July 20, 1973
Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico
After making his start in syndicated television action dramas, Roberto Orci rapidly became one of his era's go-to writers for blockbuster movies. Alongside his writing partner Alex Kurtzman, he co-wrote and produced some of the highest-grossing films of the 2000s, including "Mission: Impossible III" (2006), "Transformers" (2007) and the 2009 reboot of the "Star Trek" franchise. Along with his crowd-pleasing films, Orci co-created or guided some of the most critically-acclaimed television shows of the era, most notably "Alias" (ABC 2001-06) and "Fringe" (Fox 2008-13).Born July 20, 1973 in Mexico City, Orci's family moved to Texas when he was ten years old. However it wasn't until moving to Santa Monica, CA, that Orci met Kurtzman, the teens bonding over a shared love of both French new wave cinema and mainstream movies while at high school. While Orci was attending the University of Texas in Austin and Kurtzman was at Connecticut's Wesleyan University, the duo honed their craft by writing unsolicited spec scripts in their free time. Their first professional job came when they were hired by the syndicated fantasy TV series "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" (1995-99) and its sequel "Xena: Warrior Princess" (1995-2001); Orci and Kurtzman were promoted to head writers at the age of 24. These cult-favorite series led to further TV projects, including work on J.J. Abrams' espionage series "Alias."Their growing reputation as television writers led to Orci and Kurtzman's first big-screen project, "The Legend of Zorro" (2005), a sequel to the adventures of the wild west-era masked vigilante starring Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. The duo wrote the film while continuing their television labors; Orci told the New York Times in 2009, "On 'Alias' when we had to write 'Zorro' at the same time, that was truly brutal. It was like cramming for the bar or something." "The Island" (2005), a sci-fi thriller concerning human clones being harvested for body parts starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson, was Orci and Kurtzman's first collaboration with director Michael Bay. It wasn't a massive critical or commercial success, but earned a respectable $163 million at the worldwide box office. Nevertheless, Bay obviously saw potential, hiring Orci and Kurtzman to tackle the script for his "Transformers" (2007) project, a live-action take on Hasbro's popular toy line; they also wrote the 2009 sequel "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen." The critics didn't love the big, brash, loud "Transformers" movies, but moviegoers flocked to the cinema to see these larger-than-life tale of robots locked in conflict over the fate of Earth, complete with dazzling special effects and explosive action sequences. The two films ended up taking in over $700 million at the box office in the United States alone. Splitting their time between film and television work, Orci and Kurtzman once again teamed up with Abrams to co-create the dark sci-fi series "Fringe." The critically-acclaimed but low-rated series, which dealt with parallel worlds, government experiments and genetic mutation, ran for five seasons. Abrams then called upon his long-time collaborators to help him re-invent the much-beloved "Star Trek" franchise for the big screen by focusing on the young lives of the iconic science-fiction heroes.While most of Orci's best-known work has been in the science fiction and fantasy genres, he has also worked in other genres. Orci was executive producer on the hit romantic comedy "The Proposal" (2009), developed and executive-produced the reboot of television cop drama "Hawaii Five-0," and co-wrote Kurtzman's directorial debut, the family drama "People Like Us" (2012). In 2013, the duo produced the crime thriller "Now You See Me" and returned to their science-fiction roots with the sequel "Star Trek Into Darkness" and the Orson Scott Card adaptation "Ender's Game."