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8 Pseudonyms Famous Writers and Directors Used in Movie Credits

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Just because you created the work doesn’t mean you want credit for it. Sometimes directors, writers, and actors use pseudonyms to protect their true identity for works they are not proud of, while other various reasons include modesty, religious and political persecution, and just sheer entertainment value. Here are eight movie pseudonyms you may not have known.

1. Pseudonyms: Peter Andrews, Mary Ann Bernard, and Sam Lowry

Real Name: Steven Soderbergh

Director Steven Soderbergh often writes his own movies and works as his own cinematographer and editor. The 50-year-old director doesn’t like to see his name used multiple times, so he adopted the practice of using pseudonyms for his various movie credits.

While working on the film Traffic in 2000, Soderbergh wanted to use the credit “Photographed and Directed by,” but the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) has firm rules against credits between a writer’s credit and a director’s, so Soderbergh decided to use the pseudonym “Peter Andrews” (his father’s first and middle name). He has since used the pseudonym “Mary Ann Bernard” (his mother’s maiden name) for his editing credits, starting with his 2002 film Solaris. At times, Soderbergh also used the pseudonym “Sam Lowry” as a writer’s credit.

2. Pseudonyms: Ian McLellan Hunter and Robert Rich

Real Name: Dalton Trumbo 

In 1947, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) blacklisted Dalton Trumbo for suspected involvement with the Communist Party. Unable to work in Hollywood, Trumbo used the pseudonyms “Ian McLellan Hunter” and “Robert Rich” to continue as a screenwriter. In fact, Ian McLellan Hunter and Robert Rich received Academy Awards for Best Writing for the films Roman Holiday in 1954 and The Brave One in 1957. Dalton Trumbo was later given the Academy Award for The Brave One in 1975, one year before he died. Years later, Trumbo posthumously received the Academy Award for Roman Holiday in 1992.

3. Pseudonym: Douglas Sirk

Real Name: Hans Detlef Sierck

Regarded as a very popular writer and director in pre-war Europe, Hans Detlef Sierck changed his name to “Douglas Sirk” when he fled Nazi Germany to the United States with his Jewish wife in 1937. Douglas Sirk’s career flourished in the States; he made colorful and lush melodramas including Magnificent Obsession, All That Heaven Allows, Written on the Wind, and A Time to Love and a Time to Die. Sirk remained an influence on the next generation of directors such as Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Pedro Almodóvar, Wong Kar-Wai, and Todd Haynes.

4. Pseudonym: Bob Robertson

Real Name: Sergio Leone 

Afraid that American audiences wouldn’t accept a western made in Italy, Sergio Leone and composer Ennio Morricone changed their names to “Bob Robertson” and “Dan Savio” on A Fistful of Dollars in 1967. The film was a big hit in America for its genre bending conventions and heavily violent nature. The film also birthed the popularity of the “Spaghetti Western,” or Italian Western genre in the United States, and Sergio Leone went back to using his real name on all of his future films. 

5. Pseudonym: Roderick Jaynes

Real Names: Joel & Ethan Coen

The Coen Brothers work together as a filmmaking duo: Joel takes the directing credit, while Ethan takes the producing credit, and both share the writing. But when it comes to editing, the Coens decided to use the pseudonym “Roderick Jaynes,” so their names wouldn’t appear multiple times in their films' credits. Roderick Jaynes has twice been nominated for Academy Awards, for his editing work in the films Fargo and No Country For Old Men.

6. Pseudonym: Donald Kaufman

Real Name: Charlie Kaufman

Writer Charlie Kaufman shared a writing credit with his late twin brother, Donald, on the film Adaptation, which was directed by Spike Jonze (real name: Adam Spiegel; the pseudonym is a reference to musician and bandleader Spike Jones). The Kaufman brothers were both nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2003. If he won, Charlie Kaufman would have received both of the Oscars—because Donald never actually existed.

7. Pseudonym: Woody Allen

Real Name: Allan Stewart Konigsberg

Born Allan Stewart Konigsberg, “Woody Allen” changed his name to Heywood Allen at the age of 17 after a traumatic experience at an inter-faith summer camp as a child. He later started to write for The Ed Sullivan Show and The Tonight Show at age 19, before becoming a playwright and a prominent writer and director. 

8. Pseudonym: Alan Smithee

Real Name: Any Director Who Doesn’t Want Credit For A Movie 

The Director’s Guild of America (DGA) invented a pseudonym for directors who had lost creative control on a film’s production and wanted their names off the final version of the movie. “Alan Smithee” was a way for directors to have a “clean” resume divorced from terrible movies. The first use of the pseudonym was on the film Death of a Gunfighter, which Robert Totten and Don Siegel directed separately in 1969.

