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Janet Batchler

Part-Time Lecturer

Affiliated Divisions:

Division of Writing for Screen and Television

Work Phone: 213.740.3303

Janet Scott Batchler is the writer (with her partner Lee Batchler) of Smoke and Mirrors, Batman Forever, and My Name is Modesty, among many other projects. She is also a writing professor at the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts, and a director.

The Batchlers are currently writing Midnight Ride for Infinitum Nihil and Walt Disney Pictures, for Johnny Depp to star as Paul Revere. Midnight Ride tells the story of 24 hours that changed the world: Paul Revere’s famous overnight adventure that resulted in the beginnings of America’s Revolutionary War.

The Batchlers’ script Pompeii, an epic drama telling the famous story of the volcanic destruction of the city, was the hot script at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, raising $105 million in 27 hours. The movie goes before the cameras in summer 2012, with Paul W.S. Anderson directing. Produced by Constantin Films, Pompeii was released by Summit Entertainment in 2013.

The Batchlers are also well-known for Smoke and Mirrors, the biggest spec script sale of
its year, based on the true-life exploits of famed magician Robert-Houdin in North Africa. After falling out of pre-production twice, Smoke and Mirrors continues to show up on multiple lists of the "best unproduced scripts,” including landing at #3 in Script Magazine’s April 2010 list, and at #11 on Script Shadow’s favorites list (after receiving a rare “genius” review on the site).

The Batchlers wrote Batman Forever for Warner Brothers, the third installment in the hit series about the Dark Knight of Gotham City. Directed by Joel Schumacher, Batman Forever stars Val Kilmer as Batman, Jim Carrey as The Riddler, Tommy Lee Jones as Harvey Two-Face, Nicole Kidman as Dr. Chase Meridian, and Chris O'Donnell as Robin. Batman Forever became the number one box office feature for 1995, with a domestic gross of $184 million and a worldwide gross of over $700 million.

My Name is Modesty (Miramax, 2004) recounts the backstory of the intriguing character Modesty Blaise. Often thought of as a "female James Bond," Modesty Blaise has a 40 year history as a comic strip (still a hit internationally), and as a series of books, both by Peter O'Donnell. Lee and Janet have also updated Modesty Blaise for Miramax as a major action franchise for Miramax, to which My Name is Modesty (which is presented by Quentin Tarantino) serves as a prequel.

Janet and Lee also wrote Alpha for Paramount Pictures, a fast-paced adventure about a team of military working dogs and their trainers. They completed a rewrite on the supernatural thriller This Present Darkness for Fox 2000, with Chuck Russell attached as director. The Batchlers have also written Captain Nemo, a high adventure prequel to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea for DreamWorks; The Cardinal of The Kremlin for Paramount Pictures, based on the best-selling novel by Tom Clancy; and Shores of Tripoli, a major war epic about the Tripolitan War, in which the U.S. battled the Barbary pirates of Tripoli, for Gale Anne Hurd and Disney.

The Batchlers have written Shakespeare's Curse, an adventure movie tracing a secret
buried with William Shakespeare. The Batchlers also wrote Love Labours Won, a romantic comedy set in Cambridge, England for Four Boys Films; Hell or High Water, the high-adventure almost-true recounting of how Stanley found Livingstone; and Galveston, a Romeo-and-Juliet romance set against the harrowing true story of the Galveston hurricane of 1900 -- the biggest disaster of any kind ever to strike the United States.

Janet moved into the world of directing with her award-winning short The Spittin' Image, based on the short story by Walt Wangerin. The Spittin' Image  tells the story of a boy learning about himself through his relationship with his cemetery-caretaker grandfather. A graduate of the prestigious Directing Workshop for Women at the American Film Institute, Janet served on the Board of Directors of the Alliance of Women Directors from 2004 to 2010.

Janet is also well-known as a maven in the Harry Potter fan world. She wrote a book of
prognostications, What Will Harry Do?: The Unofficial Guide to Payoffs and Possibilities in Book 7 in 2006 (with a high percentage of her predictions proven right when Deathly Hallows was released in 2007). She also appeared as a guest expert in The Hidden Secrets of Harry Potter, a 2007 special on the Arts and Entertainment network, currently offered as a DVD Extra on the DVD release of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (WB, 2007).

Janet is in high demand as a guest speaker and teacher. She is on the Faculty of the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts, where she teaches screenwriting to graduate and undergrad students. She has taught seminars on writing and on the industry in general for UCLA, The Damah Film Festival, UC San Diego, Women in Film, the Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, Act One, Biola University, and others.

Janet lives in Encino, California with her husband Lee, their son Corin, and their daughter Sabrina.