Date of Birth: November 3, 1956
The son of Hollywood screenwriter Arthur A. Ross, Gary Ross originally started out as a novelist. He was then hired to write a treatment for a screenplay, and found that he made more money on the treatment than on an entire novel. So he decided to try a screenplay of his own and took his idea to Anne Spielberg, Steven Spielberg's sister. Together they wrote the script for Big (1988), and the film, directed by Penny Marshall and starring Tom Hanks, was a huge hit both with critics and the public, earning more than US $100 million at the box office. Spielberg and Ross were nominated for a Best Screenplay Oscar® as well as a Writers Guild of America Award, while the film was nominated for a Golden Globe.
Ross received another Best Screenplay Oscar® nomination for Dave (1993), starring Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver. He spent time on the set observing the filming process of his screenplays, studied acting with Stella Adler and gained valuable experience by directing several plays, so after writing Pleasantville (1998), Ross decided he was ready to step into the director's chair. The movie followed two current day teens who found themselves travelling back in time to the black-and-white world of 1950s television. Because color is slowly introduced to the residents of the past world, 1700 special effects were needed during the 15 month post production process. The film was a success, earning three Oscar® nominations. Ross won a Golden Satellite Award for Best Screenplay as well as a Nova Award for Most Promising Producer, while actress Reese Witherspoon won a Young Hollywood Award for Female Breakthrough Performance, and her co-star, Tobey Maguire, won a Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Younger Actor.
Inspired by the best-seller Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand, Ross decided to turn the non-fiction book into a screenplay. Entitled Seabiscuit (2003), Ross brought Tobey Maguire on board to play jockey Red Pollard. In 2012, Ross took another bestselling book—Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games—and turned it into one of the most highly-anticipated films of the year. The big-screen adaptation stars Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson.
Ross directed the epic civil war biopic starring Matthew McConaughey, titled Free State of Jones (2016). He also has completed work on the all-female Ocean's Eleven reboot Ocean's Eight (2018), starring Sandra Bullock as Debbie Ocean.
Ross is married to Allison Thomas and they are the parents of twins, Claudia and Jack, born May 26, 1995.
Ocean's 8 (2018)
Free State of Jones (2016)
The Hunger Games (2012)