First noticed as Robin Williams' son in the film “The Birdcage” (1996), Dan Futterman later branched out into screenwriting and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Screenplay for his work in the biopic about the legendary writer who wrote “Breakfast at Tiffany's,” “Capote” (2005), starring Philip Seymour Hoffman. As an actor, he has starred in such films as “The Fisher King” (1991), “Breathing Room” (1996), “Shooting Fish” (1998), “Urbania” (2000) and “Enough” (2002). He recently acted opposite Angelina Jolie, playing reporter Daniel Pearl who was kidnapped and killed in 2002 while reporting in Pakistan, in the film adaptation of Mariane Pearl's memoir, “A Mighty Heart” (2007). He is now reportedly adapting the novel “Everything Changes” into a film script for Columbia Pictures.
On the small screen, Futterman has appeared in the TV series "Another World," "Will & Grace," "Judging Amy" and "Related." More personally, the 5' 9" actor/screenwriter was romantically linked to actress Susan Floyd, his co-star in the film “Breathing Room” (1996). He has been married to television writer Anya Epstein since 2000 and has two daughters together.
Childhood and Family:
Born in Silver Spring, Maryland, on June 8, 1967, to a lawyer father and a psychoanalyst mother, Dan Futterman, nicknamed “Danny,” was raised in Westchester County, New York, in Conservative Judaism and grew up in an "intellectual family." One of four siblings in the family, young Futterman graduated from Mamaroneck (NY) High School in 1985 and was a classmate of Bennett Miller. He received a BA degree in English from Columbia University, in New York, in 1989.
In the late 1990s, on the set of “Homicide: Life on the Street,” Futterman met television writer Anya Epstein, sister of Boston Red Sox General Manager and Executive Vice President Theo Epstein, when she was a writer on the show. They married on September 23, 2000, and have two daughters together: Sylvie Epstein Futterman (born in 2001) and Eve Futterman (born in 2005).
A Mighty Heart
Landing his first stage acting debut Off-Broadway in the WPA production of “Club Soda,” Dan Futterman snagged his first film role with a tiny part as a thug who menaces Jeff Bridges' character in Terry Gilliam's comedy-drama “The Fisher King” (1991), which also stars Robin Williams. That same year, he also made his TV movie debut in the NBC movie “Daughter of Privilege,” alongside Dick Van Dyke and Daphne Ashbrook.
The following year, he appeared in writer/director Charlie Peters' ensemble dark comedy film “Passed Away,” starring Bob Hoskins, Jack Warden and William L. Petersen, and co-starred as David Strathairn's eldest son in Joan Micklin Silver's comedy movie starring Hilary Wolf, “Big Girls Don't Cry...They Get Even.” He also played Alan in several 1992 episodes of NBC’s long-running, Emmy-winning soap opera “Another World.”
Futterman spent the next two years on the small screen in the made-for-television movie “Class of '61” (1993), an ABC movie in which he had his first substantial TV role opposite Christien Anholt, Andre Braugher, Josh Lucas, Clive Owen, Sophie Ward and Laura Linney. He also appeared in “Tracey Takes on New York” (1993), a comedy featuring Blythe Danner, Parker Posey and Tracey Ullman, and was spotted as a guest in a 1995 episode of CBS’ newspaper drama “New York News.” Meanwhile, on stage, he could be seen replacing Joe Mantello in the role of the voluble Louis Ironside in the two-part Broadway production of Tony Kushner's award winning play, “Angels in America” (1993).
1996 saw Futterman playing his breakthrough screen role, as Val Goldman, Robin Williams' son and Calista Flockhart's fiancé, in Mike Nichols' Oscar nominated comedy film, “The Birdcage,” a remake of the 1978 film La Cage aux Folles, by Jean Poiret and Francis Veber starring Michel Serrault and Ugo Tognazzi. His performance in the film later won him a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast.
Following his breakout film role, Futterman returned to stage to play the son of an American diplomat in the Off-Broadway production “A Fair Country,” by Jon Robin Baitz, and a slick card player with big dreams in the Off-Broadway production of Patrick Marber's “Dealer's Choice.” During that time, he said in an interview, “I probably, at this point, feel more comfortable doing theater. I feel I'm still figuring out film acting, but I like both of them in very different ways. I'm not anti-TV at all. I don't watch a lot, but I wouldn't mind making a living from it.”
In the rest of the 1990s, Futterman appeared in Jon Sherman's small, independent, romantic comedy “Breathing Room” (1996), in which he played Susan Floyd's boyfriend, and writer/director John Huddles' independent drama “Far Harbor” (1996), alongside Jennifer Connelly and Marcia Gay Harden. He also starred opposite Stuart Townsend and Kate Beckinsale in the British caper comedy co-written and directed by Stefan Schwartz, “Shooting Fish” (1997), playing one of the orphans-turned-con artists.
