Family & Companions
Dan Futterman had an impressive run for a young actor, transitioning easily between stage, television and film for fifteen years before penning the Academy Award-nominated script for "Capote" (2005) and deciding to put his acting on hold. From his breakthrough role as the straight son of Robin Williams in "The Birdcage" (1996) to a popular recurring spot on "Judging Amy" (CBS, 1999-2005) to a stint in "Angels in America" on Broadway, Futterman always lent a sparkling intelligence and grounded presence to his work. After briefly returning from his foray into screenwriting, Futterman delivered a sterling performance in the emotionally-charged political drama "A Mighty Heart" (2007), playing slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, a role that helped propel an already accelerating career.
Futterman was born in Brooklyn, NY, on June 8, 1967 and raised in Westchester County. His father was a lawyer and his mother a psychoanalyst, which he later joked were the two things an actor needed most. He attended Columbia University and graduated in 1989 with a degree in English. Torn between graduate school and pursuing an acting career, Futterman finally caved to his creative urges and chose the latter. His career launched rather quickly in 1991 when he landed his first stage role a month-long run of "Club Soda" at the historic WPA Theater in New York City. He then made his first film appearance soon after, playing a punk kid who menaces Jeff Bridges in "The Fisher King." In a short span on time, Futterman's career was taking off.
After landing a significant role in "Big Girls Don't Cry...They Get Even" (1992), Futterman made a handful of television appearances, most notably as a West Point grad pitted against former classmates during the Civil War in "Class of '61" (ABC, 1993). He gave steadily impressive performances in independent films "Breathing Room" (1996), "Far Harbor " (1996), and "Shooting Fish" (1997) until he landed a high-profile gem in "The Birdcage," playing the straight son of the very gay Robin Williams. Futterman followed up with a pair of significant TV movie roles, co-starring opposite Mickey Rourke in "Thicker Than Blood" (TNT, 1998) and alongside Ron Eldard and Martin Donovan in the World War II drama "When Trumpets Fade" (HBO, 1998).
In 1999, Futterman made the leap to series television, co-starring as the writer brother of a jurist (Amy Brenneman) in the hit legal drama "Judging Amy" (he departed early during the 2001-2002 season). On the big screen, he delivered one of his best screen performances in the indie "Urbania" (2000), before making a rare misstep with the Jennifer Lopez thriller "Enough" (2002). He held down a recurring role as the boyfriend of a therapist (Kiele Sanchez) on the drama "Related" (WB, 2005-'06) before it was cancelled after its first season. While he had been building up an impressive resume in TV and film, Futterman continued performing on stage. He succeeded Joe Mantello in the role of Louis Ironside in "Angels in America" on Broadway in 1993, while also landing roles in the off-Broadway productions "A Fair Country" (1996) and "Dealer's Choice" (1997). In 2002, he appeared in "Further Than the Furthest Thing" at the Manhattan Theater Company.
But it was Futterman's writing that defined him as an artist. After reading Gerald Clarke's Capote, A Biography, Futterman was inspired to write a script about the events surrounding Truman Capote's creation of his most famous work, In Cold Blood. He handed the completed script to his childhood friend-turned-commercial director Bennett Miller, who immediately came onboard as producer and director. They enlisted a third old friend, Phillip Seymour Hoffman (who they'd met at theater camp as teenagers) to star as the famously flamboyant author. The result was "Capote," a stark and deeply moving tale of Capote's journey from cosmopolitan New York to rural Kansas in 1959 to investigate the grisly shotgun murders of an upstanding family by two low-life drifters. At the center of the story is Capote's strange, almost loving bond with one of the perpetrators, Perry Edward Smith (Clifton Collins, Jr.), which eventually led to the author's emotional breakdown and failure to ever complete another novel.
While the film was among the top of the year, earning numerous award nominations, it was Hoffman who received the lion's share of critical praise and accolades. Futterman did, however, earn an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay and awards from the Boston and Los Angeles Film Critics Associations. Meanwhile, Futterman returned to acting for "A Mighty Heart," but announced that it would be his final appearance before the cameras so he could pursue screenwriting full time. In the film, Futterman played Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped and beheaded in Pakistan in 2002, the video of which was spread across the Internet and seen by millions all over the world. The film was based on the book by Pearl's widow (Angelina Jolie) and followed her journey to find answers for her husband's disappearance. It was an overwhelming critical pick and a high note on which to gracefully bow out of the spotlight. Futterman's retirement from acting was short-lived, as he next appeared in a supporting role on the satiric drama "Political Animals" (Showtime 2012), followed by another supporting role in the political drama "Kill the Messenger" (2014). As a writer, Futterman next worked on "Gracepoint" (Fox 2014), a tepidly-received American adaptation of the British police procedural "Broadchurch" (BBC 2013- ). He followed this with the screenplay for "Foxcatcher" (2014), director Bennett Miller's acclaimed fact-based drama about the eccentric millionaire John E. du Pont and his sponsorship of the U.S. Men's Olympic Wrestling team.
Cast (Feature Film)
Writer (Feature Film)
Stage acting debut in the Off-Broadway production "Club Soda"
TV-movie debut in "Daughter of Privilege" (NBC)
Film debut in small role in "The Fisher King"
Co-starred in the film "Big Girls Don't Cry...They Get Even"
Replaced Joe Mantello in the role of Louis Ironside in the two-part Broadway production "Angels in America"
Had first substantive TV role in the ABC movie "Class of '61"
Breakthrough screen role as Robin Williams' son in "The Birdcage", directed by Mike Nichols
Played featured role in the Off-Broadway production "A Fair Country" by Jon Robin Baitz
Had featured role in the Off-Broadway play "Dealer's Choice"
Starred alongside Stuart Towsend and Kate Beckinsale in the British caper comedy "Shooting Fish"
Appeared in the telefilms "Thicker Than Blood" (TNT) and "When Trumpets Fade" (HBO)
Appeared as the brother of the main character in the CBS drama series "Judging Amy"; left series early in the 2001-2002 season
Had leading role in independent film "Urbania"
Cast as Karen's cousin Barry, a 35-year-old man who realizes he's gay, on the NBC sit-com "Will & Grace"
Returned to the NYC stage in "Further Than the Furthest Thing" at the Manhattan Theater Company
Feature producing and screenwriting debut with "Capote" starring Philip Seymour Hoffman as Truman Capote; earned an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay
Portrayed Wall Street Journal reporter, Daniel Pearl in "A Mighty Heart," who was kidnapped and killed in 2002 while reporting in Pakistan