‘Déjà Vu’ Screenwriter Bill Marsilii Joins JPCatholic Faculty

January 20, 2020 | By Clare Schmidt

Last quarter, JPCatholic welcomed Hollywood screenwriter Bill Marsilii as an adjunct professor. Marsilii co-wrote the 2006 film Déjà Vu (starring Denzel Washington and Jim Caviezel) which sold for a record $5 million and remains the highest-selling spec script of all time.

“As a fellow Catholic in the film industry, I try to throw the ladder down where I can to younger people and aspiring writers and filmmakers,” Marsilii said. “This [teaching position] seems like a good way to do it.”

Throughout his career, he has sold screenplays to studios such as Disney, Paramount, Warner Bros., and Lionsgate. He has been a guest lecturer for a variety of film and screenwriting programs, including those at UCLA TFT, USC, NYU and Pepperdine, and has also served as a mentor for the Act One Screenwriting Program, which is “a Christian community of entertainment industry professionals who train and equip storytellers to create works of truth, goodness and beauty.”

Marsilii’s first course at JPCatholic was titled “Spiritual Content in Mainstream Film”, and consisted of five 6-hour sessions. Students learned how to analyze the spiritual content of cinema, and workshopped Catholic morality into their stories in a way that appeals to a mainstream audience.

He expressed his desire to help students break into the industry, and give them advice he wishes he started out with: “What’s the phrase…’If I knew then what I know now.’ Well, why don’t I pass on what I know now to somebody who’s just starting out, so that they don’t have to take five years learning how to get through this kind of a challenge; better to know that going in. I hope that’s an insight I’m able to offer my students.”

Marsilii looks forward to continue offering that support to JPCatholic students. On February 19th, he will be giving a lecture on campus as part of the Impacting Culture Speaker Series, How to Get Christian Themes Greenlit: Practical Insights from a Hollywood Screenwriter. The free lecture is open to all students as well as the public - guests can learn more and RSVP here.