Matthew Chapman (author)
|Occupation||Writer, film director, journalist|
|Relatives||Charles Darwin, F. M. Cornford, Frances Cornford|
Matthew H.D. Chapman (born 1950) is an English journalist, screenwriter, and director. His latest film, The Ledge, which he wrote and directed, stars Charlie Hunnam, Liv Tyler, Terrence Howard, and Patrick Wilson. It was shot in Louisiana in spring 2010 and was accepted into the main (U.S. Dramatic) competition at Sundance 2011. Bought by IFC, it had its theatrical release in the U.S. in early summer. The film deals with an intellectual, personal, and ultimately fatal feud between an atheist and an evangelical Christian. Chapman is currently working on several scripts, including one, "The American Guest" set in Brazil in the early part of the 20th Century and another on the early days of Paul Watson, alleged eco-terrorist, founder of the Sea Shepherd organization, and currently on the run. Chapman is also developing a musical set in 15th Century Italy.
Matthew Chapman's mother Clare was the daughter of the philosophy professor and author Francis Cornford and poet Frances Cornford (née Darwin), and through his maternal grandmother he is a great-great grandson of Charles Darwin. His father, Cecil Chapman, was the son of the noted physicist and astronomer, Sydney Chapman, responsible for early research on the nature of the ozone layer.
Chapman has written widely on the creation-evolution controversy in the US, particularly the case of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, in which 11 parents successfully sued the school district to prevent them from reading a required statement aloud in ninth-grade science classes whenever evolution was taught.
He has written and directed six films, written numerous screenplays, had articles published in Harper's magazine, and is the author of two books, "Trials of the Monkey – An Accidental Memoir" and "40 Days and 40 Nights – Darwin, Intelligent Design, God, OxyContin, and Other Oddities on Trial in Pennsylvania." He is married to documentary film producer Denise Dummont, a Brazilian Roman Catholic, with whom he has a daughter, Anna Bella Charles Darwin Teixeira Chapman, who has chosen atheism, and a stepson, Diogo Marzo.
Matthew Chapman founded Science Debate 2008 (now simply Science Debate). His co-founders were fellow screenwriter Shawn Lawrence Otto, CEO of the organization, science writer Chris Mooney, marine biologist and science blogger Sheril Kirshenbaum, noted physicist Lawrence Krauss, and philosopher Austin Dacey. The organization was formed to pressure the presidential candidates to hold a debate on science and technology issues. Almost 40,000 people signed onto the website ScienceDebate2008.com in support of the idea, including many Nobel laureates, hundreds of universities, university presidents, dozens of science publications, business leaders and innovators, and practically every major science organization in America. Although the candidates did not agree to the two televised debates proposed by Science Debate 2008, both Obama and McCain did participate in an online written version, providing detailed responses to the "14 Top Science Questions Facing America," a list suggested by the organization's members. Several of the supporters of Science Debate joined the Obama administration, including Presidential Science Advisor John Holdren. The organization continues to advocate for more discussion of science in public life. Matthew Chapman remains its President.
Matthew Chapman currently lives in New York.
- Trials of the Monkey: An Accidental Memoir (Picador, 5 July 2002) ISBN 0-312-30078-6
- 40 Days and 40 Nights: Darwin, Intelligent Design, God, OxyContin, and Other Oddities on Trial in Pennsylvania. (Harper Collins, 10 April 2007) ISBN 0-06-117945-0
- Hussy (1980) (screenplay, director)
- Strangers Kiss (1983) (screenplay, director)
- Slow Burn (1986) (screenplay, director)
- Heart of Midnight (1988) (screenplay, director)
- A Grande Arte (1991) (additional dialogue) (screenplay: English version)
- Consenting Adults (1992) (screenplay)
- Color of Night (1994) (screenplay)
- What's the Worst That Could Happen? (2001) (screenplay)
- Runaway Jury (2003) (screenplay)
- Black Water Transit (2009) (screenplay)
- The Ledge (2011) (screenplay, director)
- A Better Life: 100 Atheists Speak Out on Joy & Meaning in a World Without God, by Chris Johnson, published by Cosmic Teapot, Inc, 2014.
Articles by Matthew Chapman:
- "What I Think About Brownback" at The Huffington Post
- God or gorilla: A Darwin descendant at the Dover monkey trial at Harper's Magazine
- God or gorilla: A Darwin descendant at the Dover monkey trial at www.wesjones.com
Articles about Matthew Chapman:
- "Darwin Descendant Reflects on Attacks on Evolution" – from NPR
- "Darwin's kin hears end of intelligent-design testimony" – article on Chapman's appearance at the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District hearing at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette