|Born||5 June 1979|
West Sussex, England
|Occupation||Screenwriter, playwright, producer|
|Alma mater||University College London|
Matt Charman 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, where then director Nicholas Hytner described Charman as having "a priceless nose for a story." He recently wrote the pilot episode of Oasis, a sci-fi drama for Amazon Video adapting Michel Faber's The Book of Strange New Things, and is working on a second movie for Steven Spielberg's Amblin Partners, based on Walter Cronkite’s 1968 visit to Vietnam.
Charman's first play, A Night at the Dogs, won the 2004 Verity Bargate Award 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. 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. 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.
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. The show was ITV's biggest new drama of the year. Charman wrote the pilot episode of Oasis for Amazon, adapted from Michel Faber’s The Book of Strange New Things. 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. Charman is writing an adaptation of Henry Hemming's "M: Maxwell Knight", a non-fiction account of the former M15 chief. Mammoth Screen will produce.
Charman's 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 the captured pilot of a downed U-2 spy plane, Francis Gary Powers, and American student Frederic Pryor. The film was critically acclaimed, with the New York Times calling it “a consummate entertainment that sweeps you up with pure cinema.” and the New York Post calling it Spielberg's best film since Saving Private Ryan. 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 hit, grossing $165.5 million 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 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, and another upcoming film written by the pair, Liberty Road, an adaptation of George Koskimaki’s book "The Battered Bastards of Bastogne" for Fox 2000 about a key conflict during the Battle of the Bulge
Charman is also executive producing two upcoming movies by screenwriter Matthew Orton: Operation Finale, about the hunt for Adolf Eichmann, to be directed by Chris Weitz, and a film about the Battle of Britain, to be directed by Ridley Scott for 20th Century Fox.
Personal life and early career
Charman was born in West Sussex, England, where he attended Forest School, Horsham. He then went on to study 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.” In the mid-2000s, Charman did uncredited script work for Roland Emmerich’s 2012 and 10,000 BC.
- Our Zoo (2014) - writer
- Black Work (2015) - writer, executive producer
Awards and honours
- 2004 – Verity Bargate Award for his debut play A Night at the Dogs
- 2005 – Attachment at the Soho Theatre
- 2005 – Peggy Ramsay Award
- 2006 – Attachment to the Royal National Theatre Studio
- 2008 – Pearson Writer in Residence at the National Theatre
- 2009 – Catherine Johnson Award for The Observer
- 2016 – Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay
- "Balancing Acts, by Nicholas Hytner". amazon.co.uk. Retrieved June 2, 2017.
- "Steven Spielberg, Matt Charman and Marc Platt Reteam for Walter Cronkite Vietnam pic". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
- "Rising star". The Guardian. Retrieved July 22, 2007.
- "The Observer". The Guardian. Retrieved May 21, 2009.
- "British Playwright Matt Charman Makes New York Debut with 'Regrets'". BBC America. Retrieved June 28, 2016.
- "Gladiators Battling on the Chess Board". The New York Times. Retrieved August 29, 2013.
- "Black Work is ITV's best new drama of the year". mammothscreen.com. Retrieved June 2, 2017.
- "Amazon Orders 5 Pilots from Guillermo del Toro, Amy Sherman-Palladino & Others". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
- "Matt Charman To Pen 'M'; Mammoth Screen Project Based On Real MI5 Spymaster". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 2, 2017.
- "Review: In 'Bridge of Spies,' Spielberg Considers the Cold War". The New York Times. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
- "Spielberg's 'Bridge of Spies' is his best film since 'Saving Private Ryan'". nypost.com. Retrieved June 2, 2017.
- "Bridge of Spies (2015)". boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved June 28, 2016.
- "Matt Reeves to Direct Bank Heist Thriller at Fox". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
- "Paramount Lands 'Battle for Alcatraz' Thriller From 'Bridge of Spies' Writer". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 19, 2015.
- "Fox Developing World War II Movie 'Liberty Road' With Chernin Entertainment". Variety. Retrieved June 2, 2017.
- "Chris Weitz In Talks To Helm MGM Film On The Hunt For Nazi War Criminal Adolf Eichmann". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 24, 2016.
- "Ridley Scott To Direct Battle Of Britain Project For Fox; Matthew Orton Writing Script". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 2, 2017.
- "How I conquered Hollywood". The Sunday Times. Retrieved June 21, 2015.