Manhattan-born Tony Gilroy comes from a movie family. His father is Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Frank D. Gilroy (The Subject Was Roses), who also worked on numerous movies and TV shows. His brother is screenwriter Dan Gilroy (Two for the Money), who happens to be married to Rene Russo. His other brother John is a film editor. Additionally, Tony Gilroy found himself lucky enough to be aligned with Taylor Hackford, writing three films in a row: Dolores Claiborne (1995), The Devil's Advocate (1997) and Proof of Life (2000). When that partnership ended, he wound up with another steady job on the three Bourne films: The Bourne Identity (2002), The Bourne Supremacy (2004) and The Bourne Ultimatum (2007). He also wrote The Cutting Edge (1992), a cult classic among ice skating buffs, and co-wrote the blockbuster Armageddon (1998).
Lately, he's joined that enviable club of friendship with director Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney. Soderbergh produced and Clooney stars in Gilroy's exceptional directorial debut, Michael Clayton, about a law firm "fixer," who gets in over his head. Gilroy recently sat down with Cinematical to discus his new movie. And like a New Yorker who feels safe in his work, he was delightfully honest.
Cinematical: The thing I like best about Michael Clayton is the fact that it's filled with expositional dialogue, but it sounds like actual dialogue. It sounds like characters speaking with one another rather than just imparting information.
Tony Gilroy: No one ever talks about that. You could teach a fifteen-part course on that. It's such a huge part of what I do. I never realized until doing the second Bourne picture what it must be like to work on a TV series where you don't have to introduce people. All the time that you spend working so hard to try to bury that information was just there. What a relief! I don't have to set anybody up. Everybody knows who this guy is. No, I hate it, when you see something that's really bad. Or there are those first four pages of all the Chekhov plays, and you sit there for the first four minutes and you go: OK, tell me who you are. Tell me how you're related. And you just sort of... I'll sit back and relax after four minutes.