Arthur Carlton Cuse (born March 22, 1959) is an American screenwriter and producer, best known for the American television series Lost, for which he made the Time magazine list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2010. Cuse is considered a pioneer in transmedia storytelling and is also highly respected amongst his professional peers for his collaborative achievements.
Courtesy of A+E Networks
Arthur Carlton Cuse
March 22, 1959
|Alma mater||Harvard University|
Christiane Hart (m. 1985)
Cuse was born in Mexico City, Mexico, to American parents. His father was working in Mexico for Cuse's grandfather, who had a machine-tool manufacturing business. Cuse's paternal grandfather was Latvian, of Baltic German heritage. After a few years in Mexico City, his parents moved to Boston, Massachusetts. A few years later, his father accepted a job in Tustin, California. Cuse was raised a Roman Catholic. He went to boarding school in the tenth grade to The Putney School in Vermont. The school was on a working dairy farm, and placed a strong emphasis on an education in the arts, music and the outdoors. It was at The Putney School, Cuse said, that he realized he wanted to be a writer.
Cuse attended Harvard University (class of 1981) and was recruited at freshmen registration by Ted Washburn for the rowing team. In his words, he became "a hardcore athlete". Cuse's original plan was to attend medical school but he instead majored in American history. During his junior year at Harvard, Cuse organized a test screening for the makers of the Paramount film Airplane!. The producers wanted to record the audience reaction to time the final cut of the jokes in the film. Cuse said that was when he started thinking about a career in film.
Cuse teamed up with a Harvard classmate, Hans Tobeason, and made a documentary about rowing at Harvard called Power Ten. He convinced actor, writer and fellow Harvard graduate George Plimpton to narrate the film. After graduating, Cuse headed for Hollywood, and worked as an assistant to a studio head, then as a script reader. By working as a reader, he said, he learned screenwriting.
In 1984, Cuse took a job working as an assistant producer for Bernard Schwartz and then spent a year and a half working on Sweet Dreams, directed by Karel Reisz, starring Jessica Lange and Ed Harris. He described the experience as his version of film school. Through a friend, David J. Burke, Cuse was hired as a writer on the Michael Mann series Crime Story. In 1986, Cuse wrote two teleplays for the series.
San Andreas (2015)Edit
Cuse wrote the screenplay for the 2015 disaster film San Andreas. The film was directed by Brad Peyton, starred Dwayne Johnson, and was released in the United States on May 29, 2015. San Andreas was the top-grossing film for Warner Bros. in 2015 with $473.5 million worldwide.
Carlton Cuse and Ryan Condal rewrote Ryan Engle's screenplay adaptation of the video game franchise Rampage. The film, reuniting Cuse and Condal with San Andreas director Brad Peyton, producer Beau Flynn and star Dwayne Johnson, began production in early April 2017 for New Line/Warner Bros. The film premiered on April 13, 2018, and was the #1 film in the U.S. its opening weekend, earning $35.8M. The global gross was $426M. Rampage also had one of the best showings ever for a video game adaptation.
The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. (1993–1994)Edit
Because of his involvement with Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, an executive at Fox, Bob Greenblatt, asked Cuse and Boam if they would be interested in doing a television version of the old movie serials. Cuse said yes and wrote The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., about a Harvard-educated bounty hunter who wants to avenge the death of his father, the most famous lawman in the Old West. Fox gave the go ahead for the series. Brisco also had a science fiction element, in the form of a mysterious orb which appears in several episodes. Boam went back to making features, leaving Cuse to co-create and executive produce the critically acclaimed series. Afterwards, Cuse gave much of the credit for the show's success to actor Bruce Campbell who played Brisco County, Jr., the lead character.
Nash Bridges (1996–2001)Edit
After Brisco, Cuse met Don Johnson, who had a commitment from CBS to make a new series. With Johnson's blessing, Cuse went off and wrote the pilot for Nash Bridges. Johnson liked it and CBS did too, ordering 14 episodes off the script without making a pilot. Nash Bridges was the first series that Les Moonves greenlit as the head of CBS. It ran for six seasons and 121 episodes.
