Danny Collins hits UK cinemas this Friday, and whilst the story of a singer realising how much his life diverted after fame took hold is a delightful comic drama for Al Pacino and Annette Benning, among other big names, to show off their talents with, there’s another name, behind the curtain, who has had a really strong rise to prominence in the past half decade. Writer Dan Fogelman makes his directorial debut with the film, but not for lack of hard work and an awful lot of waiting around as project after project slowly manifested itself around Hollywood.

Much like Joss Whedon, Fogelman’s earlier screen credit can be found amongst a large group on a Pixar production, whilst Whedon’s was Toy Story, Fogelman was one of many to work on Cars, which certainly helped get him in John Lasseter’s vision by the time John went to help run Disney’s animation department. Dan Fogelman worked on Bolt and Tangled as a result (As well as getting sole screenplay credit on Fred Claus) but before even that, his journey on The Blacklist had begun, with an entry in 2005 for ‘Becoming A Man.


The Blacklist is formed at the end of every year, where a group of studio and development script readers send a list each of their favourite scripts that as-of then haven’t gone further than being printed on paper, and the votes are counted creating a list of unproduced scripts of note in the industry. Dan Fogelman is no stranger to The Blacklist, but ‘Becoming A Man’ is the rarest of his entries, in that is never got made, but parts have been adapted for other works instead. 2008’s entry has a similar fate, an untitled script written for the late Gary Coleman to star, that never got made because fate had other plans.

As Fogelman’s actual work at Disney continued, though, scripts he wrote on spec and specifically for producers/companies started popping up on the list. 2009 saw ‘My Mother’s Curse’ make the list, which would eventually becoming the sweet and funny Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand movie The Guilt Trip, whilst 2010 doubled his appearances, with Crazy, Stupid, Love and Imagine popping up, the former would hit cinemas less than a year later, whereas Imagine was made under the name Danny Collins.

Crazy Stupid Love -Steve Carell & Ryan Gosling

The only film since all this that never hit the list was Last Vegas, a surprise hit with Robert DeNiro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline that, much like Fogelman’s work, was vastly superior than any trailer could ever present it, full of heart, warmth and genuine wit, as well as interesting and well-rounded characters. Dan Fogelman’s work is often the kind that takes a concept that you imagine playing out in your head as you hear about it, and finds the depth to hang on to, to play off of, rather than just going for the easiest, cheapest beats possible.

But before we hit summer 2015, Dan Fogelman had one more world to conquer before directing. TV.

the neighbours

In the autumn of 2012 a pilot called The Neighbors went to series, a family sitcom about a very loud family who move to a suburb only to find all the other residents are a hidden alien colony. The show ran two seasons, with a musical episode featuring the works of Alan Menken, and when the show was cancelled the two didn’t finish working together.

Fogelman’s work appeared again on TV in January 2015 with Galavant, an 8-part comedy musical about the esteemed knight Sir Galavant leading a triumphant charge against a spiteful king, and journeying across the land, meeting strange folk on the way (“Weird Al” Yankovic as a monk singing ‘Hey Hey, We’re The Monks’, Ricky Gervais as a not-so-brilliant wizard, Hugh Bonneville as an especially goofy pirate) and is set for a second run next year.


With the writing and development of 2 TV shows under his belt, Dan Fogelman took the final big leap of any creative in the film and TV industry with Danny Collins, directing. Which takes us to this week, and the gosh-darn talented individual has done it, and with Al Pacino, Annette Benning, Jennifer Garner, Christopher Plummer and Bobby Carnavale at his beck and call as well.

Fogelman has conquered screenplays time and time again, and with his first feature he’s looking set to really make a splash around the world as his career continues to rise and rise, and his work entertains as thoroughly as ever. We certainly can’t wait to see what’s next on the horizon for the man, and enjoy what has already been given to us over the last decade.