Ken Scott, writer, director, actor (born 1970 in Dalhousie, NS). Ken Scott worked as a comedian and actor before writing several of the most accessible and appealing French Canadian films of the early 21st century. His intricately written commercial comedies La grande séduction (Seducing Doctor Lewis, 2003) and Starbuck (2011), which he directed, topped the Canadian box office in their respective years and have been remade in different languages around the world — a testament to their universal appeal.
Early Years and Career
Scott was born in Dalhousie, Nova Scotia and raised in a bilingual household in Laval, Québec. He received a certificate in screenwriting from the Université du Québec à Montréal in 1991 and appeared as a member of the popular comedy troupe Les Bizarroids. He starred in a series of cheese commercials for the Dairy Farmers of Canada and performed onstage in his colleague Stephane E. Roy’s play, Propagande. Scott’s first screenplay, a slapstick comedy called La vie après les amour (2000), was a box office hit and earned him his first Jutra Award nomination for screenwriting.
La grande séduction and Worldwide Acclaim
In the early 2000s, Scott wrote and co-starred in the Montréal-based Radio-Canada TV series La Plateau (2002).He then wrote the screenplay for Jean-Francois Pouliot’s La grande séduction (Seducing Doctor Lewis, 2003),a widely distributed and extremely popular comedy about a declining coastal Québec village revitalized by the presence of a handsome big-city doctor. With its blend of charming small-town comedy and crowd-pleasing romance, La grande séduction was earmarked by critics as a likely crossover hit with remake potential. After screening at Cannes and winning major awards at several international film festivals, including an audience award at Sundance, the film won the Golden Ticket Jutra Award for grossing nearly $8 million at the box office, and earned Scott Jutra and Genie nominations for his screenplay. In 2004, Montréal’s La Presse named him one of the 25 most influential people on the Québec cultural scene.
Continued Success and Starbuck
Scott was charged with writing the script for Charles Binamé’s Maurice Richard (The Rocket, 2005), a biopic about the legendary French-Canadian hockey player Maurice “Rocket” Richard (played by Roy Dupuis). The film was a hit and showed that Scott (who was again nominated for a Genie and a Jutra) could deliver more serious material in his screenplays. He also built on his reputation as an author of intricately written commercial comedies with Pouliot’s Guide de la Petite Vengeance (2006) and made his directorial debut with the gangster farce Les Droits Croches (2009).
More successful than either of these was Starbuck (2011), a comedy he directed starring Patrick Huard as a man who has unknowingly fathered 533 biological children via donations to a sperm bank. The film was a runner-up for the coveted People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and made TIFF’s list of Canada’s Top Ten features of the year. It went on to earn more than $3.5 million at the box office and won the Golden Reel Award as the highest-grossing Canadian feature of 2011. Scott and co-writer Martin Petit received a Genie Award for Best Screenplay.
Starbuck’s massive success and broad appeal resulted in remakes in India (Vicky Donor, 2012) and France (Fonzy, 2013). Scott himself directed an American remake, Delivery Man (2013). Despite the participation of Hollywood star Vince Vaughn and fidelity to the original story, the film was not as well received as Starbuck. Scott also participated in the English-language remake of his first major hit, co-writing (with Michael Dowse) the screenplay for Don McKellar’s The Grand Seduction (2013), starring Taylor Kitsch, Liane Balaban and Gordon Pinsent. Scott’s fourth feature as a director, the Hollywood comedy Unfinished Business, stars Dave Franco, James Marsden and Vince Vaughn, and is scheduled for release in 2015.
- Most Popular Canadian Film (Starbuck), Vancouver International Film Festival (2011)
- Original Screenplay (Starbuck), Genie Awards (2011)
- Cineplex Golden Reel Award (Starbuck), Genie Awards (2011)
- Best Narrative Feature, Audience Award (Starbuck), Palm Springs International Film Festival (2012)
- Golden Ticket Award, Jutra Awards (2012)