MI6 profiles Peter Morgan, successful screenwriter
of "The Queen" and "Frost/Nixon" who
is currently co-writing James Bond 23 (2011)...
Meet the Filmmakers - Peter Morgan Biography
8th January 2010
Peter Morgan was born on 10th April
1963, in Wimbledon, London, UK. His family
Second World War. His father was a German Jew and his mother
a Pole, who had a similarly trying experience when Poland
was occupied by the Soviets. Aged 9, Morgan lost his father
and was sent to boarding school where he was to be brought
up a Roman Catholic - his mother's religion. Morgan was
primarily German-speaking as a youth and it took him a
long time in boarding school to shake the accent, and the
After his time was served at Downside
School, Somerset, Morgan began to study English at Leeds
University but quickly adjusted his degree to Fine Arts
where he raved about the faculty staff, telling journalists
he found his time in the tertiary system "inspirational" -
a far cry from the boarding school of his boy-hood.
He initially wished to be an actor, but
found that he was terrified of performing in front of an
audience. So instead Morgan found refuge in the writing
department, scripting a few short stage pieces, some of
which were presented at the Edinburgh Fringe festival.
By the late 1980s Morgan had teamed up with writer Mark Wadlow. The pair wrote for several long-forgotten educational films and documentaries before getting the chance to contribute to "Madame Sousatzka" - a 1988 drama that starred an aging Shirley MacLaine.
From there the pair headed the writing talent
on little-known (and often forgotten) TV special "Shalom
Joan Collins" (1989) before the 1990s gave Morgan the
chance to go solo.
Along the way to fame, Morgan worked on a comedy starring Rik Mayall (famous for "The Young Ones"), "Micky Love" (1993) as well as "Dotkniecie reki" - a 1993 drama that focused on the life of Holocaust survivor and famed composer, Henry Kesdi (played by Max von Sydow, seen in "Never Say Never Again" and "Flash Gordon").
"It was like going into a wall at about 100 miles an hour. I was thrown in with extremely radical, politicised people who tore me to pieces. It was a very good experience." - Morgan on University life
In 2002, Morgan was offered the chance to pen
a 6-part British mini-series, "The Jury" that starred
one-time Bond hopeful Gerard Butler and gained the screenwriter
a good dollop of critical praise.
The following year, the Morgan-scripted "The
Deal" (2003), following the happenings at a semi-fictionalised
Downing Street, wowed many critics. The TV special won a BAFTA
for Best Drama and starred David Morrissey as Gordon Brown and
Michael Sheen as Tony Blair. The latter would go on to reprise
his role as Britain's (now) former Prime Minister in Morgan-scribed "The
Queen". On "The Deal", Morgan collaborated
closely with his director, Stephen Frears ("High Fidelity").
In fact, Morgan was asked to direct his TV docu-drama but he
declined saying later, "So as long as there's Stephen, I
couldn't imagine why I would do it because I would constantly
be thinking that he'd do it better."
"It's a magnet for publicity - everyone wants to know what's going on with the new Bond" - Morgan discusses the wave of interest in 007
The same year as "The Deal", Morgan's "Henry VIII" aired. Starring Ray Winstone, this period piece met with far less success than "The Deal", but still earned itself an Emmy without the critics praise.
The next big-hit on an already impressive résumé for Morgan was his detailed portrait of Queen Elizabeth II - "The Queen" (2006). As played by Helen Mirren, the plot follows the life of Her Majesty and the royal family from the election of Tony Blair in 1997, through the trying fiasco that was the death of Princess Diana. The film scooped over $120 million at the box office and earned Mirren an Oscar Win - as well as Academy Award nods for Peter Morgan and his much-admired director/friend Stephen Fears.
Above: Morgan in his new home of Vienna.
In 2006, Morgan's tense
drama "Frost/Nixon" played at The National Theatre
and subsequently on London's West End. Playing to sell-out
houses in the British capital, the production met with
equal success when it opened on Broadway in 2007. The show
was quickly adapted by Morgan for the screen, and the press
rumors that claimed Ron Howard would helm the production
proved accurate, along with a cast lead by Michael Sheen
as David Frost. The film met with much critical success,
and the biggest nit-pick to come from the presses was regarding
some factual inaccuracies that were let slip for the sake
of the story.
Morgan is currently working on his latest British
government docu-drama "The Special Relationship" which
again will star Michael Sheen opposite Dennis Quaid as Bill Clinton. Bond
23, the new James Bond movie will be Morgan's first big-budget
action/adventure film, which the media are reporting he will
follow up with screen adaptation of Cold-War thriller "Tinker,
Tailor, Soldier, Spy" - a John le Carré story.
Peter Morgan Speaks: A Shocking Story