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OSCAR Q&A: Peter Morgan Talks ‘Hereafter’

Pete Hammond

In a career now spanning over 20 years Peter Morgan has become one of the film industry’s most prolific writers, best known for crafting screenplays based on real life people and events. He won an Oscar nomination for adapting Frost/Nixon (2008) based on his own play. In 2006 his original screenplay for The Queen was also Oscar nominated, winning numerous other awards including a Golden Globe. The same year he won a BAFTA award for The Last King Of Scotland about the notorious dictator Idi Amin. (Both Helen Mirren and Forest Whitaker won Oscars for their work in those two films.) His other credits include the sports biography The Damned United, and The Deal, and a lot of television work including his Emmy nominated effort this year on HBO’s The Special Relationship. He is both writer and executive producer of his latest film Hereafter with director Clint Eastwood. It opened well in limited release last weekend in LA and NY and goes wide Friday in 2,181 locations. A complete departure from his previous scripts, it’s a multi-character piece telling three distinct stories about people affected by death or near death in one way or another. It’s also the most personal of all Morgan’s work and he wrote it on spec not knowing if it would ever be made. How it wound up in the hands of some of the film industry’s most powerful figures is a story in itself, a turn of events even Morgan couldn’t quite believe as he explained to me when he was in LA for screenings and interviews recently:

Deadline’s Pete Hammond: What was your reaction when you saw the movie?

Peter Morgan: I spent most of the time when I watched for the first time loathing my work, wishing I had done more here or there. And then the second time, at the New York Film Festival, I really enjoyed it — not my work but the pace, of being allowed in. There’s extremely honest things about it. I can assure you this is the most honest piece of writing I have ever done. I wrote it in a hut on a mountain for nobody because I wanted to. I don’t know, it just came to me.

PH: What drew you to this material?

Morgan: The stuff that I have perhaps become known for that’s based on fact, and English statesmen shouting at each other all the time, doesn’t entirely represent who I am. Read More »

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Fernando Meirelles And Peter Morgan Take ’360′ Turn Together

Mike Fleming

fernando-meirellesEXCLUSIVE: Here’s some news that ought to cheer up fans of mature movies who feel neglected in the escapist summer season. Director Fernando Meirelles just made a deal to direct 360, a Peter Morgan-scripted drama that will be co-financed by ORF Fernsehfilm and BBC Films. The film’s producer roster is still coming together, but former Universal co-chairman David Linde is aboard as executive producer.

360 examines sexual morals within and between social classes, using various pairs of characters who have sexual encounters in and outside of their social classes. Morgan’s inspiration is Reigen, the play by Austrian author/playwright Arthur Schnitzler. Originally published in 1900, the play was scandalous when first made public. It has since been turned into several films that include the 1950 French language drama La Ronde. Dor Film is also producing 360, a contemporized version of Schnitzler’s work.

Linde became involved because of a relationship developed with Meirelles on The Constant Gardener while Linde ran Focus Features. Linde has been flying under the radar as he puts together backing for a new company he’ll call Lava Bear. That moniker isn’t part of the film package at this point.

WME-repped Meirelles, whose breakthrough film was City of God, last directed Blindness. UTA-repped Peter Morgan most recently wrote the Clint Eastwood-directed Matt Damon-starrer Hereafter and the HBO film The Special Relationship. Morgan’s also repped by UK-based Independent.

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