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John Logan (writer)

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John Logan
Logan in 2009
John David Logan

(1961-09-24) September 24, 1961 (age 62)
EducationNorthwestern University
  • Playwright
  • screenwriter
  • producer
  • director
Years active1985–present

John David Logan (born September 24, 1961) is an American playwright and filmmaker. He is known for his work as a screenwriter for such films as Ridley Scott's Gladiator (2000), Martin Scorsese's The Aviator (2004) and Hugo (2011), Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) and Sam Mendes' James Bond films Skyfall (2012), and Spectre (2015). He has been nominated three times for Academy Awards, and has won a Tony Award and a Golden Globe Award.

Early life and education[edit]

Logan's parents immigrated to the United States from Northern Ireland via Canada.[citation needed] The youngest of three children, he has an older brother and sister. Logan grew up in California and Millburn, New Jersey, where he graduated from Millburn High School in 1979.[1]

He moved to Chicago to attend Northwestern University, where he graduated in 1983.[2]



Logan was a successful playwright in Chicago for many years before turning to screenwriting. His first play, Never the Sinner, tells the story of the infamous Leopold and Loeb case. Subsequent plays include Hauptmann, about the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, and Riverview, a musical melodrama set at Chicago's famed amusement park.[citation needed]

His play Red, about artist Mark Rothko, was produced by the Donmar Warehouse, London, in December 2009,[3] and on Broadway in 2010, where it received six Tony Awards, the most of any play, including best play, best direction of a play for Michael Grandage and best featured actor in a play for Eddie Redmayne. Redmayne and Alfred Molina had originated their roles in London and also performed on Broadway, for a limited run ending in late June.[4]

Two plays by Logan premiered in 2013; Peter and Alice, directed by Michael Grandage and starring Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw opened in London at the Noël Coward Theatre on March 25, 2013 and I'll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers, directed by Joe Mantello and starring Bette Midler, opened on Broadway at the Booth Theatre on April 24, 2013.[5]

A re-written version of Never the Sinner had its world premiere in 2004 at the Space Theatre in Adelaide, Australia, by Independent Theatre.[6] The company had previously staged the play twice, in 1992 and 1994,[7] and has also staged several of his other plays.[8]

Superhero, a new musical by Logan and Tom Kitt, had its world premiere production Off-Broadway at Second Stage Theater, with an official opening night on February 28, 2019.[9]

Logan's play Double Feature, about filmmaking and the relationship between director and star, opens at the Hampstead Theatre, London, on 8 February 2024.[10]

Film and TV[edit]

Logan wrote the 1999 Oliver Stone sports drama Any Given Sunday, which "changed his life".[6] He then wrote the television film RKO 281, a historical drama released in the same year.[citation needed]

Logan's feature films include Rango (2011), an animated feature starring Johnny Depp and directed by Gore Verbinski; the film adaptation of Shakespeare's Coriolanus, directed by and starring Ralph Fiennes; Hugo, an adaptation of the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret, directed by Martin Scorsese; and the James Bond film Skyfall, along with Neal Purvis and Robert Wade. He wrote the Bond film, Spectre (2015).[citation needed]

He also created the 2014 television series Penny Dreadful starring Josh Hartnett, Eva Green and Timothy Dalton, for which he served as sole writer until it concluded with its third season.[citation needed]

In November 2015, Logan was reported to have rewritten the script for Alien: Covenant.[11][12] During the audio commentary of Alien: Covenant, Scott mentions that Logan has already started writing Alien: Covenant 2.[13] In November 2018, it was announced that Showtime would produce a follow-up to the 2014 television series Penny Dreadful entitled Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, which takes place in Los Angeles in 1938. Logan was the creator, executive producer, and sole writer for the show, which premiered in 2020.

In November 2019, it was reported that Bohemian Rhapsody producer Graham King was planning to produce a Michael Jackson biopic, with the screenplay written by Logan.[14]

Other notable films written by Logan include Star Trek: Nemesis, The Time Machine, and The Last Samurai.[citation needed]

Logan made his feature directorial debut in 2022 with They/Them, a slasher film released via the streaming service Peacock.[15]


Personal life and other activities[edit]

Logan is openly gay.[16]

As of January 2022 he is a major benefactor of a small independent theatre company in Adelaide, South Australia, run by Rob Croser, called Independent Theatre.[6] Several of his plays have been produced there, including Never the Sinner (1992, 1994, 2004); Hauptmann (1993); The View from Golgotha (1996); Red (2011; about artist Mark Rothko); Peter and Alice (2014),[8] and he has travelled to Adelaide several times to see his plays as well as work on other productions.[6]

Selected plays[edit]

Logan's plays include:[17]



