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Zak Penn on the Avengers, Action Movies, and Atari Games



The Avengers writer Zak Penn joins the Insiders to talk about writing action blockbusters, and his documentary Atari: Game Over. Writing for the MarvelUNIVERSE, his work on The Incredible Hulk, The Last Action Hero, Suspect Zero, and his ongoing collaborations with the brilliant Werner Herzog are shared. How to write in Hollywood, his own curiosities and passions–including mining for the world’s worst video game for Atari: Game Over, and working on big and low budget movies is shared with host Sebastian Twardosz for the Insider.


Zak Penn’s career began as a screenwriter when he sold his first script, LAST ACTION HERO, at the age of twenty-three. Since then, Penn has become known for his work on numerous films based on Marvel comics, including X-MEN 2 and X-MEN: THE LAST STAND, ELEKTRA, THE INCREDIBLE HULK, and most recently, THE AVENGERS.  He has also dabbled in other genres, writing scripts for disparate films such as P.C.U., BEHIND ENEMY LINES and SUSPECT ZERO.

Penn’s shift into independent cinema began when he collaborated with his idol, Werner Herzog, on the script for RESCUE DAWN.  Penn directed and co-starred with Herzog in INCIDENT AT LOCH NESS, his award-winning “hoax” documentary about the legendary director’s attempts to make a film about the equally legendary monster.  THE GRAND, Penn’s second completely improvised film, was his third film with Herzog, and featured an eclectic cast including Woody Harrelson, David Cross, Ray Romano, Cheryl Hines, Dennis Farina and Gabe Kaplan.

In addition, Penn co-wrote the original story for ANTZ and produced the animated film OSMOSIS JONES.  He has also acted in a number of independent films, including STAR MAPS and CHUCK & BUCK.  His first foray into television was the critically acclaimed original series ALPHAS starring David Strathairn. Penn recently directed the documentary ATARI: GAME OVER for Xbox Entertainment Studios.

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