Matt Charman

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Matt Charman
Born (1979-06-05) 5 June 1979 (age 37)
West Sussex, England
Occupation Screenwriter, playwright, producer
Alma mater University College London
Years active 2004–present

Matt Charman (born June 5, 1979) is a British screenwriter, playwright, and producer. He was nominated for an Academy Award for best original screenplay for his 2015 film Bridge of Spies, directed by Steven Spielberg and co-written with Joel and Ethan Coen. Charman started out writing for theatre, making his breakthrough as writer-in-residence at London’s National Theatre. He is currently working on Oasis a sci-fi drama for Amazon Video adapting Michel Faber's The Book of Strange New Things, and a second movie for Steven Spielberg's Amblin Partners, based on Walter Cronkite’s 1968 visit to Vietnam.[1]

Plays[edit]

Charman's first play, A Night at the Dogs, won the 2004 Verity Bargate Award[2] for emerging writers and appeared at Soho Theatre. He went on to write The Five Wives of Maurice Pinder (2007) and The Observer (2009), about a UN election observer’s intervention in West African nation’s political crisis.[3] Both were produced and staged at the National Theatre In 2012, Charman’s play Regrets, starring Ansel Elgort, opened at the Manhattan Theatre Club in New York. Set in McCarthy-era America, the play follows four men in a Nevada desert boarding house waiting out the six weeks required for a no-fault divorce.[4] The Machine, directed by Josie Rourke, opened at the Manchester International Festival in 2013 and transferred to the Park Avenue Armory in New York. The play told the story of Garry Kasparov’s defeat to IBM’s chess computer Deep Blue in 1997, the first time a computer beat a reigning chess world champion under tournament conditions.[5]

Future theatre projects for Charman include an adaptation of Good Night, and Good Luck for the stage, and a play for Nicholas Hytner’s new London Theatre Company.

Television[edit]

Charman’s television work includes Our Zoo (2014) for the BBC, which tells the story of the founding of Chester Zoo, famous for having no bars. In 2015, Charman’s police drama Black Work, starring Sheridan Smith, aired on ITV. Forthcoming work includes Oasis for Amazon, with a pilot adapted from Michel Faber’s The Book of Strange New Things, released in late 2016. Set in the near future, the show tells the story of a minister sent to a human colony on a newly discovered planet in our solar system.[6]

Films[edit]

Charman first feature was Suite Française (2014) co-written with director Saul Dibb, starring Michelle Williams, Kristin Scott Thomas and Margot Robbie. His 2015 feature, Bridge of Spies, was directed by Steven Spielberg, co-written by Charman and Joel and Ethan Coen and starred Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, and Amy Ryan. Set in Brooklyn and Berlin, the film tells the story of James B. Donovan, an American lawyer who in 1962 negotiated the exchange of Soviet spy Rudolf Abel for captured the pilot of the downed U-2 spy plane, Francis Gary Powers, and American student Frederic Pryor. The film received strong favorable reviews, the New York Times calling it “a consummate entertainment that sweeps you up with pure cinema.”[7] Charman’s script was nominated for Best Original Screenplay at both the 2016 Academy Awards and BAFTA Awards. He was also nominated for a WGA award and Critics' Choice award in the same category. Bridge of Spies was a box office success, grossing $161.5 million[8] worldwide and receiving six Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay, winning Best Supporting Actor for Mark Rylance's performance as Rudolf Abel. Charman's current film projects include an untitled bank heist drama to be directed by Matt Reeves[9] and a young adult drama for Hunger Games producer Nina Jacobson and Fox 2000.[10] Charman is also writing a script for Amblin based on Walter Cronkite’s 1968 trip to Vietnam.

Producing[edit]

Charman runs his own production company, Binocular, based in London. He is currently executive producer on Battle of Alcatraz, written by Neil Widener and Gavin James,[11] and a movie about the hunt for Adolf Eichmann, written by Matthew Orton and to be directed by Chris Weitz.[12]

Personal life and early career[edit]

Charman was born in West Sussex, England, and studied English literature at University College London. While a student, he frequently snuck into plays and musicals for free during intervals (a practice known as second-acting), and “tried to figure out what happened in the first act.”[13] In the mid-2000s, Charman did uncredited script work for Roland Emmerich’s 2012 and 10,000 BC.

Filmography[edit]

Film
Television
  • Our Zoo (2014) - writer
  • Black Work (2015) - writer, executive producer

Awards and honours[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]