In early 1999, I was working in Bellevue, Washington as a shuttle driver for a Volvo dealership. One morning, I was asked to drive a customer, with his dog, to the airport.Along the 45-minute drive, I revealed during small talk that I was an amateur writer. My passenger told me he was a screenwriter. I didn't ask any details, but we proceeded to talk about the craft of writing.He gave me lots of friendly advice, including to "find a group of writers to level the most devastating criticism they can give to samples of your writing, like they do at Sundance, because of what you'll learn from it."He was helpful, unassuming, unpretentious, polite, and spoke to me as an equal (despite the fact that he was clearly moneyed), which was rare among our Volvo dealership's wealthy & snobbish clientele.Among other things, he mentioned that he was working on a screenplay for "Alexander The Great" at the time. ("Oh brother, what a bad idea," I thought to myself).He never mentioned his name except "Chris". After I'd dropped him off, I looked up his name (which I didn't recognize) from my passenger assignment manifest:Oh, THAT Chris McQuarrie.
I just saw the movie and loved it. Congrats to Chris McQuarrie and Tom Cruise! And congrats to you, too, Jeff, for another great interview in which you ask all the right questions.