John Lee Hancock

John Lee Hancock Jr. (born December 15, 1956) is an American filmmaker. He directed the sports drama films The Rookie (2002) and The Blind Side (2009), and the historical drama films Saving Mr. Banks (2013), The Founder (2016), The Alamo (2004), and The Highwaymen (2019). Most recently, he wrote and directed the horror film, Mr. Harrigan's Phone (2022).

John Lee Hancock
John Lee Hancock Jr.

(1956-12-15) December 15, 1956 (age 66)
EducationBaylor University (BA, JD)
Occupation(s)Screenwriter, director, producer
Years active1987–present

Early life and educationEdit

Hancock was born in Longview, but grew up in Texas City. His father, John Lee Hancock Sr.,[1] played football for Baylor and in the NFL[2] and went on to become a football coach at Texas City High School. His mother, Sue Hancock is a retired English teacher who taught in the Texas City ISD. The eldest of four children (two brothers and one sister), John Jr. played football and competed in swimming while in high school (his brother played briefly in the NFL).[3] Throughout high school and when home from college, John worked in his grandfather's pipe fabrication shop, located near the industrial refineries of his hometown, Texas City, Texas. Hancock received his bachelor's degree in English from Baylor in 1979 and earned a J.D. degree from Baylor Law School in 1982.[4][5]


After working in a Houston law firm for four years, he decided to pursue screenwriting and moved to Los Angeles. Choosing not to take the California bar exam and practice law in California, Hancock instead held numerous non-legal jobs those next few years, took acting classes, and worked in local theater. He debuted as both a screenwriter and director with 1991's Hard Time Romance, and another screenplay he wrote in 1991 was noticed by Clint Eastwood and went on to become A Perfect World directed by Eastwood and starring Eastwood and Kevin Costner. He went on to produce the critically acclaimed My Dog Skip before finding widespread recognition as director of The Rookie, which won an ESPY in 2002 for "Best Sports Movie" and was both critically and commercially successful. He also wrote the screenplay for Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and directed The Alamo,[6] a remake of the 1960 film. It starred Dennis Quaid, Billy Bob Thornton, Jason Patric and Patrick Wilson.

After a five-year absence from directing spent honing his screenwriting skills, Hancock returned to both his football and Christian roots with 2009's The Blind Side, a biographical sports drama film starring Quinton Aaron as Michael Oher, a homeless, 350-pound African-American teenager who ended up becoming the Baltimore Ravens' first-round pick in the 2009 NFL draft, and Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne Tuohy, a well-off Memphis woman who makes room in her life for Oher. With a budget of $29 million, the film grossed over $309 million, becoming Hancock's highest-grossing film to date, and received two Academy Award nominations for Best Picture and Best Actress, with Bullock winning the latter award. Bullock also won Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe awards for her portrayal of Tuohy.

In 2013 Hancock directed Saving Mr. Banks, a film about the life of P. L. Travers and her difficult negotiations with Walt Disney over adapting her novel Mary Poppins into a feature film. He also directed The Founder (2016), about the McDonald's fast food chain, and co-wrote the upcoming musical film The Goree Girls. In 2019 he directed his first Netflix movie The Highwaymen.[7]

Hancock also directed the pilot of the television series Paradise Lost, which premiered on April 13, 2020.[8]

His latest film is The Little Things, a 2021 neo-noir crime thriller written, directed and produced by Hancock and Mark Johnson. The plot follows two police officers (Denzel Washington and Rami Malek) who try to catch a serial killer in 1990s Los Angeles; the film also stars Jared Leto as their top suspect and Natalie Morales as another detective.[9]

In 2022, he wrote and directed Mr. Harrigan's Phone. Based on a short story by Stephen King, which appears in the collection If It Bleeds, the film follows a boy who befriends an older billionaire who lives in his small town. When the man dies, the boy finds himself able to communicate with his friend from the grave by leaving voicemails on the iPhone that was buried with him.[10]


Year Title Director Writer Producer
1991 Hard Time Romance Yes Yes No
1993 A Perfect World No Yes No
1997 Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil No Yes No
2000 My Dog Skip No No Yes
2002 The Rookie Yes No No
2004 The Alamo Yes Yes No
2009 The Blind Side Yes Yes No
2012 Snow White and the Huntsman No Yes No
2013 Saving Mr. Banks Yes No No
2016 The Founder Yes No No
2019 The Highwaymen Yes No Executive
2021 The Little Things Yes Yes Yes
2022 Mr. Harrigan's Phone Yes Yes No

Uncredited writing roles


  1. ^ ""The Blind Side" director remembers coach-dad". November 20, 2009. Retrieved January 31, 2021.
  2. ^ "John Hancock Stats - Pro Football Archives". Retrieved January 31, 2021.
  3. ^ "Kevin Hancock Stats". Retrieved January 31, 2021.
  4. ^ "'The Blind Side' Director John Lee Hancock to Speak at Baylor Law Commencement May 1". Media and Public Relations | Baylor University. April 29, 2010. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  5. ^ "Director Hancock - a Texas City native - dedicates 'The Blind Side' to late father". Retrieved January 30, 2021.
  6. ^ "John Lee Hancock". Texas Monthly. January 1, 2003. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  7. ^ "The True Story Behind the Netflix Movie The Highwaymen". Time. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  8. ^ White, Peter (February 19, 2020). "Spectrum Originals Sets Premiere Date For Josh Hartnett Southern Gothic Drama 'Paradise Lost'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  9. ^ Thompson, Anne (January 28, 2021). "With 'The Little Things,' John Lee Hancock Wrote a Script So Dark Even He Wasn't Ready to Direct It". IndieWire. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  10. ^ "John Lee Hancock Adapting Stephen King Short Story Mr. Harrigan's Phone". Empire. July 12, 2020. Retrieved January 29, 2021.

External linksEdit