New Hampshire native Robert Rodat moved to Los Angeles thinking he might produce films but began writing scripts during the ten years spent working on his MFA at USC's film school. He received his first screenwriting credit for "Comrades of Summer," a 1992 HBO movie about an American baseball manager (Joe Mantegna) hired to train a Russian team for Olympic competition. Exploring one of the more recent hypotheses about the identity of the notorious British criminal Jack the Ripper, he penned "The Ripper" (Starz!, 1997), which posited the notion that the murderer was a member of the English royal family. After years of writing spec scripts, Rodat received his first feature credit on a project he co-wrote USC pal Steven L Bloom. "Tall Tale: The Unbelievable Adventures of Pecos Bill" (1995). This well-crafted but unusual fable about a boy who encounters the mythical heroes Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, John Henry and others won critical praise but failed to find an audience. He fared somewhat better with the delightful family picture "Fly Away Home" (1996, co-written with Vince McKewn), the story of a father (Jeff Daniels) and daughter (Anna Paquin) who teach their adopted geese how to migrate. It was, however, his script for Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan" (1998) that elevated Rodat to the circle of A-list screenwriters by highlighting the enormity of the sacrifice and bravery of World War II combatants in a realistic film which at the same time made a powerful anti-war statement.