Elliott, Ted

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Elliott, Ted




Home—Los Angeles, CA. Agent—Brian Siberell, Creative Artists Agency, 9830 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212-1825.


Screenwriter, producer; formerly spellchecked movie reviews for News America Syndicate/Roger Ebert. With Terry Rossio, owner of Scheherazade Productions, Los Angeles, CA, and producer of films, including Shrek, 2001; (executive producer)Instant Karma, 2005; Deja Vu, 2006; Jingle, 2007. Creative consultant for films, including Antz, 1998;Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, 2003; and Shrek 2,2004. Appeared as himself in Epic at Sea: The Making of "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl," 2003. Cofounder of online screenwriting sites Wordplay (with Terry Rossio), and The Artful Writer (with Craig Mazin).


Writers Guild of America (board of directors, 2004).


Shared awards, with Terry Rossio, BAFTA Award and Academy Award nomination, best writing for screenplay based on material previously produced or published, both 2002, both forShrek; People's Choice Award, best picture, forPirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.



Little Monsters, United Artists, 1989.

(Also with John Musker and Ron Clements) Aladdin(animated), Buena Vista, 1992.

(Also with David Goyer) The Puppet Masters (also known as Robert Heinlein's The Puppet Masters), Buena Vista, 1994.

(Uncredited) Men in Black, Columbia Pictures, 1997.

(Also with Gavin Scott and Adam Rifkin) Small Soldiers, DreamWorks, 1998.

(Also with Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich) Godzilla,TriStar, 1998.

(Also with John Eskow) The Mask of Zorro (based on a story by Elliott, Rossio, and Randall Jahnson), TriStar, 1998.

The Road to El Dorado (animated), DreamWorks, 2000.

(Also with Joe Stillman and Roger Schulman; and co-producer)Shrek (based on the children's book by William Steig), DreamWorks, 2001.

(Animation story with Ron Clements and John Musker) Treasure Planet (based on the novelTreasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson), Disney, 2002.

(Also with Stuart Beattie and Jay Wolpert) Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Disney, 2003.

(Uncredited) National Treasure, Disney, 2004.

The Legend of Zorro (sequel to The Mask of Zorro), Sony Pictures, 2005.

(Also with Stuart Beattie and Jay Wolpert) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, 2006.

Pirates of the Caribbean: World's End, Disney, 2007.

Writer, with Terry Rossio and Randall Janhson, of The Mask of Zorro: A Novelization, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1998; with Terry Rossio, screenwriter of short films Diary of a Producer, 2003, and Spirit of the Ride, 2003.


Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio are long-time collaborators on many successful projects; and both alone and with other writers, they have written screenplays for popular films that are either original or based on the works of others. One that falls in the latter category is The Puppet Masters, starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Warner, which is based on a story by Robert Heinlein in which reptilian creatures take control of human bodies and minds. In a review for the New York Times Online, Stephen Holden described the story as "Alien meets Invasion of the Body Snatchers,since once attached to their hosts, the aliens turn their victims into grim-faced automatons who look like normal humans with their shirts on."

Small Soldiers leans to the dark side in its portrayal of a set of toy soldiers who are brought to life through computerization, and The Road to El Dorado is an animated family film that borrows its title and theme from the "Road" movies of Bing Crosby and Bob Hope. Godzilla stars the dinosaur of the title and Matthew Broderick as the scientist who specializes in nuclear radiation-caused mutations.

Elliott and Rossio borrowed from a children's story by William Steig in creating their character of the green ogre in Shrek, whose voice is provided by Mike Myers.Eddie Murphy is the voice of the donkey who is Shrek's sidekick in the story that finds Shrek fleeing from an internment camp being set up in his swamp. Other characters include a princess (Cameron Diaz) and a villain (John Lithgow). Lisa Schwarzbaum reviewed the film for Entertainment Weekly Online,calling it a "charmingly loopy, iconoclastic story."

