot Choices". Cinema Blend. Retrieved February 19, 2015. 
  19. ^ Williams, Owen (June 27, 2014). "Roberto Orci Hints At Star Trek's Future". Empire. Retrieved February 19, 2015. 
  20. ^ Weintraub, Steve (June 19, 2009). "Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman Talk Star Trek Sequel Villain Ideas and Cowboys and Aliens". Collider. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  21. ^ Fowler, Tara (January 22, 2012). "'"Roberto Orci: 'Star Trek 2's budget will be bigger. Digital Spy. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  22. ^ Anders, Charlie Jane (July 29, 2009). "Roberto Orci: Star Trek 2 Won't Follow Transformers 2 Formula". io9. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  23. ^ "Star Trek 2 – Roberto Orci Talks Star Trek Sequel". IGN. April 4, 2011. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  24. ^ Woods, Travis (July 16, 2012). Star Trek 2' Writer Denies Villain Reveal, Announces Trailer Release"'". ScreenCrave. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  25. ^ Bailey, Jason (September 9, 2013). "‘Star Trek’ Writer’s Comments-Section Meltdown Proves Creators Need to Leave Angry Fans Alone". Flavorwire. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  26. ^ Kaye, Don (December 9, 2014). "Roberto Orci surfaces online to speak out on Star Trek 3". blastr. Retrieved February 19, 2015. 
  27. ^ "Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci Splitting Up on Bigscreen (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. April 22, 2014. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  28. ^ Alexander, Susannah (July 13, 2014). "The Amazing Spider-Man 3: Roberto Orci confirms departure". Digital Spy. Retrieved February 19, 2015. 
  29. ^ Goldberg, Leslie (January 28, 2015). Limitless' Remake Among CBS Pilot Orders"'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 19, 2015. 
  30. ^ Kroll, Justin (August 5, 2013). "Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci Return to Write ‘Star Trek 3′". Variety. Retrieved February 19, 2015. 
  31. ^ Kroll, Justin (May 13, 2014). "Roberto Orci to Direct ‘Star Trek 3′ (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved December 28, 2014 
  32. ^ Geoghegan, Kev (August 11, 2014). "Simon Pegg hails new Star Trek director Roberto Orci". BBC News. Retrieved February 19, 2015. 
  33. ^ Fleming Jr., Mike (September 19, 2014). "Roberto Orci’s ‘Star Trek 3′ Commitment Knocks Him Out Of ‘Power Rangers’ Pic". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 19, 2015. 
  34. ^ a b Kroll, Justin (5 December 2014). "'"Roberto Orci Will No Longer Direct 'Star Trek 3. Variety. Retrieved 28 December 2014. 
  35. ^ Kreps, Daniel (December 6, 2014). "'"Director Roberto Orci Drops Out of 'Star Trek 3. Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 19, 2015. 
  36. ^ a b "Simon Pegg to co-write Star Trek 3". BBC News. January 22, 2015. Retrieved February 19, 2015. 
  37. ^ Wales, George (December 28, 2014). "Roberto Orci reveals Star Trek 3 will not use his script". GamesRadar. Retrieved February 19, 2015. 
  38. ^ "THR’s Latino Power 50". Latin Gossip. July 31, 2007. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  39. ^ "National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts Names Juanes as the Raul Julia Award". Entertainment Close-up ( 
  40. ^ a b "Saturn Awards open Pandora’s box". Variety. June 24, 2010. Retrieved August 18, 2015. 
  41. ^ Flans, Lindsay (May 7, 2013). Star Trek' Producers Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci to be Honored by Chrysalis Butterfly Ball"'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  42. ^ Lowry, Brian (October 24, 2005). "The Legend of Zorro". Variety ( 
  43. ^ "2010 Hugo Award Nominees – Details".  
  44. ^ "Star Trek snags 17 Scream Awards nominations".  
  45. ^ King, Susan (January 12, 2010). "Writers Guild nominates 'Avatar,' Star Trek,' 'Hangover' for awards". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 18, 2015. 
  46. ^ Sciretta, Peter (March 7, 2010). "30th Annual Razzie Award Winners Announced". /Film. Retrieved August 18, 2015. 
  47. ^ Mermelstein, David (July 24, 2011). "Can aliens knock the dust off the Western?". Washington Post ( 
  48. ^ Burr, Ty (June 29, 2012). "Earnest 'People' Won't Transform You". Boston Globe ( 
  49. ^ "Abrams Loses It in Taking 'Star Trek' into Darkness". Washington Times ( 
  50. ^ Fairley, Juliette (May 22, 2013). Now You See Me' Cast Believes in Magic"'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  51. ^ Graser, Marc (July 18, 2013). "Comic-Con: 'Ender's Game' Filmmakers Talk LGBT Controversy". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  52. ^ Fleming, Mike (April 24, 2012). "Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci Re-Writing Sequel To ‘Amazing Spider-Man’". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  53. ^ Ford, Rebecca (September 9, 2014). Now You See Me 2,' 'Dirty Grandpa' Get Release Dates"'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  54. ^ a b "Universal Signs Kurtzman And Orci; Pair Takes On ‘The Mummy’ And ‘Van Helsing’".  
  55. ^ Tarzan' co-star gets new lead role"'". Chicago Tribune. February 11, 2004. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  56. ^ "2009 Writers Guild Awards Television & Radio Nominees Announced for 2009". Writers Guild of America. Archived from the original on February 12, 2012. Retrieved August 18, 2015. 
  57. ^ "2013 Hugo Awards". Hugo Awards. Retrieved August 18, 2015. 
  58. ^ "Transformers Prime’ Honored With Two Daytime Emmy Awards". Hasbro Studios. June 19, 2012. Retrieved August 18, 2015. 
  59. ^ "Fans Stake out Seats for 'Hawaii Five-0' Premiere". Honolulu Star and Advertiser ( 
  60. ^ Kit, Borys (July 10, 2014). "Universal's 'Locke & Key' Adaptation Finds Writer (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  61. ^ Ng, Philiana (January 21, 2011). "Fox Snags Ethan Hawke Pilot". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  62. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (February 4, 2014). "CBS Orders Genius Drama From EPs Scooter Braun, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  63. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (May 8, 2015). Limitless', 'Rush Hour', 'Criminal Minds' Spinoff, 'Code', 'Life' Among CBS Orders"'".  

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