The Story of James Gray’s Story

How a painful chapter from his own youth revived James Gray’s passion for filmmaking.

It was the afternoon of February 6, 1990, and James Gray was sitting in his office with his head buried in a leather-bound copy of the first James Bond novel, From Russia With Love. His son was at his office, a couple of miles away, in Chicago, getting a haircut.

The book Gray had left on the bookshelf was the latest best-seller from British author Ian Fleming, the creator of the James Bond character. His name was at the top of the first page, and that was all he could see on his desk.

Gray had a story to tell, and he didn’t want to be interrupted. He and his son were going to work on it.

A couple of hours later, he returned to his desk. He was red-faced and sweating. His son was gone. James Gray had been punched in the face.

He began to tell everyone what happened. Within minutes, the news was on the wire: The Chicago police were searching for James Gray as a suspect in the attack. The British tabloids raced to give Gray a cover, and a flurry of magazines and websites began to pay him royalties for writing about the attack. He got an exclusive interview on the Today show.

The story inspired James Gray’s passion for filmmaking.

A passionate storyteller, Gray quickly became a master of the short film. He started with simple, bare-bones projects and worked his way up. He found success writing, producing and directing films that explored the human condition.

But Gray’s life and his work were about to take on an even more intimate level. The world was riveted by a story about a man who was falsely accused of rape. His attacker was convicted and sentenced to death; Gray was on the sidelines.

That was on June 8, 1989, when a young woman

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