David Ayer (L) and Michael Pena in Open Road Films' 'End of Watch'
5. Ayer's real life story is every bit as interesting as the fictional ones he creates. Having bounced around as a kid, Ayer went to high school in the gang infested Rampart district of south central LA. But instead of getting sucked into gang life, Ayer joined the U.S. Navy and became one of their top sonar guys, serving aboard a nuclear attack sub during the thawing of the Cold War. Back home in LA, Ayer started working in construction and as an electrician, while writing short stories on the side. On a job one day, Ayer struck up a conversation with the owner of the house, big-time screenwriter Wesley Strick. Ayer must have left some impression, because Strick took a healthy interest in developing the electrician's screenwriting chops.