Peter Morgan

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Peter Morgan

Morgan at a Hereafter press conference, 2010
Morgan at a Hereafter press conference, 2010
Born (1963-04-10) 10 April 1963 (age 57)
Wimbledon, London, England
OccupationScreenwriter, playwright
NationalityBritish
Alma materUniversity of Leeds
Period1988–present
GenreComedy, drama, historical fiction
Notable worksThe Queen
Frost/Nixon
Rush
The Crown
Spouse
Anna Carolina Schwarzenberg
(m. 1997; sep. 2014)
PartnerGillian Anderson (2016–present)
Children5

Peter Julian Robin Morgan, CBE (born 10 April 1963) is a British screenwriter and playwright. Morgan is best known for his work on stage and film and television. He's known as the playwright behind The Audience and Frost/Nixon and the screenwriter of The Queen (2006), Frost/Nixon (2008), The Damned United (2009), and Rush (2013). He is also known for writing the television films The Deal (2003), Longford (2006), and The Special Relationship (2009). He currently serves as the creator and showrunner of the Netflix series The Crown (2016–present).

In 2008, Morgan was ranked number 28 in The Telegraph's list of "The 100 most powerful people in British culture".[1] In February 2017, he was awarded a British Film Institute Fellowship (BFI).[2]

Early life[edit]

Morgan was born in Wimbledon, London. His mother, Inga (née Bojcek), was a Catholic Pole who fled the Soviets, and his father, Arthur Morgenthau, was a German Jew who fled the Nazis, arriving in London in 1933.[3][4] His father died when Morgan was nine years old.[5] Morgan attended St Paul's School in London[6] and boarding school at Downside School, Somerset, and gained a degree in Fine Art from the University of Leeds.

Career[edit]

1990s[edit]

Morgan wrote television scripts during the 1990s, including an episode of Rik Mayall Presents... and the Comedy Premiere The Chest. He wrote the screenplay to the romantic comedy Martha, Meet Frank, Daniel and Laurence (1998).

2000s[edit]

In 2002, Morgan had some success with the TV series The Jury (2002). In 2003, Morgan broke through with The Deal, a television drama about the power-sharing deal between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown that was struck in the Granita restaurant in London in 1994. Blair was portrayed by Michael Sheen, Sheen would return to playing Blair in The Queen and The Special Relationship.

In 2006, The Queen was released which showed how the death of Princess Diana impacted Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Royal Family. The film debuted at the Venice Film Festival where it received critical acclaim. The film received 6 Academy Award nominations including Best Picture. Morgan also received a nomination for Best Screenplay. Morgan received the Golden Globe Award for his screenplay from the Hollywood Foreign Press, and Helen Mirren won numerous awards for playing the title role including the Academy Award and the Golden Globe Award. 2006 also saw the release of The Last King of Scotland, the screenplay of which Morgan adapted with Jeremy Brock. In 2007 they jointly won a BAFTA Film Award for their work on the film. In May 2007, the 50th San Francisco International Film Festival honoured Morgan with the year's Kanbar Award for Excellence in Screenwriting.

Also in 2006, Morgan's first play, Frost/Nixon, was staged at the Donmar Warehouse theatre in London. Starring Michael Sheen as David Frost and Frank Langella as Richard Nixon, the play concerns the series of televised interviews that the disgraced former president granted Frost in 1977. These ended with his tacit admission of guilt regarding his role in the Watergate scandal. The play was directed by Michael Grandage and opened to enthusiastic reviews. The film transferred to Broadway in 2007 at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre where it ran from April 21st to August 19th. The play received 3 Tony Awards including one for Morgan for the Best Play. Langella won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play.

In 2008 the film adaptation of Frost/Nixon directed by Ron Howard was released, with Sheen and Langella playing the parts they had on stage. The film also starred Kevin Bacon, Rebecca Hall, Mathew Macfadyen, Toby Jones, Oliver Platt, and Sam Rockwell. The film debuted at the London Film Festival to critical acclaim. Roger Ebert gave the film 4 stars writing praising the writing and the performances of the leads saying, "Frank Langella and Michael Sheen do not attempt to mimic their characters, but to embody them".[7] Despite praise from critics the film was a box office failure. The film received 5 Academy Award nominations including Best Adapted Screenplay for Morgan.

In July 2009, filming began on The Special Relationship, the third film of Morgan's "Blair trilogy". The film focuses on Blair's (again played by Michael Sheen) relationship with US president Bill Clinton, played by Dennis Quaid, between 1997 and 2000. Morgan was originally scheduled to direct the film (making his directorial debut) but pulled out a month before filming began. He was replaced by Richard Loncraine.[8] The film debuted on HBO on May 29, 2010. The film received positive reviews with it receiving an 83% on Rotten Tomatoes with the consensus reading, "Well-cast and compellingly directed, The Special Relationship offers an intelligent look into the complex dynamic between two world leaders."[9] The film received 5 Primetime Emmy Award nominations including, one for Morgan for Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series or Television Movie.

