Unraveling the Usual Suspects

The Usual Suspects, written by Christopher McQuarrie and directed by Bryan Singer, premiered at the
Sundance Film Festival in 1995 and went on to become an icon of independent film. With stylistic
nuance and characters that stray from the norm, what appears at first glance to be a straightforward
caper concludes in one of the most original and surprising endings in recent American cinema.

Featuring McQuarrie and moderated by writer/director Peter Hedges, this program presents never before
seen uncut footage straight from The Usual Suspects set and reveals how specific scenes
evolved from script to improv, as well as happy accidents that coalesced in the final film. Both
McQuarrie and Hedges have served many times as creative advisors for Sundance Institute’s Directors
and Screenwriters Labs. This program mirrors one of the most important elements of the Labs—an
established artist advising emerging filmmakers by revealing insights into his or her own creative process.

Christopher McQuarrie’s screenplay for The Usual Suspects was recognized with an Academy Award and
an Independent Spirit Award. With credits that include Pieces of April (writer/director), About a Boy (writer),
and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (writer), moderator Peter Hedges’ work in film and theater is marked
by uniquely memorable characters and a sense of humor that brings levity to the darkest of situations.


Christopher McQuarrie
Peter Hedges
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