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A Conversation with David Self
February 02, 2023 · 26 min

This week on On Story we’re joined by David Self, the writer behind films like Road to Perdition and Thirteen Days. In this episode, Self dissects his career breaking into the industry to writing crime and historical dramas. 

David Self, having been born into an itinerant family of community college and high school teachers, he broke with family tradition and spent most of his waking hours trying to break into Hollywood. In 1994 he found success and was hired to pen the remake of the 1963 film The Haunting for Steven Spielberg. His credits also include Road to Perdition, Thirteen Days, and Wolfman. Crime and thriller film, Road to Perdition, is an adaptation of the DC Comics graphic novel series of the same name. Starring Tom Hanks, it follows the story of  a mob enforcer's son in 1930s Illinois who witnesses a murder, forcing him and his father to take to the road down a path of redemption and revenge. Thirteen Days is a tale of truths about how the Kennedy administration struggled to contain the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. The Haunting is a story about how a study of fear escalates into a heart-stopping nightmare for a professor and three subjects trapped in a mysterious mansion. 

Moderator Barbara Morgan sat down with David Self for a panel about his work at the Austin Film Festival.


Clips of Thirteen Days courtesy of Beacon Pictures.

Clips of Road to Perdition courtesy of DreamWorks Films & Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.

Clips of Wolfman courtesy of Universal City Studios