(written from a Production point of view)
Akiva Goldsman (born 7 July 1962; age 53) is an American screenwriter and producer who made a cameo appearance as a Vulcan council member in 2009's Star Trek. In the sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness, he appeared as a Starfleet admiral. He won an Academy Award for writing the screenplay of the 2001 film, A Beautiful Mind. Interestingly, Goldsman was once rumored to be writing a Star Trek film in 2000, but this was revealed to be false. 
Goldsman is friends with Star Trek producer and director J.J. Abrams. In 2001, Goldsman made a cameo in an episode of Abrams' first series, Felicity. More recently, Goldsman wrote or co-wrote three episodes of Abrams' newest series, Fringe, which was co-created by Star Trek writers and executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. Goldsman's work for Fringe was his first foray into episodic television. He also made his directorial debut on the first episode he wrote, entitled "Bad Dreams".
One of Goldsman's first screenwriting project was the 1994 film adaptation of John Grisham's novel, The Client. That film's director, Joel Schumacher, later called upon Goldsman to adapt another Grisham novel, this time A Time to Kill. Star Trek: The Next Generation guest star Ashley Judd was ultimately cast in the latter film.
Goldsman also wrote the screenplays for the two Batman films directed by Schumacher, Batman Forever (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997). Both of these films ended up featuring Star Trek alumni; Rene Auberjonois and Ed Begley, Jr. appeared in Batman Forever, while John Glover was seen in Batman & Robin.
More recently, Goldsman has collaborated primarily with director Ron Howard. He wrote the screenplay for Howard's A Beautiful Mind, which earned Goldsman not only an Academy Award, but a Golden Globe and a Writers Guild of America Award, as well. Christopher Plummer had a major supporting role in A Beautiful Mind.
Goldsman next worked with Howard on the 2005 Depression-era drama Cinderella Man, which featured Bruce McGill. Their collaboration continued with the 2006 blockbuster adaptation of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code and its 2009 sequel, Angels & Demons. In addition, Goldsman has written two hit films starring Will Smith: 2004's I, Robot (which also featured James Cromwell and Bruce Greenwood) and 2007's I Am Legend (co-starring Salli Elise Richardson).
Goldsman recently made his first foray into episodic television, writing the scripts for two episodes of the Fox series Fringe.
The first movie Goldsman produced was the 1998 science fiction adventure Lost in Space, which he also wrote. He then produced the 1999 action thriller Deep Blue Sea, which featured Ronny Cox.
Since then, Goldsman has produced such films as Starsky & Hutch (co-starring Fred Williamson, Rachael Harris, and featuring a cameo by David Soul), Mindhunters (starring Clifton Collins, Jr. and Christian Slater), Constantine (featuring Larry Cedar), and Mr. & Mrs. Smith (featuring Jennifer Morrison). More recently, he produced the Will Smith blockbusters I Am Legend (the screenplay for which he wrote) and Hancock.
Goldsman has several upcoming films in the works, including Jonah Hex, based on the DC Comics character of the same name. He is also producing The Losers, which is also based on a DC Comics book. This latter film will star Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Zoë Saldana.