Laeta Kalogridis

The euphoniously named screenwriter and producer Laeta Kalogridis got her start in Hollywood while she was still in film school at UCLA, when her script for an action blockbuster epic about French martyr Joan of Arc was optioned in 1994. Unfortunately, that early success was followed by a long and frustrating ride--although she wrote and sold several other scripts (including an early abandoned draft of what would become 2000's "X-Men"), it wasn't until the '02 television action drama "Birds of Prey," which she created and executive-produced, that her work finally saw the light of day. Even that was a temporary victory--the series, a female-driven "Batman" spin-off based on the cult-favorite DC Comics series of the same title, lasted for only 13 episodes. Still, that was five more than her next series managed, a stylish and action-packed reboot of the campy '70s favorite "Bionic Woman"; that ratings-challenged show was eventually crippled by the 2008 Writers Guild of America strike, during which Kalogridis played a high-profile role as a peacemaker attempting to find common ground between writers and producers. By that point in her career, she had begun a professional collaboration with maverick director James Cameron, writing two scripts with him (a biopic about a deep-sea-diving couple and an adaptation of the popular post-apocalyptic Japanese manga "Battle Angel") and serving as executive producer on the phenomenally popular, visually groundbreaking "Avatar." She followed that enormous success by writing and executive-producing Martin Scorsese's mind-bending thriller "Shutter Island."