The Mask of Zorro and The Legend of Zorro featureAntonio Banderas as the hero and Catherine Zeta-Jones as his wife, Elena. Charles Isherwood reviewed the first film in Variety, writing that it "stands as a pointed riposte to those who say they don't make 'em like that anymore. The return of the legendary swordsman is well served by a grandly mounted production in the classical style." The Zorro character originated in 1919 by pulp fiction writer Johnston McCulley was featured in a silent film starring Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., and a popular 1950s television series starring Guy Williams.

The film is set in 1820s Mexico. The original Zorro (Don Diego de la Vega), played by Anthony Hopkins, loses his wife, who is killed, and his daughter, Elena, who is kidnapped, and spends years in a dungeon until he is able to exact revenge. He discovers that Elena believes Montero, the man who took her, to be her father. Don Diego recruits the surviving brother of two men who had helped him years ago, and teaches him his fighting and tactical skills, and the younger Zorro (Banderas) posits himself within Montero's circle, where he meets the beautiful Elena. The film has been praised for its lush settings, fine acting, and its story. Isherwood wrote that all concerned, including the writers, took "pains to endow the story with sufficient dramatic and emotional credibility, and to go beyond glibness in its humor."

With Johnny Depp playing Captain Jack Sparrow, a quirky pirate who uses eye liner, Elliott and Rossio found extraordinary success beginning with Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Sparrow and young blacksmith Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) team up to rescue Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) from a marriage arranged by her father, the governor of Port Royal. Geoffrey Rush plays Captain Barbossa, the villain who kidnaps Elizabeth, because she has the power to break a curse that has rendered Barbossa and his crew undead. The cast also includes a vampire monkey and a pirate parrot. Newsweek reviewer David Ansen wrote that the film is "better than a movie based on a theme-park ride has any right to be." Time critic Richard Corliss called the script by Elliott and Rossio "cunning."

The sequel to the film that garnered five Oscar nominations is Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest,followed by Pirates of the Caribbean: World's End.



Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television, Volume 55, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 2004.


Entertainment Weekly, April 28, 2006, review ofPirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest,p. 82.

Hollywood Reporter, July 7, 2003, Kirk Honeycutt, review of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, p. 8.

Newsweek, July 14, 2003, David Ansen, review ofPirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, p. 57.

New Yorker, July 28, 2003, David Denby, review ofPirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, p. 94.

Time, July 14, 2003, Richard Corliss, review ofPirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, p. 61.

Variety, May 25, 1998, Joe Leydon, review of Godzilla,p. 55; June 29, 1998, Charles Isherwood, review of The Mask of Zorro, p. 37; July 13, 1998, Leonard Klady, review of Small Soldiers,p. 54; April 3, 2000, Todd McCarthy, review ofThe Road to El Dorado, p. 35; May 7, 2001, Todd McCarthy, review of Shrek, p. 49; November 25, 2002, Andy Klein, review of Treasure Planet,p. 14; July 14, 2003, Todd McCarthy, review ofPirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, p. 22.


Artful Writer,http://www.artfulwriter.com(June 25, 2006).

Entertainment Weekly Online,http://www.ew.com/(June 1, 2001), Lisa Schwarzbaum, review ofShrek.

Internet Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com/ (June 25, 2006), author profile.

New York Times Online,http://www.nytimes.com/(November 11, 1992), Janet Maslin, review of Aladdin;(October 22, 1994), Stephen Holden, review of The Puppet Masters; (May 19, 1998), Stephen Holden, review of Godzilla; (July 10, 1998), Janet Maslin, review of Small Soldiers;(March 31, 2000), Stephen Holden, review of The Road to El Dorado; (May 16, 2001), Elvis Mitchell, review of Shrek; (October 28, 2005), Stephen Holden, review of The Legend of Zorro; (July 9, 2003), Elvis Mitchell, review of Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl.

Silver Bullet Comic Books,http://www.silverbulletcomicbooks.com/(June 25, 2006), interview with Elliott.

Word Play,http://wordplayer.com (June 25, 2006).

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