EXCLUSIVE: CAA has signed screenwriter and playwright Peter Morgan. Morgan, who left UTA, got an Oscar nomination for scripting The Queen and for adapting his play Frost/Nixon. He shared the BAFTA Award for teaming with Jeremy Brock for The Last King Of Scotland. Morgan most recently scripted the Formula One drama Rush, which Ron Howard directed with Chris Hemsworth starring. Morgan continues to be repped in London by Greg Hunt of Independent Talent Group.
EXCLUSIVE: Rush, the Peter Morgan-scripted drama about the battle between ’70s Formula One racers Niki Lauda and James Hunt, will rev up for action this week. The Ron Howard-directed film doesn’t really start principal photography until after Chris Hemsworth (he plays Hunt) completes Marvel’s The Avengers in a couple of months, but he and Inglourious Basterds‘ Daniel Bruhl (Lauda) will be around this weekend at Nurburgring Race Track in Germany. A race will be held there, featuring the Formula One classic cars that were driven during the 70s. Howard will be shooting 35mm all weekend with his cast.
This is more than just an opportunity for Howard to get generic footage on a race track; Nurburgring plays a pivotal part in the drama. That’s the track where Lauda, when he was reigning world champion and the only driver to ever complete a lap on that track in less than 7 minutes, tried to rally the other drivers to boycott the German Grand Prix race from being held there in 1976 because he felt safety arrangements weren’t up to snuff. When the other drivers voted against it, Lauda took the wheel and crashed his Ferrari on the second lap. Because it was so early in the race, Lauda’s car was full of fuel; his face was badly burned and he inhaled toxic hot gases that scorched his lungs before three rival drivers got out of their cars and pulled him from the wreckage. The film focuses on Lauda’s competitive spirit, which prompted him to get back behind the wheel despite being in severe pain six weeks later in Italy to stop Hunt from taking the world title.
The BFI 55th London Film Festival will open with the European premiere of 360, the Fernando Meirelles-directed drama that stars Rachel Weisz, Jude Law and Anthony Hopkins. The film opens Oct. 12 and the festival unveils the rest of its titles next Wednesday. I’m told that the opening film came down to 360 and My Week With Marilyn, but the latter film couldn’t make it because star Michelle Williams could not free herself from the production schedule of Disney’s The Great and Powerful Oz, and co-star Kenneth Branagh will be onstage in Belfast. These fest openers are sometimes determined by availability. For instance, the New York Film Festival seriously eyed Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy for its opener, but the film’s star, Gary Oldman, could not free himself from The Dark Knight Rises. The festival opens with Carnage, even though that film’s director Roman Polanski will certainly be a scratch.
360 is a Peter Morgan-scripted drama of interconnected stories about fidelity. It’s considered one of the hot acquisition titles that will unveil next month at the Toronto International Film Festival, and a possible Oscar contender. (Weisz won Best Supporting Actress for 2005′s The Constant Gardener, which was her last film with Meirelles.) The film is produced by Andrew Eaton and David Linde, Emanuel Michael, Danny Krausz and Chris Hanley.
The answer is yes — and no. Hereafter screenwriter Peter Morgan told Deadline that he took a meeting with Steven Spielberg “and went to the Universal lot for a meeting at 1 o’clock, and I went into the …
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.
EXCLUSIVE: Anthony Hopkins is joining the cast of ’360,’ the Fernando Meirelles-directed drama that stars Rachel Weisz. The Peter Morgan-scripted drama is a series of intersecting storylines that deal with love and infidelity. Morgan wrote the project on spec, and then brought on David Linde, who’ll be exec producer. Andrew Eaton is producing. The financing is being finalized, with Linde and Eaton working with UTA to square funding through a combination of sources including Austrian financiers and BBC Films. Production will begin early next year in Europe.
BAFTA and the British Film Institute are hosting a series of screenwriter lectures throughout September. Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon, September 20), David Hare (The Reader, September 9), Ronald Harwood (The Pianist, September 23), Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire, September 17), Christopher Hampton …
EXCLUSIVE: 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 …