|Character(s)||Series Writer / Producer / Actor|
|Date of Birth||March 14, 1965|
|Origin||New Bern, North Carolina, USA|
Kevin Meade Williamson (born March 14, 1965) is an American screenwriter, filmmaker, and actor, best known as the creator of the TV series Dawson's Creek (1998–2003), The Vampire Diaries (2009–present), The Following (2013–present) and Stalker (2014–present). He is also widely known for developing and writing the screenplay for the slasher film Scream, as well as its sequels Scream 2 and Scream 4. He also wrote the screenplay for the films I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Faculty, Teaching Mrs. Tingle (which he also directed), and Cursed.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 2.1 Early career (1990–95)
- 2.2 Mainstream breakthrough (1995–99)
- 2.3 Later work (1999–2009)
- 2.4 Return and newfound success (2009–present)
- 3 Personal life
Williamson was born in New Bern, North Carolina, the younger son of Faye and Wade Williamson. The son of a fisherman, Kevin's early years were spent in Aransas Pass, Texas, near Corpus Christi, Texas. Williamson's family returned to North Carolina for his high school years. He then attended East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, where he received a BFA in Theatre Arts.
He told Entertainment Weekly interviewer Melissa Maerz, "When I was growing up, my mom and dad took me to the Poe museum in Richmond, Virginia. It was a little house downtown, andThe Raven was written on the walls. You had to move from room to room to read the whole story. I thought it was the coolest thing in the world."
Early career (1990–95)
After graduation, he moved to New York City to pursue an acting career. Though he landed a part on the soap opera Another World in 1990, he moved to Los Angeles the following year where he had small parts in In Living Color, a Roger Corman film, Hard Run, and in music videos. While taking classes on screenwriting at UCLA he wrote his first script, Killing Mrs. Tingle(later retitled Teaching Mrs. Tingle) which was bought by a production company in 1995 and put on the shelf.
Mainstream breakthrough (1995–99)
Inspired by the March 9, 1994, episode of the newsmagazine Turning Point on Danny Rolling, a serial killer in Gainesville, Florida, who preyed on college students, Williamson wrote a horror movie script, originally titled Scary Movie. Its characters had seen many classic horror movies (e.g. Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street ) and knew all the clichés. Miramax bought the script for $400,000 for their new Dimension Films label in the spring of 1995. Directed by Wes Craven, the film was renamed Scream, and released in The United States on December 20, 1996. It became a commercial blockbuster and critical success—ultimately drawing $173 million in ticket sales worldwide.
Kevin Williamson earned the Saturn Award for Best Writing in 1996 for his work on Scream.
In 1997, Dimension Films released Scream 2, also written by Williamson. It, too, was a critical and box office hit and paved the way for a third installment, Scream 3, and fourth installment,Scream 4, in the Scream film series.
Paul Stupin, an executive at Columbia TriStar Television, read Scream after the bidding war for the script and was convinced Williamson was just the man to create a television series for his company. The result was Dawson's Creek, a semi-autobiographical tale set in a small coastal community not unlike Oriental. Williamson was the model for the title character, Dawson Leery, a hopeless romantic who is obsessed with movies—especially those of Steven Spielberg. Joey Potter, the platonic girl-next-door, was based on a real life friend of Williamson's when he was young.
In December 1995, the show was pitched to the Fox Network, where Stupin had been an executive, but it was rejected. Then in 1996, Stupin and Williamson went to, and struck a deal with,The WB. Williamson said, "I pitched it as Some Kind of Wonderful, meets Pump Up the Volume, meets James at 15, meets My So-Called Life, meets Little House on the Prairie." Dawson's Creek premiered on The WB on January 20, 1998, and was an immediate hit that helped launch the newly created television network.
In 1999, Williamson left the show to focus on other endeavors, among them ABC's Wasteland, which failed to attract a sizable audience and was canceled after its thirteen-episode first season. He later returned to Dawson's Creek to pen the two-part series finale in 2003.
