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Hyphenate keeps low profile.

David Koepp, writer and director of the just-released "Secret Window," is the hottest screenwriter you know nothing about.

Except maybe his paychecks.

Likely Hollywood's highest-paid screenwriter, the 39-year-old Koepp recently pocketed $3.5 million for "Zathura," the upcoming sequel to Sony's "Jumanji." He also made an eight-figure pile on "Spider-Man," due to Sony's 1999 writer's agreement, which secured him 2% of the blockbuster's adjusted gross receipts.

There were also "Jurassic Park," "The Lost World" and "Panic Room," to name a few other high-paying credits.

Yet, unlike most scribes in the million-dollar club, Koepp is not a rewrite man, nor does he ensure bling by churning out sequels ("Lost World" excepted). Although he wrote a draft of "Spider-Man 2," he will not be credited in the film.

As for rewrites, he says, "I'm just not good at them. You come in and just when you start to care, it's time to give it to someone else."

Nor does he stick solely to tentpoles. The thriller "Secret Window" was made on a $40 million budget, and his two previous directing gigs, "The Trigger Effect" and "Stir of Echoes," on a quarter of that.

Yet perhaps because he lives in New York City and refuses most interviews, Koepp is an elusive figure in L.A. He's the guy you've heard of--you think.

For the record, Koepp is a regular guy, almost painfully so.

The Wisconsin native followed the standard route to Hollywood via the UCLA film program. He's divorced, has two kids, and quit smoking.

As for the future, he says he's looking forward to getting back to more writing, for reasons of lifestyle: "The naps, the couch, the faint air of depression."

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Title Annotation:Best-Koepp 'Secret'; David Koepp
Author:LaPorte, Nicole
Publication:Variety
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 15, 2004
Words:280
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