The MFA in Writing & Contemporary Media and KCRW hosted an evening with acclaimed writer and director Billy Ray. Morning Edition host Jonathan Bastian interviewed Ray about his career that has spanned over three decades. During the conversation, Ray shared information about his early career, he sold a script for an episode of The Jetsons at age 19, and his path to writing major Hollywood hits like The Hunger Games and Captain Phillips, for which he received an Oscar nomination.
Ray also talked about his engagement with politics and political material, such as his upcoming adaptation of the James Comey book A Higher Loyalty as a four-hour movie for CBS/Showtime, which Ray will also direct. Next up in theaters are his scripts for Gemini Man, directed by Ang Lee and starring Will Smith, and Terminator: Dark Fate.
The event was held on Tuesday, June 19 as part of the MFA program’s week-long on-campus residency. Students who attended the interview as well as Ray’s two-hour master class in screenwriting the following day came away from the experience awed, inspired, and chomping at the bit to get back to their computers and start applying Billy Ray’s insights on story and character to their own work.