In 2008 Morgan was initially set to adapt the John le Carré's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy into a screenplay for Working Title Films but dropped out and served as the film's executive producer.[10] In June 2009, it was announced that he would be the co-writer of Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond film.[11] The Daily Telegraph's Mandrake diary reported in April 2010 that Morgan had quit the production after Sam Mendes was hired to direct, and that Patrick Marber would replace him. MGM dismissed the Telegraph's claims as speculation.[12] In the end Morgan did not receive credit but rather it was Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and John Logan who were credited as the film's screenwriters. He has since finished the script for Hereafter, a supernatural thriller "in the vein of The Sixth Sense". DreamWorks bought the screenplay on spec in March 2008.[13] The development was later transferred to Warner Bros. and filming began in October 2009 under the direction of Clint Eastwood.

2010s[edit]

In 2013, the film Rush was released. The film is a biographical sports film centred on the Hunt–Lauda rivalry between two Formula One drivers, the British James Hunt and the Austrian Niki Laudaduring the 1976 Formula 1 motor-racing season.[14] The film was directed by Ron Howard and written by Morgan and starred Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Brühl, and Olivia Wilde. The film was a financial and critical success. The film received four British Academy Film Award nominations including Outstanding British Film.

In 2013, Morgan's play The Audience debuted. The play revolves around the weekly meetings, called audiences, between Queen Elizabeth II and her prime ministers over the time period of her reign. Dame Helen Mirren reprised her role as the Queen. The play premiered in the West End at the Gielgud Theatre where she eventually won the Olivier Award for Best Actress. A Broadway production opened in 2015 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre which ran from March 8 to June 15. Mirren also received the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play.

Morgan's next feature film would be Bohemian Rhapsody (2018), a biopic about rock musician Freddie Mercury (portrayed by Rami Malek), the lead vocalist of the rock band Queen was released.[15] Morgan has started writing the screenplay in 2010. The film was a massive box office success earning $903.7 million. The film however received a mixed critical response with critics praising Malek's central performances but criticizing it's editing, directing and pacing. Time Magazine film critic Stephanie Zacharek wrote, "In strict filmmaking terms, Bohemian Rhapsody is a bit of a mess. Some of its scenes connect awkwardly, and it hits every beat of disaster and triumphs squarely, like a gong."[16] Despite its criticism, the film received various awards including four Academy Awards for Best Actor, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Film Editing.

Morgan is the creator and writer of the Netflix historical drama series The Crown, a biographical story about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. The first season starred Claire Foy, Matt Smith, Vanessa Kirby, as Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, and Princess Margaret. Jared Harris, and John Lithgow made supporting turns as King George VI, and Winston Churchill. The series has received widespread critical acclaim and received multiple Primetime Emmy Award nominations including a wins for Foy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, and Lithgow for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. The casts saw changes for Seasons 3 and 4 with Olivia Colman, Tobias Menzies and Helena Bonham Carter replacing, Foy, Smith, and Kirby. Morgan has received 3 Primetime Emmy Award nominations for writing the episodes, "Assassins", "Mystery Man", and "Aberfan".

Personal life[edit]

Morgan married Princess Anna Carolina Schwarzenberg, daughter of Czech politician and nobleman Prince Karel Schwarzenberg, civilly in London on 28 July 1997 and religiously at Murau in Austria on 6 September 1997. They have five children. They lived in Battersea, South London until the winter of 2006, when the family moved to Vienna.[17] They separated in 2014, and he resides in London. Morgan has been in a relationship with actress Gillian Anderson since 2016.[18][19]

Morgan was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2016 New Year Honours for services to drama.[20] In February 2017, he was awarded a British Film Institute Fellowship (BFI).[2] In November 2019 Morgan was honoured by the American Film Institute with a tribute to his career at the AFI FEST 2019.[21]

In July 2016 Morgan was presented with an Honorary Degree in Letters by the University of Leeds, his alma mater.[22]

List of works[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Notes
1988 Madame Sousatzka additional material written by
1990 Dear Rosie short; co-writer
1991 King Ralph rewrites
1992 The Silent Touch co-writer
1998 Martha, Meet Frank, Daniel and Laurence
2006 The Queen
2006 The Last King of Scotland co-writer
2008 The Other Boleyn Girl
2008 Frost/Nixon
2009 The Damned United
2009 State of Play rewrites
2010 Hereafter
2011 360
2011 Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy executive producer
2013 Rush
2018 Bohemian Rhapsody story
TBC Thrilla in Manila (working title) upcoming Ang Lee's film

Television[edit]

