Futterman is also known for several high-profile acting roles, including Val Goldman in the film The Birdcage, and Vincent Gray on the CBS television series Judging Amy.
Futterman, one of three siblings, was born in Silver Spring, Maryland, the son of Linda (née Roth), a psychoanalyst, and Stanley Futterman, a lawyer. He was raised in Conservative Judaism, in an "intellectual family". Futterman grew up in Larchmont, New York, and graduated from Mamaroneck High School in 1985 and Columbia University in 1989.
Futterman is married to television writer and producer Anya Epstein (sister of baseball executive Theo Epstein), with whom he has two daughters: Sylvie (b. 2001) and Eve (b. 2005). They currently live in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
In 1991, Futterman landed his first stage role in the WPA production Club Soda. He also succeeded Joe Mantello as the voluble Louis Ironson in Tony Kushner's Tony award winning play Angels in America on Broadway in 1993. Futterman portrayed an American diplomat's son who runs into trouble in South Africa in Jon Robin Baitz's A Fair Country (1996). He portrayed a slick card player with big dreams in Dealer's Choice (1997).
Futterman's first film role was as a thug who menaces Robin Williams in The Fisher King (1991). He appeared as a teacher in the romantic comedy Breathing Room/'Til Christmas (1996). Far Harbor/Mr. Spreckman's Boat (also 1996) was an ensemble piece which featured Futterman as a smarmy doctor in an interracial relationship. Also in 1996 he played Val, the son of gay lovers and nightclub owners Albert and Armand (again with Robin Williams) in The Birdcage. He also appeared as the American half of a pair of twenty-something con artists in London in Shooting Fish (1997). He also had the leading role as a befuddled young gay man seeking for his missing lover in the NYC-based award-winning drama/thriller Urbania. Futterman's most recent film is A Mighty Heart (2007) with Angelina Jolie; he portrays murdered journalist Daniel Pearl.
Futterman has also made several guest appearances in primetime television. He costarred with Mickey Rourke as a teacher who clashes with a priest in Thicker Than Blood (TNT, 1998) and appeared alongside Ron Eldard and Martin Donovan in the World War II drama When Trumpets Fade (HBO, 1998). In 1999, Futterman made the leap to series TV, co-starring as the brother of the central character on the CBS series Judging Amy. Futterman also had a recurring role as the on-again, off-again boyfriend of one of the four sisters (Kiele Sanchez) on the WB drama Related. He also guest-starred in a four-episode story arc on the sitcom Will and Grace. Futterman was slated to appear in a recurring role on the new ABC drama Brothers & Sisters, also written by Jon Robin Baitz, but bowed out due to scheduling conflicts. He filmed an appearance alongside former "Birdcage" costar Calista Flockhart playing her fiancee, but that version of the pilot underwent massive rewrites and never aired. Previously he also played a metrosexual man (pastry chef Stephan) on Sex and the City.
In 2012 he had a role on the USA series Political Animals.
Futterman wrote the screenplay for Capote, and Futterman's friend Bennett Miller directed the film. Futterman and Miller graduated together from Mamaroneck High School and have been friends since 7th grade. The two recruited another old friend, actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, to star as Truman Capote, and began the process of getting the independent film made. Futterman and Hoffman were Executive Producers of the film. Futterman was recognized with several award nominations, including an Oscar nod for Best Adapted Screenplay.
In 2007, Futterman stated that he would focus on his writing career, and was adapting the novel Everything Changes into a film script for Columbia Pictures.
From 2007 to 2010 Futterman and Epstein were writers and executive producers for the HBO drama series In Treatment.
In late 2009, Futterman and Epstein were in development with HBO to write and executive-produce a half-hour drama series called "T" about a trans man going through gender transition; it is based on a story from the radio show This American Life, and Ira Glass and Alissa Shipp of This American Life were slated to be executive producers as well. The series, scheduled as part of SundanceTV's 2013-2014 lineup, was to be written by Futterman and his wife, Anya Epstein.
Futterman, with E. Max Frye, wrote the screenplay for another Miller-directed film, Foxcatcher (2014), a biographical drama film starring Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, and Mark Ruffalo. He and Frye were nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the 87th Academy Awards.
Dan Futterman not only writes and acts in movies and on television, but he also participates in producing these projects. Recently, when he writes a script he plays the role of the executive producer alongside his wife. Most memorably Futterman was the executive producer on the HBO series In Treatment. Futterman also adapted and produced a ten part series for Fox, Gracepoint.