Roberto Orci was named “one of the 50 most powerful Latinos in Hollywood” by The Hollywood Reporter in 2007. As of that year, Orci—born of a Mexican father and Cuban mother—had a string of co-writing film credits that included The Legend of Zorro, Mission Impossible III, and Transformers, as well as writer/producer status on such small screen affairs as Xena: Warrior Princess, Jack of All Trades, Fringe and Alias. Since then, Orci has risen quite a few notches up HR’s Latino list and for any list in Hollywood for that matter, accruing a slew of film credits, including Star Trek Into Darkness, The Amazing Spider Man 2, the TV series, Hawaii Five-O on CBS, Matador for El Rey Network and CBS’s debut drama, Scorpion. And for FOX, he is now launching the second season of the fantasy drama, Sleepy Hollow, serving as co-creator/executive producer, along with Alex Kurtzman and Len Wiseman.
“I’m looking forward to this season,” Orci exclaims. “It is all about war.” The first season of Sleepy Hollow established that the legendary Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow is actually the first of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, named Death. This season establishes the second Horseman, War, who had been introduced in the first season as townsman Henry Parrish (John Noble), but is actually Jeremy Crane, the son of Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) and his wife Katrina (Katia Winter) and also the second of the apocalyptic Horsemen. All three had been transported from the Revolutionary War of the late 18th century to modern day Sleepy Hollow.
Orci affirms, “War obviously is coming to town, literally as personified by Mr. Noble. We are going to be carrying through the theme that something like war can tear not only a town apart, but a family apart. This is about Katrina and Crane and how they will react to the potential conflict. Can they redeem their son or not and how do the people around them deal with this? Sometimes you have to just go at evil the hard way.”
Forty-one year old Orci, who was raised in Los Angeles, attended Crossroads School in Santa Monica where he was a classmate of his future writing partner Kurtzman. He then attended University of Texas at Austin prior to launching himself as a screenwriter. He recalls, “As a writer, I didn’t start out to be so involved in heroic fantasies, but that’s the way it has turned out.”
Orci’s first major credit was the American/New Zealand TV series, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (1997-98). He has come a long way since then. Aside from all his other commitments, Orci was all set to exec produce The Power Rangers movie for Lionsgate this year. He had to drop out because he got a better offer. Orci is now writing and directing the upcoming Star Trek 3 feature film for Paramount. He also affirms he is not slighting Sleepy Hollow, which began its second season on Monday October 20 (9pm) and will run for 18 episodes.
“Obviously, there is a bit of time management involved in all this,” Orci admits. “But I am just as committed on keeping Sleepy Hollow up to the standard we established during its first season.” The series, which is very loosely based on Washington Irving’s 1820 short story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, also features Nicole Beharie, Orlando Jones and Lyndie Greenwood as series regulars and Nicholas Gonzalez in his recurring role of Detective Morales.