Sir Colin Callender
|Born||May 1952 (age 68)|
|Alma mater||University of East Anglia|
|Occupation||Film executive and executive producer|
Sir Colin Nigel Callender Playground Entertainment, a production company with offices in New York and London.(born May 1952) is an English television, film and theater producer. He is the CEO at
Early life and education
Callender was born to an Orthodox Jewish family in London, the son of Lydia and Martin Callender. He has a brother, Neeman, and a sister, Claire. Callender holds a BA with Honors in Philosophy and Politics from the University of East Anglia.
Callender started in the entertainment industry as a member of Britain's National Youth Theatre and began his production career in 1974 at the Royal Court Theatre in London as stage manager working with directors such as Mike Leigh, David Hare and Sam Shepard. Later he joined Granada Television as a graduate trainee where he worked on Cat on a Hot Tin Roof the Granada co-production with NBC starring Natalie Wood, Robert Wagner and Laurence Olivier.
In 1978 Callender founded Primetime Television where he quickly established himself as one of the UK's leading television and film producers. At Primetime he pioneered the pre-selling and co-producing of UK drama with foreign broadcasters. When the UK's fourth network Channel Four was created, Primetime was the first independent production company to be commissioned by the new channel with the television adaptation of the RSC's groundbreaking nine-hour stage play The Life And Adventures Of Nicholas Nickleby. It was Callender's first credit as a producer and he went on to win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Miniseries in a category that included other nominees The Winds Of War and The Thorn Birds.
Other Primetime productions included D.H.Lawrence's The Captain’s Doll starring Jeremy Irons for the BBC and ARD Germany, Separate Tables starring Alan Bates and Julie Christie directed by John Schlesinger.
The Callender Company
He later created The Callender Company and during this time, with productions like Peter Greenway's The Belly Of An Architect which was the official British entry to the 1986 Cannes Film Festival, John Schlesinger's Madame Sousatzka starring Shirley MacLaine; The Bretts a 13-hour mini-series for Masterpiece Theatre, Prisoner Of Honour starring Richard Dreyfuss and Mr. Halpern And Mr. Johnson starring Laurence Olivier and Jackie Gleeson, Callender was in the forefront of bringing together talent from the UK and the U.S., which has gone on to become one of the hallmarks of his career.
During this time Callender also created and produced the British cult hit The Last Resort which changed the face of late night television in the UK and launched the career of British TV personality Jonathan Ross.
In 1987, Callender moved to the U.S. to become executive producer of HBO's newly formed East Coast production unit. HBO Showcase produced 27 films receiving widespread critical acclaim and earning HBO its first Emmy Award for drama. In 1996 Callender and HBO CEO Jeffrey Bewkes created the film division HBO NYC. Shortly thereafter he was appointed president of HBO Films, based in LA, which rapidly developed a reputation for consistently producing an award-winning slate of sophisticated and provocative television and feature films.
During his tenure Callender oversaw the production of over 115 award-winning movies and mini-series, among them:
- John Adams – the Tom Hanks produced, and Tom Hooper directed mini-series based on David McCullough’s best-selling historical biography starring Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney, which won 13 Emmy awards and 4 Golden Globes, and still holds the record for the most wins for a programme in the history of the Emmy awards;
- Empire Falls – Fred Schepisi’s star studded adaptation of Richard Russo’s Pulitzer prize-winning novel starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in their final roles together, along with Ed Harris, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Robin Wright Penn.
- Recount – Jay Roach’s Emmy and Golden Globe winning recreation of the controversial events surrounding the Florida recount that decided the outcome of the 2000 election written by Danny Strong;
- Angels in America – Mike Nichol’s acclaimed adaptation of Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize winning play, starring Al Pacino, Meryl Streep and Emma Thompson, which received 11 Emmy and 5 Golden Globe awards and which IndieWire recently anointed the best mini-series of the last century.
Callender was also responsible for HBO's theatrical films such as the breakout indie hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Gus Van Sant’s provocative movie Elephant about a Columbine like high-school shooting which won him the Best Director Award as well as the coveted Palm d’Or at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival.
Under Callender's stewardship, HBO Films received:
- 132 Emmy Awards (449 Nominations);
- The Emmy for Outstanding Movie or Mini-series 11 out of 14 years;
- 39 Golden Globe Awards (116 Nominations);
- The Golden Globe for Best Movie or Mini-Series for 8 years in a row;
- 11 Peabody Awards;
- 13 Humanitas Awards;
- 5 Academy Awards;
- Top prizes at the Sundance Film Festival 4 years in a row;
- The Palm D’Or at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival.
