LOS ANGELES — Paul Haggis, the Oscar-winning filmmaker who directed “Crash,” has been living under a cloud since a woman sued him in civil court in 2017, alleging he raped her years ago after they met at an industry party in New York City.
Then on Sunday, things got worse for the writer-director. He was arrested and detained in southern Italy pending a hearing after another woman accused him of sexually assaulting her over the course of two or three days in a bed and breakfast in the area. Through his attorney in Italy, Haggis has maintained his innocence.
On Wednesday, an Italian court ordered him to remain under house arrest in that country while the case is investigated.
The 69-year-old Canadian started his prolific career in Hollywood after moving to Los Angeles in the 1970s. For the first couple of years he came up with story lines on animated programs such as “Plastic Man” and “The Ri¢hie Ri¢h/Scooby-Doo Show.” He and his first wife also got involved with Scientology.
He moved to writing for live-action TV on series including “Diff’rent Strokes,” “The Facts of Life,” “L.A. Law” and the original “Walker, Texas Ranger.” He won shared Primetime Emmy Awards in 1988 for writing in a drama series and drama series for “thirtysomething.”
Then, in 2004, he wrote screenplays for “Million Dollar Baby” and “Crash” and became the first writer to see films based on his scripts win best picture Oscars in back-to-back years. He produced and directed “Crash,” taking home two Oscars of his own in 2006.
Here’s a look at Haggis’ life after his shift to motion-picture work began to pay off.
—First Oscar nomination (January 2005)
Haggis is nominated for an Academy Award in the adapted screenplay category for writing director Clint Eastwood’s “Million Dollar Baby.” In March 2005, he loses to Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, the writers of “Sideways,” but “Million Dollar Baby” wins four Oscars, including best picture.
—The Oscar wins (March 2006)