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Jonathan Blair Hensleigh (born February 1959) is an American screenwriter and film director, working primarily in the action/adventure genre of films.

Hensleigh graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1981 with a degree in history.[1] He attended the University of Virginia School of Law, received his J.D. from Tulane University Law School, and was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in 1985. Before moving into writing, he worked as an attorney for several years.

Hensleigh's start in the entertainment industry came writing episodes of the television series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. He received his first film credit in 1993's A Far Off Place, for which he wrote an early version of the script.[2] His next two projects were Die Hard: With a Vengeance and Jumanji, both of which were released in 1995. The Die Hard sequel was based on a spec script Hensleigh had originally conceived as a Brandon Lee action film before the actor's death, with the working title Simon Says, the script was also considered for use as the fourth installment of the Lethal Weapon series before being picked up for Die Hard.

This was followed by Hensleigh's involvement in The Rock, which became the subject of a dispute with the Writers Guild of America. In this case, the spec script (by David Weisberg and Douglas Cook) was reworked by several writers, but other than the original team, Mark Rosner was the only one granted official credit by guild arbitration. This was in part due to a rule that a credited writing team had to contribute 50% of the final script (effectively limiting credits to the screenplay's initial authors, plus one re-write team). Despite their work on the script, neither Hensleigh nor Aaron Sorkin were credited in the film. This prompted director Michael Bay to write an open letter castigating the arbitration procedure as a "sham" and a "travesty", saying Hensleigh had worked closely with him on the movie and should have received screen credit.[3]

Hensleigh worked with Bay again on the 1998 disaster film Armageddon, this time officially receiving credit for the screenplay. He also helped rewrite scripts for two other Jerry Bruckheimer projects, Con Air (1997) and Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000), receiving executive producer credit for those (a method sometimes used to credit someone whose work on the film would otherwise go unacknowledged).

Hensleigh made his debut as a director with The Punisher in 2004, with the assistance of his wife, veteran Hollywood producer Gale Anne Hurd. He also co-wrote the script with Michael France, based on the Marvel Comics character The Punisher. Working on a tight schedule and with a relatively small budget, Hensleigh focused on making a "gritty", realistic, and violent action movie that would be true to the spirit of the character.[4]

Other movie credits to Hensleigh's name include The Saint (1997 screenplay, co-written with Wesley Strick), Next (2007 screenplay), and Welcome to the Jungle, a DVD movie he released in 2007 as writer/director. At one point he was set to write and direct Hulk, working on pre-production of that film for a year before pulling out. Some additional unrealized projects Hensleigh has worked on include a Gemini Man film and sequels to Jumanji and The Punisher. As of October 3, 2008 Hensleigh is developing the series Red Mars, which is based on the novel of the same name for AMC.[5] It was also confirmed that Hensleigh will direct a film called The Irishman, based on the book To Kill the Irishman: The War That Crippled the Mafia.[6]






  1. ^ Carey, Mary. "True to their school". UMass Magazine, Winter 1999.
  2. ^ Marx, Andy. "Just Far Away: An Adventure in Adventureland". Los Angeles Times, July 19, 1992, p. 24.
  3. ^ Welkos, Robert W. "'Cable,' 'Rock' in Disputes on Writing Credits". Los Angeles Times, May 21, 1996, p. 1.
  4. ^ Olsen, Mark. "Just call him 'The Punisher'". Los Angeles Times, April 11, 2004, p. E8.
  5. ^ AMC Plans Mars Mission
  6. ^

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