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Kurt Johnstad is an American screenwriter. He has worked on several films including 300, for which he was nominated for a Saturn Award, along with Michael Gordon and Zack Snyder. He also wrote the screenplays for Act of Valor, 300: Rise of an Empire and Atomic Blonde, and was initially tapped to write one of two competing screenplays for Aquaman; Will Beall's script was eventually chosen for the film.

Kurt Johnstad
Occupation Screenwriter


Life and careerEdit

Johnstad grew up working on a cattle farm in Wisconsin. Among his family were two sisters and his father, who was an Air Force fighter pilot, and his mother, an English teacher.[1] Johnstad graduated high school at 16 and spent a year traveling.[1] He enrolled in the California Institute of the Arts in 1986 to study film and completed the program in three years.[1]

Johnstad began working on music videos and television movies for the next four years.[1] Among the people he had worked with was director Zack Snyder, who offered him a job as his first assistant director which lead the two to work with each other for the next ten years.[1]

Johnstad would later work on scripts and in the mid 1990s, a low-budget action film True Vengeance was released in the mid-1990s.[1] Snyder asked Johnstad to assist him with his film 300, a fictionalized graphic novel adaptation of Frank Miller's comic involving the Battle of Thermopylae.[1] The film got him nominated for a Saturn Award along with Snyder and Michael Gordon.[2]

In 2011, Johnstad was working with Snyder to co-write the film The Last Photograph and 300: The Battle of Artemisia for Warner Bros..[1] Johnstad also worked outside of collaborations with Snyder, and was hired by producers Basil Iwanyk and Jason Netter to adapt Max Allan Collins’ novel Black Hats.[1] His next screenplays that were produced was Act of Valor and 300: Rise of an Empire.[3]

In 2015, Variety described Johnstad as beginning "to make a name for himself as writer who delivers big action in his scripts, along with classic heroes audiences love to root for."[3] His screenplay based on The Coldest City by Antony Johnston was announced that year.[4] The film was titled Atomic Blonde and released on July 28, 2017.[5]

Films Johnstad has been assigned to write screenplays for include The Lost Legion for Warner Bros. and Dan Lin and Aquaman where another script was in development by Will Beall.[6] Beall's script was later used for the film.[7]


Title Year Credited as Notes Ref(s)
Screenplay Executive producer
True Vengeance 1997 Yes
300 2006 Yes [8]
Act of Valor 2011 Yes [9]
300: Rise of an Empire 2014 Yes [10]
Atomic Blonde 2017 Yes Yes [5][11]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Longwell, Todd (December 2, 2011). "Johnstad: Epic heroes make big impact on the page". Variety. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  2. ^ "WB, Paramount dominate Saturns". Variety. February 20, 2008.
  3. ^ a b Kroll, Justin (March 9, 2015). "Matt Tolmach, Kurt Johnstad Sell Untitled Sci-Fi Pitch to Sony (Exclusive)". Variety. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  4. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (May 9, 2015). "Focus Pre-Empts N.A. Rights To 'The Coldest City;' Charlize Theron To Star, 'John Wick's David Leitch & Chad Stahelski Directing: Cannes". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  5. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony (November 7, 2016). "Charlize Theron Spy Thriller 'The Coldest City' Moves Up To July – Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 14, 2016.
  6. ^ Kroll, Justin (August 12, 2014). "Warner Bros. Lands Two Writers for 'Aquaman' Movie". Variety. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  7. ^ Kit, Borys (July 22, 2016). "Aquaman' Movie Hooks 'Gangster Squad' Writer (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  8. ^ Vespe, Eric (December 11, 2006). "Quint's BNAT wrap-up, part 1! Zack Snyder's 300! Rocky Balboa! Black Snake Moan and Dreamgirls!!!". Ain't It Cool News. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
  9. ^ Labreque, Jeff (December 17, 2011). "'Act of Valor' trailer". Entertainment Weekly.
  10. ^ Johns, Nikara. "'Unapologetic,' 'Strong' Female Leads Praised at '300: Rise of an Empire' Premiere". Variety.
  11. ^ Barker, Andrew (March 13, 2017). "SXSW Review: 'Atomic Blonde'". Variety. Retrieved July 28, 2017.

External linksEdit