Year Title Notes
1989 Shalom Joan Collins co-writer
1993 Rik Mayall Presents… episode: "Mickey Love"
1997 Comedy Premieres: The Chest
2000 Metropolis
2002 The Jury
2003 The Deal TV-Movie
2003 Henry VIII
2005 Colditz
2006 Longford TV-Movie
2010 The Special Relationship TV-Movie
2011 The Jury II Second Series
2014 The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies
2016-
present
The Crown creator, writer, showrunner

Theatre[edit]

Year Title Notes Theatre
1986 Pax Britannica co-writer
2006 Frost/Nixon playwright Donmar Warehouse, London
Gielgud Theatre, West End
2007 Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, Broadway
2013 The Audience playwright Donmar Warehouse, West End
2015 Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, Broadway

Awards and Nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2006 Academy Awards Best Original Screenplay The Queen Nominated
2008 Best Adapted Screenplay Frost/Nixon Nominated
2016 American Film Institute AFI Television Program of the Year The Crown – Season One Won
2017 The Crown – Season Two Won
2019 The Crown – Season Three Won
2007 British Academy Film Awards Best Original Screenplay The Queen Nominated
2007 Outstanding British Film Nominated
2007 Outstanding British Film The Last King of Scotland Won
2007 Best Adapted Screenplay Won
2009 Best Adapted Screenplay Frost/Nixon Nominated
2014 Outstanding British Film Rush Nominated
2004 British Academy Television Awards Best Single Drama The Deal Won
2007 Longford Nominated
2007 Best Writer Won
2015 Best Mini Series The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies Won
2016 Best Writer The Crown Nominated
2007 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Television Movie Longford Nominated
2010 The Special Relationship Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series or TV Movie Nominated
2017 Outstanding Drama Series The Crown Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Drama SeriesAssassins Nominated
2018 Outstanding Drama Series Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Drama SeriesMystery Man Nominated
2020 Outstanding Drama Series Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Drama SeriesAberfan Nominated
2007 Golden Globe Award Best Screenplay – Motion Picture The Queen Won
2008 Best Miniseries or Television Film Longford Won
2009 Best Screenplay – Motion Picture Frost/Nixon Nominated
2016 Best Television Series – Drama The Crown – Season One Won
2017 The Crown – Season Two Nominated
2019 The Crown – Season Three Nominated
2007 Olivier Award Best New Play Frost/Nixon Nominated
2013 The Audience Nominated
2007 Tony Award Best Play Frost/Nixon Nominated
2006 Venice Film Festival Golden Osella The Queen Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The 100 most powerful people in British culture". Daily Telegraph. 11 November 2016.
  2. ^ a b "The Crown writer Peter Morgan CBE to be awarded BFI Fellowship". British Film Institute. 2 February 2017. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  3. ^ "The Impersonator.(Peter Morgan) – HighBeam Business: Arrive Prepared". Archived from the original on 14 February 2015.
  4. ^ Pacheco, Patrick (22 April 2007). "No sides, no prisoners". Los Angeles Times.
  5. ^ Hanks, Robert (24 February 2007) "Peter Morgan: Drama king", The Independent. Retrieved on 14 January 2009.
  6. ^ "The man who rewrites history". Evening Standard. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  7. ^ "At the start, they both thought it would be Nixon/Frost". rogerebert.com. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
  8. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (23 June 2009). "Peter Morgan leaves 'Relationship'". The Hollywood Reporter (Nielsen Business Media).
  9. ^ "The Special Relationship". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
  10. ^ Martin, Francesca (4 June 2008). "Tinker, tailor, soldier, film star". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 4 June 2008.
  11. ^ The Queen writer to pen new Bond, BBC News, 13 June 2009
  12. ^ Eden, Richard (10 April 2010). "Sam Mendes in James Bond mystery". The Daily Telegraph (Telegraph Media Group).
  13. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (13 November 2008). "Eastwood, Spielberg talking thriller". Variety. Reed Business Information. Retrieved 18 November 2008.
  14. ^ "Niki Lauda on Rush, James Hunt and the crash that changed his life". telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  15. ^ "Writer Announced for Freddie Mercury Biopic". Rolling Stone. 12 October 2010. Retrieved 12 October 2010.
  16. ^ "Rami Malek Rises Above Bohemian Rhapsody's Messy Excess". Time Magazine. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
  17. ^ "Peter Morgan Biography". IMDB.
  18. ^ Heyman, Marshall (24 October 2016). "A Crowning Achievement". The Wall Street Journal (subscription required). Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  19. ^ "Londoner's Diary: Goodbye to a likely lad and a lovely man". London Evening Standard. 23 November 2017. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  20. ^ "No. 61450". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 2015. p. N9.
  21. ^ "Gala Premiere of THE CROWN Season Three at AFI FEST 2019". American Film Institute. 17 October 2019. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  22. ^ "University announces honorary degrees 2016". University of Leeds. 8 July 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2020.

External links[edit]