I received my Ph.D. from the Film and Media Studies program at Indiana University Bloomington before joining the Syracuse University faculty in 2015. An associate professor in the Department of English, I am Director of Undergraduate Studies and teach in the Film and Screen Studies track. Outside of English, I serve on the advising faculty for the Goldring Arts Journalism and Communications program.
My research and teaching concern popular U.S. narrative cinema, often with a particular focus on Hollywood stars, styles, genres, and production trends between the 1930s and 1960s, or the “classical” studio period. Working in these areas led to publications such as Gene Tierney: Star of Hollywood’s Home Front (Wayne State University Press, 2022), a book about the iconic Twentieth Century-Fox star whose films include Laura (1944), Leave Her to Heaven (1945), and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947). While Tierney’s value has been primarily attributed to her legendary beauty (Fox’s head of production called her “the most beautiful woman in movie history”), this book recovers her cultural and historical significance by analyzing what her films and star image meant in the contexts of World War II and the immediate postwar years. Both on and off the screen, Tierney was identified with the ordinary roles of workingwoman, wife, and mother. After undergoing psychiatric treatments during a hiatus from acting, she returned to Hollywood as one of the first stars whose mental illness was the subject of contemporaneous public knowledge.
Other publications have come out of my secondary interest in serial television. With Julie Grossman, I co-wrote the “TV Milestones” volume Twin Peaks (Wayne State University Press, 2020) and co-edited the collection Penny Dreadful and Adaptation (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022).
Currently, I am beginning a new project that examines issues of genre, seriality, and studio branding in the formation of what would be called the Universal Classic Monsters. The research for this book investigates the process of establishing a recognizable “shared universe” for a studio’s intellectual properties before the blockbuster era of sequelization and transmedia franchises we know today.
Penny Dreadful and Adaptation: Reanimating and Transforming the Monster, edited by Julie Grossman and Will Scheibel, Palgrave Macmillan; 1st ed. 2022 edition (December 1, 2022), ISBN-13: 978-3031121791
Gene Tierney: Star of Hollywood's Home Front by Will Scheibel, Wayne State University Press (September 12, 2022), 276pp., ISBN-13: 978-0814348208
Twin Peaks, by Julie Grossman and Will Scheibel, Wayne State University Press, 2020, 122pp., ISBN: 9780814346235
American Stranger: Modernisms, Hollywood, and the Cinema of Nicholas Ray, by Will Scheibel, SUNY Press (March 1, 2017), 258pp., ISBN-13: 978-1438464114
Lonely Places, Dangerous Ground: Nicholas Ray in American Cinema, edited by S. Rybin and Will Scheibel, SUNY Press; Reprint edition (January 2, 2015), 314pp., ISBN-13: 978-1438449807
Research and Teaching Interests
U.S. narrative cinema and serial television; acting and stardom; costume and fashion; director styles and reputations; gender studies; genres and modes of screen media (film noir, melodrama, horror); modernism, modernity, and mass culture.
Interpretation of Film (ENG 154)
American Cinema: From Beginnings to Present (ENG 170)
Hollywood Directors of the 1950s (ENG 320)
Film Noir/Noir Cultures (ENG 340)
The Hollywood Star System (ENG 420)
Classical Hollywood Cinema (ENG 630)
American Film Melodrama (ENG 730)