Jonathan Tropper Never Gave Up on Dream

Family Ties Nurtured Author on Road to Literary Stardom

By Laurie Gwen Shapiro

Published August 23, 2012, issue of August 31, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 3 of 3)

Currently, Tropper is consumed with “Banshee,” which will premiere this January. The premise: “A convicted felon gets out of jail after 15 years and fakes his identity to become sheriff,” Tropper said. Schickler, Tropper’s co-creator and writing partner on “Banshee,” is another 42-year-old. They met at a party thrown by mutual friend, James Frey, infamous author of “A Million Little Pieces.” Schickler, a practicing Catholic, quickly realized they were both novelists from strong religious backgrounds with a yen for action movies, and they decided to join forces. Schickler and Tropper had planned to pitch their ideas together, but as it happened, Tropper found himself in Los Angeles with a rare opportunity to pitch the idea for “Banshee” directly to Alan Ball.

“By the time Jonathan had walked to the parking lot, Alan had called Jonathan’s agent to say he wanted in,” Schickler said.

“I love that in his books and screenplays, Jonathan’s characters get 100% sucked into crisis,” said Greg Yaitanes, Banshee’s showrunner, who held that position on the TV show “House,” as well. Yaitanes, who was famously one of Twitter’s six original investors, doesn’t want for money but said he started “stalking” “Banshee” a day after hearing about it, hoping he could possibly direct.

Dassi Lewis recently visited her big brother on set in Charlotte: “There was an entire building just for the show,” she told me. “Everyone was coming up to him constantly. Wardrobe, casting, art department. ‘Jonathan! What do we do about this?’ Everyone wanted his opinion. Jonathan was the guy in charge. I was in awe.”

Once he’s finished with the first season of “Banshee,” Tropper has a slew of projects awaiting him. “The Book of Joe,” originally optioned in 2004 by Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment is now being produced independently by Tropper with Ed Burns. The 2005 book “Everything Changes,” originally optioned to Maguire, just got independent financing; Tropper is writing and producing the screenplay, and Paul Rudd is attached to co-produce and star. Tropper’s script for “This Is Where I Leave You” is at Warner Bros., and he is working on it with “Rock of Ages” director Adam Shankman. He’s also working on a pile of scripts, including one based on Steve Martin’s novella, “The Pleasure of my Company.” And Dutton has just announced a new deal on an as-yet-unwritten novel.

While we spoke, Tropper moved one of his daughter’s toys away from the middle of the kitchen floor — tripping hazard. Given everything that’s happening in his career, these should be the gladdest days of his life. I resisted the temptation to give him a hug, for he doesn’t look like an entirely glad man. Above all the success looms the long shadow of divorce. Perhaps in the past, he had to fashion out of his imagination a Tropperesque man in emotional crisis, but now it seems as though he no longer has to make such a creative leap.

The current novel shows a darker side of him than his previous ones, he admits, even if it is a largely comic mediation on loneliness. “This book is different,” he said. “I’m playing with regret and redemption, and the simple truth that one can never control the end result of their lives. But in a way that goes down easy, I hope.”

Laurie Gwen Shapiro, Emmy-nominated director, is executive producing “The Manor,” an upcoming documentary about a Jewish family that owns a strip club, and directing “The Lowline,” about the world’s first proposed underground park on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.