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24 Movies That Were Written By People You'd Never Expect

You'll never believe what J.J. Abrams wrote way before Star Wars.

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1. J.J. Abrams — Gone Fishin'

Rachel Murray / Getty
Buena Vista Pictures

Gone Fishin' writing credits: Jill Mazursky, J.J. Abrams

Before Star Wars, Star Trek, Super 8, Lost, Alias, and Felicity, J.J. Abrams — then known as Jeffery Abrams — wrote the slapstick buddy comedy Gone Fishin' starring Joe Pesci and Danny Glover.

2. Louis C.K. — Pootie Tang

Jemal Countess / Getty Images
Paramount Pictures

Pootie Tang writing credits: Louis C.K.

Back in 2001, Louis C.K. was a writer for The Chris Rock Show, where he created the character Pootie Tang — which was made into the critically panned but cult favorite movie by the same name.

3. Shonda Rhimes — Crossroads

Mark Davis / Getty Images
Paramount Pictures

Crossroads writing credits: Shonda Rhimes

Before Shonda Rhimes created Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, and Scandal, she was a young screenwriter penning the Britney Spears vehicle Crossroads and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.

4. Judd Apatow — Heavy Weights

Imeh Akpanudosen / Getty Images
Buena Vista Pictures

Heavy Weights writing credits: Judd Apatow, Steven Brill

Before he wrote and directed The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and Funny People; produced Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Superbad, and Pineapple Express; and created Freaks and Geeks, Judd Apatow co-wrote one of the more memorable kids movies of the '90s.

5. Justin Theroux — Tropic Thunder

Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images
Dreamworks Pictures

Tropic Thunder writing credits: Justin Theroux, Ben Stiller, Etan Cohen

In addition to his diverse and prolific acting career, the star of HBO's The Leftovers is also an accomplished screenwriter. Theroux has helped write Tropic Thunder, Iron Man 2, and Rock of Ages.

6. Quentin Tarantino — It's Pat

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Buena Vista Pictures

It's Pat writing credits: Jim Emerson, Stephen Hibbert, Julia Sweeney

Tarantino is known for bloody action films like Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, and Inglourious Basterds, so it's more than a little surprising that he was an uncredited writer on a Saturday Night Live film, but he confirmed his involvement during a 1994 Playboy interview.

7. Rashida Jones — Toy Story 4

Charley Gallay / Getty Images
Walt Disney Motion Pictures

Toy Story 4 writing credits: Rashida Jones, Will McCormack

The former star of Parks and Recreation is co-writing the screenplay of the newest chapter in the Toy Story franchise.

8. Nat Faxon and Jim Rash — The Descendants

Larry Busacca / Getty Images
Fox Searchlight Pictures

The Descendants writing credits: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash

Yep, Nat Faxon (that guy from Beerfest) and Jim Rash (the dean from Community) helped co-write the Oscar-winning screenplay for The Descendants with director Alexander Payne.

9. Tom McCarthy — Up

Jason Merritt / Getty Images
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Up writing credits: Pete Doctor (story by/screenplay), Bob Peterson (story by/screenplay), Tom McCarthy (story by)

The writer and directer of this year's Academy Award–nominated film Spotlight also received a "story by" credit for Up, making him partially responsible for the saddest five minutes in movie history.

10. Tom Hanks — That Thing You Do!

Chris Jackson / Getty Images
20th Century Fox

That Thing You Do! writing credits: Tom Hanks

America's favorite actor has picked up the pen a couple times in his career, writing That Thing You Do! and co-writing Larry Crowne.

11. Carrie Fisher — The Wedding Singer

Andy Kropa / Getty Images
New Line Cinema

The Wedding Singer writing credits: Tim Herlihy

Carrie Fisher may be best known as Princess Leia in Star Wars, but what a lot of people don't know is she was also an in-demand script doctor, helping to polish scripts and punch up jokes for Hook, Sister Act, Lethal Weapon 3, and The Wedding Singer among others while remaining uncredited.

