Although John Francis Daley is best known for on-screen roles in TV shows like Freaks and Geeks and Bones, his latest passion is the written word.
His and fellow writer Jonathan Goldstein’s first feature film, Horrible Bosses, will arrive in theaters July 8. The 25-year-old talked about the transition from child actor to screenwriter in a recent interview with New York Magazine.
“Ever since I was seven years old, I was writing,” recalls Daley of his early days as a scribe. “I remember being in the basement of my house, this dank, horrible basement, putting on plays with not-very-willing participants, and I would promise kids in the neighborhood that I’d play Nintendo 64 with them after we’d rehearse this stupid play that I wrote. The epic I remember best is this tale that took place in Pompeii during the Vesuvius disaster. You’d laugh, you’d cry…”
As with many others in Hollywood, it was none other than Steven Spielberg that got Daley interested in filmmaking. However, in Daley’s case, it was through an actual encounter with the legendary producer and director. “He had told my dad to get me a computer with editing equipment and a camera so that I could pursue filmmaking, because it’s something I had expressed to my dad that I had wanted to do,” said Daley. Ten years later at a pitch meeting, “He looked at me with that look of, ‘I know I’ve seen you…’ and I reminded him and he said, ‘Oh, wow, so you’re writing now? And you’re still acting?’ It was one of the most surreal meetings that I think I’ve ever had.”
This isn’t to say that Daley has given up acting for good. He plays a bit part in Horrible Bosses, which follows a group of three friends as they plot to kill their contemptible supervisors. He initially read for one of the leading roles, but that part was eventually given to Jason Bateman, who co-stars along with Kevin Spacey and Jason Sudeikis, among others. “I’m very glad that they were able to get these incredible players, and it works so much more that they’re older, because I don’t think you would buy that someone so young in their career would already have the impulse to kill his boss. You might not be onboard with that person.”