I Know What You Did Last Summer
In 1997, Williamson penned his next film, I Know What You Did Last Summer, based on a 1973 novel of the same name by Lois Duncan. Centered around four high school friends who accidentally run over a man and dump his body in an attempt to go on with their lives, the plot focuses on the four friends a year after the accident when they become the victims of a serial stalker. Despite receiving negative reviews from critics, the film was a box office success and helped launch the careers of actors Jennifer Love Hewitt, Freddie Prinze, Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Ryan Phillippe, going on to spawn two sequels, none of which Williamson was involved with.
Later work (1999–2009)
Teaching Mrs. Tingle
Williamson's first penned script, originally titled Killing Mrs. Tingle and inspired by Lois Duncan's novel Killing Mr. Griffin, was only produced when he himself got behind the camera to direct. Starring Dawson's Creek's Katie Holmes, Barry Watson, and Helen Mirren, Teaching Mrs. Tingle (as it was renamed after the Columbine High School massacre) followed a group of students getting even with their vindictive teacher. The film was neither a critical nor box office success.
Film and television ventures
In 2001, Williamson created Glory Days as a mid-season replacement for The WB. The series followed a novelist returning to his hometown, a coastal community within Washington state, which was experiencing strange occurrences—seeming to mirror the plot ABC's Twin Peaks. Debuting in January of 2002, the series was canceled after the airing of nine episodes.
Williamson penned another script for Wes Craven, Cursed, which was released in 2005 and starred Christina Ricci, Jesse Eisenberg, Joshua Jackson, and Shannon Elizabeth. The film suffered many script and scheduling difficulties during production and ultimately failed to perform at the box office.
Later in that same year, Dimension Films released Williamson's newest horror film, Venom, about a group of teens stalked by a crazed killer in the bayous of Louisiana. Williamson is listed as a producer of the film, but not as a writer. The film opened to a majority of negative reviews and suffered at the box office, taking in less than $900,000 in gross revenue.
In 2006, Kevin Williamson began production on a new teen drama, tentatively titled Palm Springs, for The CW, the successor to the WB network. Later retitled Hidden Palms, the series was a coming-of-age drama about a troubled teen who moves with his mother and new stepfather to a gated community in Palm Springs, California, where he uncovers dark secrets about his neighbors and his home's previous tenants. Hidden Palms was originally intended to be a midseason replacement set to air in March but its timeslot was filled by Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll instead. The pilot eventually premiered on May 30, 2007, to favorable reviews. However, after eight episodes, the series was canceled due to low viewership ratings. The final episode aired on July 4, 2007.
Return and newfound success (2009–present)
The Vampire Diaries
Williamson developed a new TV series for The CW entitled The Vampire Diaries, which was adapted from a novel series of the same name by L.J. Smith. The series follows the life ofElena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev), who falls in love with vampire Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley), and soon finds herself caught in a love triangle between Stefan and his older brother, Damon (Ian Somerhalder), while the brothers are also being haunted by the past they've had with Katherine Pierce (also played by Dobrev). The series also focuses on the lives of Elena's friends and other inhabitants of the fictional town of Mystic Falls, Virginia. The Vampire Diaries premiered on September 10, 2009, and has become a domestic and international hit.
The Secret Circle
Williamson developed a new TV series for The CW entitled The Secret Circle, which was from another book series of Vampire Diaries writer, L. J. Smith. The series revolves around six teenage witches who form a Circle coven on the fictional town of Chance Harbor, Washington.
The Secret Circle premiered on September 15, 2011, just after the third season premiere of The Vampire Diaries. It was pickup for a full-season on October 12, 2011. It was eventually cancelled.
Return to film
Williamson was the writer and producer for Scream 4, which began shooting in June 2010 and was released in theaters on April 15, 2011.
He created The Following, which began airing on Fox in the 2012–13 television season. Starring critically acclaimed actor Kevin Bacon, the series follows an ex-FBI agent who finds himself in the middle of a network of serial killers. The series has been renewed for a third season to air in 2015.
He created Stalker. An psychological thriller centred around a pair of detectives who handle stalking incidents for the Threat Management Unit of the LAPD. The pilot was directed by Liz Friedlander and starred Dylan McDermott and Maggie Q.
Williamson has said that he knew he was gay "as far back as [he] can remember." He came out to his friends and family in 1992.