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Phil Johnston

Phil Johnston is a feature film and television writer whose successful career in comedy writing spans both live-action and animation.  

Johnston has co-written two films coming out within a week of each other this March including Walt Disney Animation Studios’ animated feature "Zootopia," directed by Academy Award-nominated directors Byron Howard ("Tangled") and Rich Moore ("Wreck-It Ralph"), with a voice cast that includes Jason Bateman ("Juno"), Ginnifer Goodwin ("Once Upon a Time") and Idris Elba ("Prometheus") for release March 4 and the spy comedy "The Brothers Grimsby," co-written with the film’s star Sacha Baron Cohen ("Borat") and also starring Isla Fisher ("Wedding Crashers") from director Louis Leterrier ("Now You See Me") for Sony Pictures Entertainment, out March 11. 

Johnston’s first produced original screenplay was "Cedar Rapids," a comedy starring John C. Reilly ("Step Brothers") and Ed Helms ("The Hangover"), directed by Miguel Arteta ("Youth in Revolt") for Fox Searchlight in 2011. This project landed Johnston a nomination for Best First Screenplay at the 2012 Independent Spirit Awards. 

His next project was the Academy Award-nominated animated feature "Wreck-It Ralph" for Walt Disney Animation Studios, which he co-wrote with his film school friend Jennifer Lee ("Frozen"). The critically acclaimed box office hit featured a voice cast which included John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman ("School of Rock") from director Rich Moore, for which Johnston won the 2013 Annie Award for Writing in an Animated Feature. 

Prior to screenwriting, Johnston had a prolific career as an on-air broadcast journalist in Minneapolis, Minnesota, earning three Emmy Awards for his work.  He holds a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an M.F.A. in film from Columbia University.  He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, two kids and a transsexual cat named Wayne.