The DGA retired the Alan Smithee pseudonym in 2000 with Kiefer Sutherland’s use of it on the film Woman Wanted. Other “notable” Alan Smithee uses were David Lynch’s directing credit on the extended edition of the movie Dune, Michael Mann’s credit on the edited for television versions of Heat and The Insider, and Steve Langley’s work on the animated feature film Mighty Ducks The Movie: The First Face-Off. Director Paul Verhoeven used the pseudonym “Jan Jensen” (a Dutch variation of Alan Smithee) on the edited for television version of Showgirls.

Although officially retired, the pseudonym continues to be used as TV, music video, and video game credits.

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10 Memorable Neil deGrasse Tyson Quotes
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Neil deGrasse Tyson is America's preeminent badass astrophysicist. He's a passionate advocate for science, NASA, and education. He's also well-known for a little incident involving Pluto. And the man holds nearly 20 honorary doctorates (in addition to his real one). In honor of his 59th birthday, here are 10 of our favorite Neil deGrasse Tyson quotes.

1. ON SCIENCE

"The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it."
—From Real Time with Bill Maher.

2. ON NASA FUNDING

"As a fraction of your tax dollar today, what is the total cost of all spaceborne telescopes, planetary probes, the rovers on Mars, the International Space Station, the space shuttle, telescopes yet to orbit, and missions yet to fly?' Answer: one-half of one percent of each tax dollar. Half a penny. I’d prefer it were more: perhaps two cents on the dollar. Even during the storied Apollo era, peak NASA spending amounted to little more than four cents on the tax dollar." 
—From Space Chronicles

3. ON GOD AND HURRICANES

"Once upon a time, people identified the god Neptune as the source of storms at sea. Today we call these storms hurricanes ... The only people who still call hurricanes acts of God are the people who write insurance forms."
—From Death by Black Hole

4. ON THE BENEFITS OF TECHNOLOGY INVENTED FOR USE IN SPACE

"Countless women are alive today because of ideas stimulated by a design flaw in the Hubble Space Telescope." (Editor's note: technology used to repair the Hubble Space Telescope's optical problems led to improved technology for breast cancer detection.)
—From Space Chronicles

5. ON THE DEMOTION OF PLUTO FROM PLANET STATUS 

PBS

"I knew Pluto was popular among elementary schoolkids, but I had no idea they would mobilize into a 'Save Pluto' campaign. I now have a drawer full of hate letters from hundreds of elementary schoolchildren (with supportive cover letters from their science teachers) pleading with me to reverse my stance on Pluto. The file includes a photograph of the entire third grade of a school posing on their front steps and holding up a banner proclaiming, 'Dr. Tyson—Pluto is a Planet!'"
—From The Sky Is Not the Limit

6. ON JAMES CAMERON'S TITANIC

"In [Titanic], the stars above the ship bear no correspondence to any constellations in a real sky. Worse yet, while the heroine bobs ... we are treated to her view of this Hollywood sky—one where the stars on the right half of the scene trace the mirror image of the stars in the left half. How lazy can you get?"
—From Death by Black Hole

7. ON DEATH BY ASTEROID

"On Friday the 13th, April 2029, an asteroid large enough to fill the Rose Bowl as though it were an egg cup will fly so close to Earth that it will dip below the altitude of our communication satellites. We did not name this asteroid Bambi. Instead, we named it Apophis, after the Egyptian god of darkness and death."
—From Space Chronicles

8. ON THE MOTIVATIONS BEHIND AMERICA'S MOONSHOT

"[L]et us not fool ourselves into thinking we went to the Moon because we are pioneers, or discoverers, or adventurers. We went to the Moon because it was the militaristically expedient thing to do."
—From The Sky Is Not the Limit

9. ON INTELLIGENT LIFE (OR THE LACK THEREOF)

Perhaps we've never been visited by aliens because they have looked upon Earth and decided there's no sign of intelligent life.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/n/neildegras615117.html
Perhaps we've never been visited by aliens because they have looked upon Earth and decided there's no sign of intelligent life.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/n/neildegras615117.html

"Perhaps we've never been visited by aliens because they have looked upon Earth and decided there's no sign of intelligent life."

10. PRACTICAL ADVICE IN THE EVENT OF ALIEN CONTACT 

A still from Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Universal Studios
"[I]f an alien lands on your front lawn and extends an appendage as a gesture of greeting, before you get friendly, toss it an eightball. If the appendage explodes, then the alien was probably made of antimatter. If not, then you can proceed to take it to your leader."
—From Death by Black Hole
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15 Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Julie Andrews Quotes
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With her saccharine movies and sugary voice, it would be easy for Julie Andrews to cross the line from sweet to cloying. Yet for more than 60 years, the Oscar-winning actress/singer/author has managed to enchant audiences of all ages with her iconic roles in everything from Mary Poppins to The Sound of Music to The Princess Diaries.