Callender was also the driving force behind HBO's joint venture with New Line Cinema – the distribution company Picturehouse whose slate included Robert Altman’s highly acclaimed Prairie Home Companion, Kit Kittredge: An American Girl, Run Fatboy Run, Rocket Science, Last Days, Mary Harron’s The Notorious Bettie Page, JA Bayona’s The Orphanage, Olivier Dahan’s La Vie en Rose for which Marion Cotillard won the Academy Award for Best Actress, and Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth that won three Oscars at the 2006 Academy Awards.
In 2009, Callender left HBO Films and moved to New York to produce theatre. He founded Playground in 2012.
Playground's first stage production was Lucky Guy starring Tom Hanks by the late Nora Ephron, which tells the story of tabloid reporter Mike McAlary, winner of a 1998 Pulitzer Prize. It won two Tony Awards and had six nominations. In 2014, Callender produced Harvey Fierstein’s Casa Valentina, which was nominated for four Tony Awards including Best Play, and Hedwig and the Angry Inch starring Neil Patrick Harris, which won four Tony Awards including Best Revival of a Musical. Callender also produced the production of Kenneth Branagh’s New York stage debut in Macbeth at the Park Avenue Armory, and was a co-producer of Jez Butterworth's The River starring Hugh Jackman.
Recent Broadway productions include Dear Evan Hansen, which won six Tony Awards including Best Musical, and Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan’s 1984, based on the novel by George Orwell. Recent West End productions include Dreamgirls and The Glass Menagerie, both produced alongside Sonia Friedman Productions.
Alongside Sonia Friedman Productions and Harry Potter Theatrical Productions, Callender is one of the producers of the two-part stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, an expansion of the Harry Potter franchise, which opened on July 30, 2016 in London's Palace Theatre. In 2017, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child won nine Olivier Awards, the biggest single win ever for one production in the history of the awards. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child opened on Broadway on April 22, 2018 in the newly renovated Lyric Theatre and was nominated for ten Tony Awards and went on to win six, including Best Play. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child opened in Melbourne's Princess Theatre in early 2019, in San Francisco's Curran Theatre in the Fall of 2019, and in Hamburg's Mehr! Theatre in 2020.
Playground company has produced over 90 hours of television since inception. Series include the Golden Globe and Emmy nominated miniseries Dancing On The Edge for BBC and Starz, the Golden Globe and Emmy nominated miniseries The White Queen for BBC and Starz and its sequel The White Princess for Starz, the Golden Globe nominated anthology series The Missing for BBC and Starz, Dracula for NBC, Wolf Hall, a Golden Globe and BAFTA-winning six-part miniseries starring Mark Rylance, Damian Lewis and Claire Foy for BBC and Masterpiece, which was an adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Booker prize winning novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, and The Dresser, a television adaptation of Ronald Harwood’s classic play starring Ian McKellen and Anthony Hopkins for BBC and Starz.
In 2017, Callender produced Academy Award winner Kenneth Lonergan’s adaptation of Howards End for the BBC and Starz, Heidi Thomas’s adaptation of Little Women for the BBC and Masterpiece, and Richard Eyre’s adaptation of King Lear starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson for the BBC and Amazon Prime Video.
- Swallows and Amazons (1984)
- Separate Tables (1983)
- Mr. Halpern and Mr. Johnson (1983)
- The Captain’s Doll (1983)
- The Deadly Game (1982)
- The Life and Adventure of Nicholas Nickleby (1982)
- Brendon Chase (1980–1981)
The Callender Company
- Temple Grandin (2010)
- Into the Storm (2009)
- Grey Gardens (2009)
- Taking Chance (2009)
- My Zinc Bed (2008)
- Recount (2008)
- A Number (2008)
- Life Support (2007)
- Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2007)
- Walkout (2006)
- Longford (2006)
- Starter for Ten (2006)
- As You Like It (2006)
- Pinochet’s Last Stand (2006)
- Pu-239 (2006)
- Bernard and Doris (2006)
- Lackawanna Blues (2005)
- Sometimes in April (2005)
- Warm Springs (2005)
- The Girl in the Café (2005)
- Mrs. Harris (2005)
- Angel Rodriguez (2005)
- Iron Jawed Angels (2004)
- Everyday People (2004)
- Strip Search (2004)
- Something the Lord Made (2004)
- The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004)
- Dirty War (2004)
- Yesterday (2004)
- The Fever (2004)
- Normal (2003)
- My House in Umbria (2003)
- Undefeated (2003)
- And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself (2003)