Next, Futterman played the central character of Rufus Wild, the self-pitying, neurotic boyfriend of Jennifer Garner's character, in Nick Davis' independent drama film about a party on New Year's Eve, “1999” (1998). TV viewers could also catch him in the television movies “Thicker Than Blood” (TNT), in which he starred opposite Mickey Rourke, and “When Trumpets Fade” (HBO), a war drama starring Ron Eldard. He also guest starred in an episode of NBC’s sitcom "Caroline in the City."
In 1999 Futterman played Vincent Gray, the gifted younger brother of the titular character played by Amy Brenneman, in the hit CBS drama series “Judging Amy,” which he left early in the 2001-2002 season. His performance earned him a nomination from the TV Guide Awards for Favorite Actor in a New Series.
During his “Judging Amy” stint, Futterman was spotted as a guest in an episode of NBC’s highly acclaimed police procedural series "Homicide: Life on the Street" and HBO’s popular romantic comedy series "Sex and the City." On the big screen, he played the lead role of Charlie in Jon Matthews' independent gay-themed drama film based on the play “Urban Folk Tales” by Daniel Reitz, “Urbania” (2000). The role later won him a Golden Space Needle Award for Best Actor from the Seattle International Film Festival.
After playing Jennifer Lopez's former boyfriend Joe in Michael Apted's psychological thriller “Enough” (2002), Futterman went back to the NYC stage in “Further Than the Furthest Thing” at the Manhattan Theater Company. He also played the recurring role of Karen's (played by Megan Mullally) cousin Barry (2004), a 35-year-old man who realizes he is gay, on the NBC popular Emmy-winning sitcom “Will & Grace” and appeared in the mockumentary TV movie “Gerald L'Ecuyer: A Filmmaker's Journey” (2004). Additionally, he had a recurring role, as Danny, Ann's (played by Kiele Sanchez) ex-boyfriend and the owner of a restaurant called Sabroso, on the WB comedy-drama series "Related."
In 2005, Futterman struck the big time once again, this time for his writing job. He earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Screenplay for his feature screenwriting debut in the biopic “Capote” (Futterman also served as the executive producer). It was directed by childhood friend Bennett Miller and stars childhood friend Phillip Seymour Hoffman in the title role. Adding to the Oscar nomination, his writing work also received nominations at the Independent Spirit, Boston Society of Film Critics, and Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards.
“The two biggest moments of my life were walking on-stage (as an actor) in Tony Kushner's 'Angels in America' on opening night on Broadway. The second was being nominated for a screenplay Oscar along with him.” Dan Futterman
Recently, in 2007, moviegoers saw Futterman star opposite Angelina Jolie, playing Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl who was kidnapped and killed in 2002 while reporting in Pakistan, in the film adaptation of Mariane Pearl's memoir, “A Mighty Heart.” It was directed by Michael Winterbottom and produced by Brad Pitt.
About the film, Futterman revealed, “I was astonished by it. I've seen it twice and I've cried both times and I'm incredibly moved by it. I also think that Angelina gives an absolutely astonishing performance. You forget in about two minutes that it's her doing it. As a writer, I got to see a friend of mine give one of the great performances of recent years, Phil Hoffman, and I felt like, well I'd done that experience, that'll never repeat, and that's fine, but I had the same feeling watching Angie do it, that she's doing this completely transformational work that's just remarkable. I think she's one of the great actresses.”
After being asked about working with director Michael Winterbottom, Futterman said, “Michael kind of guides a very gentle hand, but you're being guided in a particular direction. He'll tell you if he wants you to do something else, but I think he'd much rather have you discover it, and be looking for that moment when you do discover it, to capture that on film, so he doesn't want to give it away.”
Futterman has recently stated that he will focus on his writing career. He is reportedly adapting the novel “Everything Changes” into a film script for Columbia Pictures.
Independent Spirit: Best Screenplay, “Capote,” 2006
USC Scripter: USC Scripter Award, “Capote,” 2006
Washington DC Area Film Critics Association: Best Screenplay - Adapted, “Capote,” 2005
Boston Society of Film Critics: Best Screenplay, “Capote,” 2005
Los Angeles Film Critics Association: Best Screenplay, “Capote,” 2005
San Diego Film Critics Society: Best Screenplay, Adapted, “Capote,” 2005
Seattle International Film Festival: Golden Space Needle Award--Best Actor, “Urbania,” 2000
Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by a Cast, “The Birdcage,” 1997