THE SCRIPT DOCTOR IS IN
THERE'S A PART OF JOHN HODGE THAT dreads cocktail parties. He's not antisocial; he just balks when people ask what he does for a living. "If I am writing at the time, I say I am a screenwriter," says Hodge, 33, who has scored amazing success with his first three films: 1994's Shallow Grave, Trainspotting in 1996 and, now, A Life Less Ordinary, starring Ewan McGregor and Cameron Diaz
. "If I am practicing medicine at the time, I say I am a doctor." He has considered simplifying things (his life included) by dropping medicine. Easier said than done. "If my day job was working in a steel mill," he says, "I probably wouldn't be so enthusiastic about it."
To medicine born—his parents were both doctors in Glasgow—Hodge began indulging a notion "to try some writing" between shifts at Edinburgh's Eastern General Hospital, where he worked as an internist after earning his medical degree in 1987. The result was Shallow Grave, a grisly hit about flatmates who find their new roomie dead with a satchel of money. "Even if I hadn't made another movie, I would've been quite content," he says. But for Hodge, who lives in London with his hospital pharmacist wife, Lucy, success called—as did producer Andrew Macdonald, director Danny Boyle and McGregor, his partners on all three films. As with medicine, filmmaking is a collaborative effort. "If you want personal vision," he says, "write a novel."