Yet just because she sings about raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens doesn’t mean that Andrews doesn’t have an edge. “I hate the word wholesome,” she once declared. In celebration of the beloved movie star’s 82nd birthday, we’ve assembled some of Andrews’s most memorable quotes on everything from being typecast to Mary Poppins's personal habits.

1. ON MAKING THE TRANSITION FROM STAGE TO SCREEN

Mary Poppins was the first movie I made and The Sound of Music was the third. I was as raw as I could be. God knows I did not have the right or the ability in those days to say anything like a mentor. The only thing I did feel was that I could contribute to helping the kids feel natural, making them laugh off the set so that they were easy with me on the set. We had some good times." — From a 2015 interview with HitFix

2. ON THE FRIGHTFUL NATURE OF SUCCESS

“Success is terrifying. Like happiness, it is often appreciated in retrospect. It’s only later that you place it in perspective. Years from now, I’ll look back and say, ‘God, wasn’t it wonderful?” — From a 1966 interview with This Week

3. ON SMILING THROUGH CHALLENGING TIMES

“I was raised never to carp about things and never to moan, because in vaudeville, which is my background, you just got on with it through all kinds of adversities.” — From a 2010 interview with The Telegraph

4. ON AVOIDING TYPECASTING

“I think the hardest thing in a career even as lovely as I’ve had is not to go on being typecast, to keep trying new things. As much as possible, I do try to do that.” — From a 2015 interview with HitFix

5. ON BEING A BADASS

“I’ve got a good right hook.” — From Julie Andrews: An Intimate Biography, by Richard Stirling

6. ON BEING GRATEFUL

“A lot of my life happened in great, wonderful bursts of good fortune, and then I would race to be worthy of it.” — From a 2004 interview with The Guardian

7. ON THE CHANGING DEFINITION OF “SUCCESS”

“You never set out to make a bad movie. You always hope that you’re making a good one. We’re sad about them, inasmuch as they damage the career. In those days it was important, but not as important as it is today, to keep making success after success after success. It’s terrifying today. You can maybe have one so-so movie but you’ve got to come back with another that’s huge, if possible, and that must be very, very difficult for young talent.” — From a 2004 interview with the Academy of Achievement

8. ON THE COLLABORATIVE NATURE OF FILMMAKING

“It is a collaborative medium. If you’re lucky, everyone wants to do just that. You never set out to make a failure; you want a success. In the case of The Sound of Music, everyone was willing to bond and make it work. That is the best kind of working conditions. You don’t want to go in feeling that something’s wrong or that you’re not connecting. Thus far I’ve been really blessed.” — From a 2015 interview with HitFix

9. ON HOW THE PROS DO IT

“Remember: the amateur works until he can get it right. The professional works until he cannot go wrong.” — From Julie Andrews’s autobiography, Home: A Memoir of My Early Years

10. ON BELIEVING IN MIRACLES

“I do think that’s true [that miracles are happening every day]. If you can take the time to look. It took me a while to learn that, though some children know it instinctively and they do have wonder when they are kids. But the trouble is, as we grow older, we lose it.” — Interview with American Libraries Magazine

11. ON LOSING CONTROL

“I can’t drink too much without getting absolutely silly. And drugs have, mercifully, never worked, so I think I’m far more frightened of being out of control.” — From a 2004 interview with The Guardian

12. ON FINDING INSPIRATION

"It comes from anyplace. Truthfully, once the antennae are kind of up I’m always thinking or looking or feeling." — From an interview with American Libraries Magazine

13. ON THE REALITY OF “HAPPILY EVERY AFTER”

"As you become older, you become less judgmental and take offense less. But marriage is hard work; the illusion that you get married and live happily ever after is absolute rubbish." — From a 1982 interview with The New York Times

14. ON LUCK AND LONGEVITY

“When careers last as long as mine—and it’s been a lot of years now—I’m very fortunate that I’m still around. All careers go up and down like friendships, like marriages, like anything else, and you can’t bat a thousand all the time. So I think I’ve been very, very lucky.” — From a 2010 interview with The Telegraph

15. ON HOW MARY POPPINS IS JUST LIKE US

“Does Mary Poppins have an orgasm? Does she go to the bathroom? I assure you, she does." — From a 1982 interview with The New York Times

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