- The Laramie Project (2002)
- The Gathering Storm (2002)
- Path to War (2002)
- Point of Origin (2002)
- Hysterical Blindness (2002)
- Live from Baghdad (2002)
- Boycott (2001)
- Wit (2001)
- 61* (2001)
- Conspiracy (2001)
- Dinner with Friends (2001)
- Shot in the Heart (2001)
- If These Walls Could Talk 2 (2000)
- The Last of the Blonde Bombshells (2000)
- Cheaters (2000)
- For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story (2000)
- Disappearing Acts (2000)
- Dancing in September (2000)
- Middle Passage (2000)
- Lumumba (2000)
- A Lesson Before Dying (1999)
- RKO 281 (1999)
- Witness Protection (1999)
- The Pentagon Wars (1998)
- Always Outnumbered (1998)
- When Trumpets Fade (1998)
- Miss Evers’ Boys (1997)
- In the Gloaming (1997)
- Path to Paradise (1997)
- Hostile Waters (1997)
- Subway Stories: Tales from the Underground (1997)
- First Time Felon (1997)
- Deadly Voyage (1996)
- If These Walls Could Talk (1996)
- Mistrial (1996)
- The Infiltrator (1995)
- State of Emergency (1994)
- Doomsday Gun (1994)
- Daybreak (1993)
- Strapped (1993)
- Mi Vida Loca (1993)
- A Private Matter (1992)
- Hostages (1992)
- Prison Stories: Women on the Inside (1991)
- One Man’s War (1991)
- Women and Men 2 (1991)
- Prisoner of Honour (1991)
- Dead Ahead (1991)
- Fellow Traveller (1990)
- Women and Men: Stories of Seduction (1990)
- Criminal Justice (1990)
- The Tragedy of Flight 103 (1990)
- Dead Man Out (1989)
- Time Flies When You’re Alive (1989)
- Tailspin (1989)
- Age-Old Friends (1989)
- Lip Service (1988)
- Tidy Endings (1988)
- The Christmas Wife (1988)
- Kit Kittredge: An American Girl (2008)
- La Vie En Rose (2007)
- Rocket Science (2007)
- Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
- A Prairie Home Companion (2006)
- The Notorious Betty Page (2005)
- Last Days (2005)
- Maria Full of Grace (2004)
- Elephant (2003)
- American Splendor (2003)
- Real Women Have Curves (2002)
- My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)
- Dangerous Liaisons (TBD)
- All Creatures Great and Small (2020)
- Chimerica (2019)
- The Spanish Princess (2019)
- King Lear (2018)
- Little Women (2017)
- Howards End (2017)
- The White Princess (2017)
- The Missing 2 (2016)
- The Dresser (2015)
- Wolf Hall (2015)
- The Missing (2014)
- Dracula (2013)
- The White Queen (2013)
- Dancing on the Edge (2013)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (2020), in Hamburg
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (2019), in San Francisco
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (2019), in Melbourne
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (2018–present), on Broadway
- 1984 (2017), on Broadway
- The Glass Menagerie (2017), in the West End
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (2016–present), in the West End
- Dreamgirls (2016–present), in the West End
- Dear Evan Hansen (2016–present), on Broadway
- The River (2014), on Broadway
- Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2014–2015), on Broadway
- Macbeth (2014), at the Park Avenue Armory in New York
- Casa Valentina (2014), on Broadway
- Lucky Guy (2013), on Broadway
Awards and nominations
|1983||Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Limited Series||The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby||Won|
|2002||Writers Guild of America Awards||Evelyn F. Burkey Award||Colin Callender||Won|
|2003||Anti-Defamation League||Humanitarian Award||Colin Callender||Won|
|2003||Creative Coalition||Visionary Award||Colin Callender||Won|
|2006||Geffen Playhouse||Distinction in Theater Award||Colin Callender||Won|
|2006||Jacob Burns Film Center||Vision Award||Colin Callender||Won|
|2006||Humanitas Prize||Kiezer Award||Colin Callender||Won|
|2013||Tony Award||Best Play||Lucky Guy||Nominated|
|2013||Satellite Award||Best Miniseries or Television Film||The White Queen||Nominated|
|2013||Satellite Award||Best Miniseries or Television Film||Dancing on the Edge||Won|
|2013||Golden Globe Award||Best Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television||Dancing on the Edge||Nominated|
|2013||Golden Globe Award||Best Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television||The White Queen||Nominated|
|2014||Golden Globe Award||Best Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television||The Missing||Nominated|
|2014||Drama League Award||Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Play||Lucky Guy||Nominated|
|2014||Drama League Award||Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Play||Casa Valentina||Nominated|
|2014||Drama League Award||Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical||Hedwig and the Angry Inch||Won|
|2014||Outer Critics Circle Award||Outstanding New Broadway Play||Lucky Guy||Nominated|
|2014||Outer Critics Circle Award||Outstanding New Broadway Play||Casa Valentina||Nominated|