Year Title Writer Producer Director
1999 Bats Yes Executive Louis Morneau
Any Given Sunday Yes No Oliver Stone
2000 Gladiator Yes No Ridley Scott
2002 The Time Machine Yes Co-producer Simon Wells
Star Trek: Nemesis Yes No Stuart Baird
2003 Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas Yes No Tim Johnson
Patrick Gilmore
The Last Samurai Yes No Edward Zwick
2004 The Aviator Yes No Martin Scorsese
2007 Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Yes Yes Tim Burton
2011 Rango Yes No Gore Verbinski
Coriolanus Yes Yes Ralph Fiennes
Hugo Yes No Martin Scorsese
2012 Skyfall Yes No Sam Mendes
2014 Jamie Marks Is Dead No Executive Carter Smith
2015 Spectre Yes No Sam Mendes
2016 Genius Yes Yes Michael Grandage
2017 Alien: Covenant Yes No Ridley Scott
2022 They/Them Yes No Himself
2025 Michael Yes No Antoine Fuqua


Year Title Writer Executive
Creator Notes
1996 Tornado! Yes No No TV movie
1999 RKO 281 Yes No No
2014–2016 Penny Dreadful Yes Yes Yes Executive producer (27 episodes); writer (24 episodes)
2020 Penny Dreadful: City of Angels Yes Yes Yes Executive producer (10 episodes); writer (6 episodes)


  1. ^ "Millburn High Students Hear from Tony and Oscar Award-Winning Writer" Archived July 3, 2019, at the Wayback Machine, TAP into Millburn, November 16, 2010. Accessed July 3, 2019. "On November 11, some Millburn High School drama and film students learned firsthand about playwriting and screenwriting from the 2010 Tony Award winner, John Logan. Logan, a 1979 graduate of Millburn High School, was invited back to his alma mater by student Ben Lippman, whose mother Janice was a college classmate of Logan’s at Northwestern University."
  2. ^ Stockwell, Anne (March 1, 2005). "Logan's run: one of Hollywood's hottest screenwriters, The Aviator's John Logan proves that you don't have to be straight to write the blockbusters". The Advocate.
  3. ^ "Red". Donmar Warehouse. February 6, 2010. Archived from the original on March 11, 2010. Retrieved March 16, 2010.
  4. ^ "Time Is Short to See Tony Winners" Archived June 25, 2017, at the Wayback Machine by Patrick Healy, The New York Times, June 14, 2010 (p. C1 2010-06-15 New York ed.). Retrieved 2010-06-14.
  5. ^ Gans, Andrew. Bette Midler Is Showbiz Agent Sue Mengers in I'll Eat You Last, Opening on Broadway April 24" Archived April 29, 2013, at the Wayback Machine Playbill, April 24, 2013
  6. ^ a b c d "About". Independent Theatre. Archived from the original on January 8, 2023. Retrieved January 8, 2023.
  7. ^ "History". Independent Theatre. Archived from the original on January 9, 2023. Retrieved January 8, 2023.
  8. ^ a b Harris, Samela (March 2019). "Story: 35 Years Young and Independent". The Barefoot Review. Archived from the original on January 9, 2023. Retrieved January 9, 2023.
  9. ^ Clement, Olivia (October 23, 2018). "Thom Sesma and More Will Join Kate Baldwin and Bryce Pinkham in Superhero Musical". Playbill. Archived from the original on January 10, 2019. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  10. ^ "DOUBLE FEATURE". Hampstead Theatre. Retrieved January 20, 2024.
  11. ^ Schaefer, Sandy (November 11, 2015). "Alien Paradise Lost Script To Be Rewritten By John Logan". ScreenRant. Archived from the original on December 1, 2017. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
  12. ^ Lodge, Guy (November 5, 2015). "Watch Ridley Scott Receive His Star On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame". Variety. Archived from the original on December 1, 2017. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
  13. ^ Chitwood, Adam (September 1, 2017). "38 Thing We Learned From Ridley Scott's Alien Covenant Audio Commentary". Collider. Archived from the original on December 31, 2017. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
  14. ^ "Michael Jackson Biopic In the Works from 'Bohemian Rhapsody' Producer". Billboard. November 22, 2019.
  15. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (April 9, 2021). "John Logan To Make Feature Directorial Debut With Blumhouse Horror Movie Whistler Camp". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on April 9, 2021. Retrieved September 27, 2021.
  16. ^ Thomas, June (May 9, 2014). "On the Monstrousness of Being Gay". Slate. Archived from the original on August 6, 2022. Retrieved August 6, 2022.
  17. ^ "John Logan". doollee.com. September 11, 2001. Archived from the original on January 10, 2023. Retrieved January 10, 2023.

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