Goyer and his brother Jeff were born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and were raised by their mother. He is Jewish on his mother's side, and attended Hebrew school. He has stated that in regular school, "a lot of kids beat me up, saying that I killed Christ. I was very consciously different... I grew up with something of a chip on my shoulder." Goyer is an alumnus of Huron High School and the University of Southern California, graduating from the School of Cinema-Television in 1988.
Goyer was a student of screenwriter Nelson Gidding at USC and frequently returned to Gidding's class as a guest speaker. He graduated in 1988 and sold his first screenplay for Death Warrant in 1989, which starred Jean-Claude Van Damme. With his first paycheck, he bought a new Isuzu Trooper, which was stolen the very first night he drove it home.
A professed comic book fanatic, Goyer has written or co-written several screenplays based on comic book characters and series, including Batman, Superman, Ghost Rider, and Blade.
Goyer wrote a title based around the Justice Society of America for DC Comics titled JSA, which debuted in August 1999. For the first five issues, he collaborated with James Robinson and, until his departure following issue 51, with Geoff Johns, who would take over as solo writer.
Alongside Brannon Braga, Goyer co-created FlashForward, a science fiction TV series that premiered on ABC in Fall 2009. The show was based on the novel by Robert J. Sawyer. He stepped in as show runner in October 2009 after the show struggled out of the gate. On Feb. 5, 2010, Goyer announced he would be stepping down as FlashForward showrunner to focus on feature films and directing.
In 2011, Goyer wrote a short story titled "The Incident" in which Superman renounces his United States citizenship.
Goyer worked with Legendary Pictures on three of their upcoming projects. He co-wrote the scripts for The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and Man of Steel (2013). In addition, he did a one-step 4-week rewrite for Legendary Pictures' Godzilla reboot.
In 2011, Goyer also published his first novel, Heaven's Shadow, the first in a trilogy co-written by Michael Cassutt for Ace/Penguin. The novel received generally positive reviews. Goyer subsequently sold the film rights to Warner Brothers and is currently adapting the first novel for the big screen.
In late October 2011, cable channel Starz and BBC Worldwide greenlit his TV project, Da Vinci’s Demons, which followed the life of a 25-year-old Leonardo da Vinci. "This will be a show about secret histories, genius, madness and all things profane," according to Goyer. The show ran for three seasons, and received generally favorable reviews, including an 81% rating from Rotten Tomatoes.
In March 2013, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Goyer would be directing a film adaptation of the novel The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.
In June 2013, he was announced to work on both Justice League and a sequel to Man of Steel.
In September 2013, Goyer delivered a screenwriting lecture as part of the BAFTA and BFI Screenwriters' Lecture Series.
Goyer-produced the horror film The Forest, directed by Jason Zada. Focus Features has the North American distribution rights to the film, which was Zada's feature film directorial debut.
In December 2013, it was announced that he would work with Joseph Gordon-Levitt on a film adaptation of Neil Gaiman's comic book The Sandman, with a story treatment by Goyer and script by Jack Thorne.
By 2014, having already earned a reputation as a veteran of the superhero genre, Goyer shifted his focus to the independent producing arena, hiring producer Kevin Turen to run his company. Explaining his thinking, Goyer said:
“Everybody talks about how it seems like studios increasingly are relying on these big tentpoles and some micro-budget horror films, and that’s the majority of the slate,” Goyer said. “I’ve been a benefactor of that movement, but there are a ton of films out there I’ve really admired over the last few years that studios aren’t making, and I wanted to see if I could help get more of them made.”
In 2015, soon after embracing independent producing, Goyer won a competitive situation to produce the feature version of Miles. Furthermore, he executive-produced Nate Parker's feature Birth of a Nation, which recently sold for a record $17.5 million at Sundance, before sweeping the festival's awards. In addition to producing, Goyer continues to write. In 2014, he was tapped to write and produce the feature Fantastic Voyage, based on the 1966 original, for James Cameron. Breaking the news, the Hollywood Reporter announced:
"The project has been quiet since 2011 but Goyer's involvement kick-starts and will re-engineer what the studio and producers hope to be an event-sized tentpole. It is also now placing the project on the fast track"
In January 2016, acclaimed director Guillermo Del Toro signed on to direct the feature.
Goyer co-wrote Warner Bros.' blockbuster Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016).
In July 2016 it was announced that Goyer will write and direct an upcoming interactive virtual reality film about Darth Vader. Goyer stated that he found creating VR content very different from other media, but said that "it's surprising how much you feel and how emotional [the VR experience] is [...] there is stuff that makes you tear up and cry, and its really phenomenal."
On January 12, 2017, Goyer has signed on to co-produced and co-write the upcoming Green Lantern Corps with Justin Rhodes based on a story treatment by Goyer and Geoff Johns.
On April 26, 2017 it was announced that Goyer has signed on to write the script for the 2019 reboot of Masters of the Universe.
In a May 2014 interview for the podcast Scriptnotes by Craig Mazin, Goyer made the following statement regarding the creation of She-Hulk:
"I have a theory about She-Hulk. Which was created by a man, right? And at the time in particular I think 95% of comic book readers were men and certainly almost all of the comic book writers were men. So the Hulk was this classic male power fantasy. It’s like, most of the people reading comic books were these people like me who were just these little kids getting the shit kicked out of them every day... And so then they created She-Hulk, right? Who was still smart... I think She-Hulk is the chick that you could fuck if you were Hulk, you know what I’m saying? ... She-Hulk was the extension of the male power fantasy. So it’s like if I’m going to be this geek who becomes the Hulk then let’s create a giant green porn star that only the Hulk could fuck."
Stan Lee, one of the creators of She-Hulk, initially responded against Goyer's accusations stating "Never for an instant did I want her as a love interest for Hulk, only a nut would even think of that." Lee later apologized for calling Goyer a "nut."
In an October 2015 interview with The Daily Beast, Goyer clarified his comments from that night:
"It was part of a very off-the-cuff evening, and if people listen to the whole stream there was no one on that panel who was being remotely serious the entire night. My comment was one of a bunch of off-the cuff-comments. What I was trying to say, and I realize people took offense to it, was that when I was a kid people were saying this was a sort of a model character but there were nuances that were lost to me when I was a 13-year-old. We were saying it in a joking way, but that’s what everyone was saying. I think that as a kid, as a prepubescent boy, I said even in my quote that something like 90 percent of the creators were male, as were the readers. So it’s a very biased view of the world."
In the same interview, Goyer went on to say:
"I think the world would be a better place if more filmmakers were either female or came from more diverse backgrounds, because there are too many white male directors. I was on the board of the Writer’s Guild and that was a big issue for us, sort of the chicken-and-the-egg thing: How do we add more diverse voices, especially when the audience is so diverse?"
Writer:Call of Duty: Black Ops (2010)
Call of Duty: Black Ops II (2012)
Heaven's Shadow (2011)
Heaven's War (2012)
Heaven's Fall (2013)