TRIBEZA's 10 to Watch 2015 | Matt Cook

If you don’t already know Matt Cook from his brilliant Texas Monthly pieces, “Soldier” and “The Call of Battle,” then you will soon. Next year, the Austin-based screenwriter and producer has two high profile films set for release: Triple 9 and By Way of Helena. The crime drama Triple 9, which is slated for a February release, features an all-star ensemble cast including Kate Winslet, Casey Affleck and Woody Harrelson. Cook’s other film, By Way of Helena, stars Liam Hemsworth (and, incidentally, Woody Harrelson), and tells the story of a Texas Ranger sent to investigate a series of unexplained deaths in a small Texas town. As if Cook’s year wasn’t busy enough, he and his wife, Lauren Wolf, will welcome their second child this spring.

Why do you love working in this city?

Although the city has seen tremendous growth, there remains a tight-knit writing and film community filled with talented and inspiring people.

What has been your biggest challenge or obstacle this past year?

Recognizing and paying attention to those things I can control and those I can’t.

Who is your creative icon?


What’s one piece of advice you wish someone had given you 5 years ago?

This ties into the biggest challenge of the past year, which is to focus on the things in life I can control and not worry about those I can’t.

What inspires or drives you?

My military experiences, my wife and my son.

How do you get it all done?

Early mornings, late nights, outlines and fear of failure.

How do you relax?


What makes you laugh?


What are you proudest of professionally?

That I’ve found success doing something I love.

What helps you get through creative blocks?

Knowing all my writing involves rewriting, I just push through. If you write through the block you get the basic idea out there, then can go back later and polish it.

Tell us what to expect from you in 2016:

Triple 9 is slated for release in February. By Way Of Helena has no date set, but should be out in 2016. This industry is filled with many unknowns, but hopefully some of my other projects will move further towards/into production, including Matterhorn (based on the Vietnam War novel by Karl Marlantes), which is being adapted as a series for HBO, and a film about the Apostle Paul which will star Hugh Jackman and is being produced by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s Pearl Street.


Portraits by Bill Sallans | Styling by Ashley Horsley | Hair by Gabrielle van Der Meer | Make up by Bethany Renfro of Lip Service


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