Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman leads a beautiful life in screenwriting

Akiva Goldsman arrived at the door of producer Brian Grazer in 1998 with one purpose. "I went there," the screenwriter says, "to beg."

Goldsman, who had enjoyed a steady ascension in Hollywood for years, was coming off a string of films that had badly battered his reputation. He had produced and written the forgettable dud "Lost in Space" -- and far worse, he had written the screenplay that would become the 1997 bomb "Batman & Robin," one of the most savagely disliked movies of the decade.

Given that history of burnt popcorn, Goldsman seemed like the least qualified writer in Hollywood to take on the task of adapting Sylvia Nasar's "A Beautiful Mind" for the screen, but that's the job he sought when he visited Grazer at the offices of Imagine Films. Shockingly, he got the gig, and the eventual film, about physicist John Nash and his slippery hold on reality, would win four Academy Awards, including best adapted screenplay for Goldsman, best director for Ron Howard and best picture.

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