Martial Law (1998)Edit
Cuse created and executive produced the CBS series Martial Law, starring Arsenio Hall and Sammo Hung Kam-Bo, one of martial arts legend Jackie Chan's closest friends and collaborators. Cuse adapted the world of Hong Kong cinema to American television in a story about a Shanghai cop who comes to the LAPD on an exchange program. A team of eight top Chinese stuntmen and coordinators out of Hong Kong were hired. Stanley Tong, who had directed many of Jackie Chan's biggest Hong Kong features, directed the pilot. Sammo Hung became the first Chinese actor to star as the lead in an American TV series. Cuse was running both Martial Law and Nash Bridges simultaneously. The workload became creatively and physically difficult, which led to him leaving Martial Law, and focus exclusively on Nash Bridges. Another factor, Cuse said, were creative differences with Sammo Hung about the future direction of Martial Law.
Cuse was an executive producer and joint showrunner on Lost with Damon Lindelof. They met in the sixth season of Nash Bridges. Cuse hired Lindelof, giving him his first staff writer job on a television series. A few years later Lindelof and J. J. Abrams wrote the pilot for Lost. Shortly after the Lost pilot was shot, Abrams left the show to do Mission: Impossible III with Tom Cruise. Lindelof had no experience as a showrunner and called Cuse for showrunning advice on the side. He then asked Cuse to come work on the show.
The Cuse/Lindelof partnership was very productive. They wrote roughly a third of the episodes together as well as showrunning the series in tandem overseeing all the creative work on the series, including all story construction, rewrites, casting, production, editing, music and marketing. In an August 2018 article entitled "The 100 Best TV Episodes of the Century" The Ringer ranked a Lost episode, "The Constant" written by Cuse & Lindelof, as the #1 TV Episode of the Century. Cuse said, "A great partnership can lead to great TV. In the case of Lost it worked out great; I could not have had a better partner than Damon."
Cuse said that Lost "showed that it was possible on network TV to tell a highly complex, serialized narrative with intentional ambiguity‚ leaving the audience room to debate and discuss the meaning and intentions of the narrative‚ and still find a large audience."
Virtual communities sprung up around the show and new media technology allowed fans to interact with each other and form a community. The rise of social media occurred simultaneously with Lost. It allowed people around the world to not only debate and discuss the show but also work together and pool their resources to generate content like Lostpedia, a fan-created encyclopedia about the show. They also created Lost University. Viewers who bought Lost on Blu-ray could take courses at Lost U. on Lost related subjects like time travel, and Lost fans who become experts became the instructors of those courses.
Transmedia in LostEdit
Cuse says he wanted to use other media to tell stories that would never make it onto the network show. Cuse and Lindelof created the first ARG (Alternative Reality Game) that connected as a narrative into a network TV show. Cuse believes this ARG redefined the way in which the Internet and a TV show could be integrated, and broke new ground in how a TV show could be marketed. Lost was also the first TV network series show to create original content for mobile phones. Their last ARG, Dharma Wants You‚ won an Emmy in 2009 for Creative Achievement in Interactive Media.
The future of LostEdit
Cuse told Digital Spy, "Disney owns the franchise, it made them a lot of money, it's hard to imagine it will just sit there idly forever. Damon (Lindelof) and I told our story in that world and I assume someone will come along, hopefully having been inspired by our story, or our version of the story, and want to tell their own story. It's like the Narnia chronicles. There are seven books, they were all written by C.S. Lewis, but they all visit Narnia at different times and different configurations and different ways. Someone is going to come up with a way to tell another Lost story. I think it's inevitable. I don't know what it is or how it would work, but I can't imagine something else won't be done with the franchise."
Bates Motel (2013–2017)Edit
Cuse was the creator, writer, showrunner and executive producer with Kerry Ehrin of the A&E series Bates Motel which premiered on March 18, 2013 on the A&E Network. The series was described as a "contemporary prequel" to the 1960 film Psycho and follows the formative years of Norman Bates and his relationship with his mother, Norma, prior to the events portrayed in the Hitchcock film. The first season received critical praise, with Vera Farmiga (Norma Bates) being nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2013. The series followed Cuse and Ehrin's original plan to run for five seasons of ten episodes each for a total of fifty episodes. An episode of Bates Motel's in season 4, entitled "Forever," written by Carlton Cuse with Kerry Ehrin, made the New York Times Memorable TV Episodes of 2016 list and the Hollywood Reporter's 2016 Best Episode list. For its final season, Bates Motel also won 2017 People's Choice awards for Favorite Cable Drama, and Favorite Actor and Actress for Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga. The fifth and final season also included the television series debut of R&B music star Rihanna as Marion Crane, the role Janet Leigh played in the original film Psycho. Cuse himself appeared in a cameo role as a highway patrol officer who pulls over and questions Marion Crane during her escape.
