John Collee

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John Collee
JC photo.jpg
John Gerald Collee

1955 (age 63–64)

John Gerald Collee (born 1955) is a Scottish screenwriter whose film scripts include Master and Commander (2003), Happy Feet (2006), Creation (2009), and Walking with Dinosaurs (2013). He is also a journalist and a novelist. Collee practised medicine and wrote several novels before he became a full-time screenwriter. He is married to Deborah Snow, with whom he has three children.


Collee was born in 1955 to Isobel and J. Gerald, the latter who was a professor of bacteriology at the University of Edinburgh.[1] Collee grew up in Edinburgh, Scotland and in India.[2] He studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh and began practising medicine in Cambridge, Bath, and Bristol.[3] In his third year of practice, he wrote the medical thriller Kingsley's Touch, which was published in 1984. Collee subsequently worked in emergency medicine and worked as a doctor in countries like Gabon, Madagascar, and Sri Lanka.[2] He then wrote a second novel titled A Paper Mask, which was published in 1987. Rights to the novel were acquired for a film adaptation, and Collee wrote the screenplay for director Christopher Morahan, who released the film Paper Mask in 1990. With income from screenwriting, Collee wrote his third novel The Rig, which was published in 1991. Around the same time The Rig was published, Collee became a weekly columnist for The Observer and wrote about travel, science and medicine. He kept the job for six years.[2]

Collee met his wife Deborah Snow on the way to Azerbaijan; he was escorting a shipment of medical aid when he met Snow, who was a TV correspondent in Moscow, Russia for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. When he began writing a book about Soviet medicine called The Kingdom of the Blind, he visited Moscow and Snow. The book was unpublished, but when Collee went to the Solomon Islands for a year to work as a doctor, Snow went with him, and they had their first child, Lauren, on the islands.[2] He worked in London for a short time before moving to Sydney, Australia in 1996 to meet Australian directors like Peter Weir and George Miller. For Weir, Collee wrote the screenplay for Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, and for Miller, he wrote Happy Feet.[3]

John Collee is one of four co-founders of the Australian production company Hopscotch Features.[4] He is also a board member of the Australian branch of climate activist group[5]



Executive producer

See also[edit]


  • Collee, John (1984). Kingsley's Touch. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-45617-7.
  • Collee, John (1987). A Paper Mask. Arbor House/William Morrow. ISBN 978-1-55710-026-9.
  • Collee, John (1991). The Rig. Morrow. ISBN 978-0-688-11482-4.


  1. ^ Cornwell, Tim (6 December 2003). "Interviews – John Collee: Master of the High Seas". The Scotsman.
  2. ^ a b c d McMullen, Myles (Spring–Summer 2005). "Screenwriting 101 – Get a Life! John Collee thinks writers should get out more". Metro Magazine. Australian Teachers of Media (ATOM) (146/147): 122–126.
  3. ^ a b Sragow, Michael (23 November 2003). "Man of the world wielded a pen for 'Master': Co-writer Collee can draw on his travels, medical-aid experiences". Baltimore Sun.
  4. ^ George, Sandy (24 May 2012). "Hopscotch Features: John Collee, Frank Cox, Troy Lum and Andrew Mason". Screen Daily. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  5. ^ Collee, John (24 August 2015). "Betting against climate change not a smart punt". The Age. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  6. ^ Goodfellow, Melanie (2 November 2015). "Wild Bunch finds 'Faith' in Cuba with Banderas". Screen Daily. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
  7. ^ Pitt, Victoria Midwinter. Surviving Mumbai (DVD). OCLC 529344532.

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