|2014||Outer Critics Circle Award||Outstanding Revival of a Musical||Hedwig and the Angry Inch||Won|
|2014||Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Revival of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical||Hedwig and the Angry Inch||Won|
|2014||Tony Award||Best Play||Casa Valentina||Nominated|
|2014||Tony Award||Best Revival of a Musical||Hedwig and the Angry Inch||Won|
|2014||Critic's Choice Television Award||Best Miniseries||Dancing on the Edge||Nominated|
|2014||People's Choice Award||Favorite TV Movie / Miniseries||The White Queen||Nominated|
|2014||Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Limited Series||The White Queen||Nominated|
|2015||BAFTA Television Award||Best Drama Series||The Missing||Nominated|
|2015||BAFTA Television Award||Audience Award||The Missing||Nominated|
|2015||Golden Nymph Award||Best Long Form Fiction Series||The Missing||Nominated|
|2015||Golden Globe Award||Best Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television||Wolf Hall||Won|
|2015||Peabody Award||Entertainment Programming||Wolf Hall||Won|
|2015||Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Limited Series||Wolf Hall||Nominated|
|2015||Critic's Choice Television Award||Best Miniseries||Wolf Hall||Nominated|
|2015||Satellite Award||Best Miniseries or Television Film||Wolf Hall||Nominated|
|2016||BAFTA Television Award||Best Drama Series||Wolf Hall||Won|
|2016||Broadcasting Press Guild Award||Best Drama Series||Wolf Hall||Won|
|2016||Royal Television Society Award||Best Drama Serial||Wolf Hall||Nominated|
|2016||Golden Nymph Award||Best Long Form Fiction Series||Wolf Hall||Nominated|
|2016||Television Critics Association Award||Outstanding Achievement in Movie or Miniseries||Wolf Hall||Nominated|
|2016||Golden Globe Award||Best Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television||The Dresser||Nominated|
|2016||Satellite Award||Best Miniseries or Television Film||The Dresser||Nominated|
|2016||Evening Standard Theatre Award||Best Play||Harry Potter and the Cursed Child||Won|
|2016||Outer Critics Circle Award||Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical||Dear Evan Hansen||Won|
|2016||Drama League Award||Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical||Dear Evan Hansen||Nominated|
|2017||Drama League Award||Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical||Dear Evan Hansen||Won|
|2017||Lucille Lortel Award||Outstanding Musical||Dear Evan Hansen||Nominated|
|2017||Tony Award||Best Musical||Dear Evan Hansen||Won|
|2017||WhatsOnStage Award||Best New Musical||Dreamgirls||Nominated|
|2017||WhatsOnStage Award||Best New Play||Harry Potter and the Cursed Child||Won|
|2017||South Bank Sky Arts Award||Theatre Award||Harry Potter and the Cursed Child||Won|
|2017||Laurence Olivier Award||Best New Play||Harry Potter and the Cursed Child||Won|
|2017||Laurence Olivier Award||Best New Musical||Dreamgirls||Nominated|
|2017||Laurence Olivier Award||Best Revival||The Glass Menagerie||Nominated|
|2018||Drama League Award||Best Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Play||Harry Potter and the Cursed Child||Won|
|2018||Outer Critics Circle Award||Outstanding New Broadway Play||Harry Potter and the Cursed Child||Won|
|2018||Tony Award||Best Play||Harry Potter and the Cursed Child||Won|
|2018||WhatsOnStage Award||Best West End Show||Harry Potter and the Cursed Child||Won|
|2018||South Bank Sky Arts Award||Television Award||Howards End||Won|
|2018||BAFTA Television Award||Best Miniseries||Howards End||Nominated|
|2018||Golden Nymph Award||Best Long Form Fiction Series||Howards End||Nominated|
|2018||Television Critics Association Award||Outstanding Achievement in Movie or Miniseries||Howards End||Nominated|
|2019||Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Television Movie||King Lear||Nominated|
He is married to attorney Elizabeth Gaine with whom he has two daughters, Caroline and Charlotte. He also has a son Ian from a previous marriage.
Callender was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2003 Birthday Honours for services to the UK film and television industries in the USA and was knighted in the 2016 New Year Honours for services to the British creative industries.
Callender is a trustee and supporter of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts, the New York Public Theater and The Creative Coalition. In the past, he has also been a trustee of the New York branch of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.
- Jackman, Josh (25 January 2016). "Golden Globe winner compares outside status of growing Jewish in Britain to Harry Potter". The Jewish Chronicle.
And he said his childhood, as an Orthodox Jew in post-war London, shared many of the themes in Harry Potter
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