TV Guide wrote that "Bates Motel… remains one of the defining shows of the content-deluged era we're living in…It was based on a well-established franchise (Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho) that was being updated for a modern audience... It's maintained a high level of quality throughout its run and used its source material in creative and surprising ways... It's a master class on how to breathe new life into an old franchise and how to respect source material without being beholden to it. The Guardian wrote: " Bates Motel – arguably the best horror series ever made – succeeded because it owed more to Breaking Bad than Psycho in its depiction of a slow slide into evil. It wasn't about a lunatic running around murdering people. It was about a relationship between two people, and that's why the denouement landed such a sickening punch.
The Strain (2014–2017)Edit
Cuse is showrunner, executive producer, developer and writer of The Strain, an FX drama series based on the vampire novel trilogy by co-authors Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. Del Toro co-wrote and directed the pilot episode. Hogan also co-wrote the screenplay for the first episode and then worked as a writer and producer for all four seasons of the show. The Strain premiered on July 13, 2014. In the first book The Strain, a Boeing 777 lands in Washington D.C. with all the passengers dead and signs of an epidemiological crisis aboard the plane. It is later discovered that the disease is the work of a master vampire out to put an end to human civilization. Cuse made his directorial debut with The Strain's third season finale. Cuse and del Toro decided to end the series after the fourth season of their own accord, feeling it was the right time to bring the story to a close on their own terms. "The idea was always to do three seasons of the show when we sold it. Going into Season 4, it really felt like we needed to increase the storytelling velocity and finish the story." The New York Times said, "The Strain," is a prime example of traditional, meticulous craftsmanship and slow-building suspense. It's full of action and gore, but it's essentially a quiet, thoughtful show that posits a supernatural situation with political relevance."
The Returned (2015)Edit
Cuse was showrunner, co-developer, writer and executive producer of The Returned, based on the popular and International Emmy Award winning French suspense series Les Revenants, adapted by Fabrice Gobert and inspired by the feature film, They Came Back, directed by Robin Campillo. Raelle Tucker also served as showrunner and executive producer. The 10-episode first season premiered on March 9, 2015. The series focused on a small town that is turned upside down when several local people, who have been long presumed dead suddenly reappear. The Returned was co-produced by A+E Studios and FremantleMedia North America in association with Haut et Court TV SAS, the producer of the French series. The show was cancelled after one season in June 2015.
Cuse and Ryan Condal served as creators, showrunners and executive producers of Colony for the USA Network, a co-production between Legendary Television and Universal Cable Prods. Colony "is a family drama/thriller about life in Los Angeles after a mysterious 'foreign' occupation, and the efforts by the proxy government to crush the growing resistance movement." Academy Award-winning Argentinian director Juan José Campanella directed the pilot. Colony stars Josh Holloway and Sarah Wayne Callies. The ten episode first season of Colony premiered on January 14, 2016. On February 4, 2016, USA Network renewed Colony for a second season, ordering thirteen episodes. Colony was among the Top 10 scripted first season dramas on ad-supported cable. In season 2, Colony was the #1 cable scripted series on Thursday nights in total viewers. On April 4, 2017, Colony was renewed for a third and final season, with production moving from Los Angeles to Vancouver.
In February 2016, Stephen King wrote on Twitter: "In a year of remarkable TV, COLONY is really something special: smart, suspenseful, subversive... thought provoking."
The Verge wrote: "the recent deluge of dystopian science fiction out of Hollywood has certainly produced plenty of clunky, lazy photocopies of better ideas, Colony was an underrated gem that ventured beyond the YA-adaptation safety net and experimented with the genre. ...The show was often innovative in genuinely surprising ways — to say nothing of fact that the people making it, from directors like Olatunde Osunsanmi (Star Trek: Discovery, Falling Skies) and Roxann Dawson (Star Trek, The Americans, House of Cards) to a writers room full of rising new talent, was a truly diverse and adventurous crew of creatives. Without Colony, the sci-fi TV landscape is far less interesting."
Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan (2018)Edit
Cuse and writer Graham Roland created for television a series based on Jack Ryan, the CIA analyst character, created by novelist Tom Clancy in the 1980s. Amazon Video has given an 8-episode straight-to-series order. Cuse co-wrote, with Roland, five of the eight episodes. Jack Ryan is an original story that borrows from Tom Clancy's DNA rather than an adaptation of any of Clancy's work. The series stars John Krasinski as Ryan, "an up-and-coming CIA analyst as he uncovers a pattern in terrorist communication that launches him into the center of a dangerous gambit with a new breed of terrorism that threatens destruction on a global scale." Academy Award nominated director Morten Tyldum is directing the first episode. Abbie Cornish and Wendell Pierce are set to star alongside John Krasinski. Cuse also directed an episode and is show running and executive producing the series. Although Amazon itself does not release viewership details, according to independent data source 7Park Data, nearly forty percent of Prime subscribers watched the first season of Jack Ryan compared to an average share of 9% for Amazon’s other shows , making it the most streamed show in the history of the service. Amazon greenlit an eight-episode second season of Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan, ahead of its August 31, 2018 global debut. On February 13, 2019, Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan was renewed for a third season.
Locke & Key (2019)Edit
Netflix has announced a ten-episode series order for an adaptation of Joe Hill's comic book series, Locke & Key. Carlton Cuse's Genre Arts production company,and IDW Entertainment will produce the series. The series was created by Hill and developed by Cuse, Aron Eli Coleite and Meredith Averill. The new first episode will be written by Hill and Coleite; Cuse and Averill will serve as showrunners.
Netflix picked up Locke and Key after Hulu passed in March, 2018. The Hulu pass was a surprise since Locke & Key had been ordered to pilot in April 2017 and had a green light from Hulu's creative team. They had already established a writers room and built sets.
Netflix will redevelop and recast the show and not use the existing Hulu pilot written by Joe Hill.
Locke & Key is a horror/fantasy series that revolves around three siblings who, after the gruesome murder of their father, move to their ancestral home in Massachusetts only to find the house has magical keys that give them a vast array of powers and abilities. Little do they know, a devious demon also wants the keys, and will stop at nothing to attain them.
Cuse's Genre Arts banner has signed a four-year overall deal with ABC Studios, worth more than $20 million. Under the deal, Cuse and Genre Arts — headed by president Lindsey Springer — will create and produce content across all network, cable and streaming platforms while also working with other writers.
Andy Borowitz revealed that the character of Carlton (Alfonso Ribeiro) on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, was named after Carlton Cuse. Andy Borowitz and Susan Borowitz created the series in 1990. They were both friends and classmates from Harvard College with Cuse
Current TV seriesEdit
|2018||Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan||Amazon Video||Co-creator, executive producer, writer||Based on the thriller novels by Tom Clancy|
|2019||Locke & Key||Netflix||Showrunner, writer and executive producer||Based on the IDW comic by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez|
Awards and nominationsEdit
Cuse has been nominated for ten Primetime Emmy Awards for his work on Lost and has won twice: first in 2005 for Outstanding Drama Series, then in 2009 for Creative Achievement in Interactive Media. Cuse, along with Lindelof, received three nominations for Golden Globe Awards, including a win for Best Television Series – Drama in 2005. He has also received five nominations at Producers Guild of America Awards, with a win in 2006 for Television Producer of the Year Award in Episodic Drama; three nominations and wins from the American Film Institute; and twelve nominations at the Television Critics Association, including three wins in for Outstanding Achievement in Drama in 2005, 2006 and 2010, and a win for Outstanding New Program in 2005. Cuse received four nominations from the Writers Guild of America Awards, including a win in 2006 for Best Dramatic Series, and five Saturn Award nominations with four wins in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2009 for Best Network Television Series. He also received nominations from the NAACP Image Awards, the Hugo Awards and the People's Choice Awards. In 2007, Cuse shared the British Academy Television Award for Best International Series for Lost.
In 2009, he won the Peabody Award, The Jules Verne Festival Award, The Roma Fiction Fest Special Award, and a GQ 2009 Men of the Year Award. In 2010, Cuse was voted one of Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People in the World". He has also won the TV Guide Award for Martial Law, which was voted the Favorite New Series in 1999. In 2015, Cuse received Variety's Creative Leadership Award, following past recipients including Judd Apatow and Jerry Weintraub. Bates Motel won the 2017 People's Choice Award for Favorite Cable TV Drama.
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