12. Alexander Payne — I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry

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Universal Pictures

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry writing credits: Barry Fanaro, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor

Yep, the same Alexander Payne who gave us Election, Sideways, The Descendants, and Nebraska was also partially responsible for a draft of a screenplay that eventually became Chuck and Larry.

13. Joss Whedon — Toy Story

Jason Merritt / Getty Images
Buena Vista Pictures

Toy Story writing credits: John Lasseter (original story by), Pete Docter (original story by), Joe Ranft (original story by), Andrew Stanton (original story by/screenplay), Joss Whedon (screenplay), Joel Cohen (screenplay), Alec Sokolow (screenplay)

The Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator and Avengers director was also among the many writers credited with the Pixar classic Toy Story.

14. George Miller — Babe

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Universal Pictures

Babe writing credits: George Miller, Chris Noonan

The madman behind Mad Max: Fury Road also happens to be the mind behind the Academy Award–winning Happy Feet and Best Picture nominee Babe.

15. James Gunn — Scooby Doo

Stuart C. Wilson / Getty Images
Warner Bros.

Scooby-Doo writing credits: James Gunn (story/screenplay), Craig Titley (story)

The writer and director of Guardians of the Galaxy also wrote the live-action adventure of Scooby, Shaggy, and the rest of the gang.

16. Thomas Lennon — Night at the Museum

Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images
20th Century Fox

Night at the Museum writing credits: Robert Ben Garant, Thomas Lennon

The former Reno 911 star and character actor who's in seemingly every comedy has also written the screenplays for Taxi, Herbie Fully Loaded, and all the Night at the Museum films.

17. Owen Wilson — Rushmore

Ian Gavan / Getty Images
Buena Vista Pictures

Rushmore writing credits: Wes Anderson, Owen Wilson

The Wedding Crashers star also helped frequent collaborator Wes Anderson write Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums.

18. Noah Baumbach — Madagascar 3

John Phillips
Paramount Pictures

Madagascar 3 writing credits: Eric Darnell, Noah Baumbach

The critically acclaimed writer and director of Francis Ha, The Squid and the Whale, and Greenberg and frequent Wes Anderson collaborator also wrote the screenplay for the kid-friendly Madagascar 3.

19. Danny Strong — The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images
Lionsgate

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 writing credits: Peter Craig, Danny Strong

The Mad Men, Gilmore Girls, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer actor has written The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2, and Lee Daniel's The Butler and is a co-creator of Empire.

20. Dan Futterman — Capote

David Livingston / Getty Images
Sony Pictures Classics

Capote writing credits: Dan Futterman

Yep, Robin Williams' character's son in the classic film The Birdcage is also an Academy Award–nominated screenwriter for Capote and Foxcatcher.

21. Clark Gregg — What Lies Beneath

Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images
DreamWorks Pictures

What Lies Beneath writing credits: Clark Gregg (story/screenplay), Sarah Kernochan (story)

The recognizable Avengers and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D actor was also the writer of the creepy Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer flick What Lies Beneath.

22. Roald Dahl — You Only Live Twice

Ronald Dumont / Getty Images
United Artists

You Only Live Twice writing credits: Roald Dahl (screenplay), Harold Jack Bloom (additional story material)

The famous British children's writer of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, and Fantastic Mr. Fox also wrote the screenplay for a James Bond thriller.

23. M. Night Shyamalan — Stuart Little

Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images
Columbia Pictures

Stuart Little writing credits: M. Night Shyamalan, Greg Brooker

The Sixth Sense and Signs directer took a break from his twist endings to write a kids movie about an orphaned little mouse voiced by Michel J. Fox.

24. Busy Philipps — Blades of Glory

Mike Windle
Paramount Pictures

Blades of Glory writing credits: Jeff Cox (story/screenplay) Craig Cox (story/screenplay), John Altschuler (screenplay), Dave Krinsky (screenplay), Busy Philipps (story)

The Freaks and Geeks, Dawson's Creek, and Cougar Town star also has a "story by" credit for the Will Ferrell comedy Blades of Glory.

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