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Anthony McCarten (born 28 April 1961) is a New Zealand novelist, playwright, journalist, television writer and filmmaker. He is best known for writing the biopics The Theory of Everything (2014), Darkest Hour (2017), Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) and The Two Popes (2019). He received Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay nominations for The Theory of Everything and The Two Popes.
|Born||28 April 1961|
New Plymouth, New Zealand
|Occupation||Screenwriter, novelist, playwright, television writer, filmmaker|
|Alma mater||Massey University|
Victoria University of Wellington
McCarten was born and raised in New Plymouth, New Zealand, and attended Francis Douglas Memorial College. He worked as a reporter for a couple of years on The Taranaki Herald before studying for an Arts degree at Massey University and Victoria University of Wellington, where he studied creative writing with Bill Manhire. After leaving university, McCarten appeared in a production of King Lear.
McCarten is a celebrated novelist and author of seven novels. McCarten's novels have been translated into 14 languages. His first novel, Spinners (Picador, 2000), was voted one of the top ten novels of that year by Esquire magazine. McCarten published his second novel, The English Harem, in 2002, which he later adapted for the screen. It was broadcast on ITV in December 2005.
In 2007, he wrote his third novel Death of a Superhero, then adapted the screenplay, executive produced the film, and wrote the book of the stage musical. It won the 2008 Austrian Youth Literature Prize and was a finalist for the 2008 German Youth Literature Prize. His fourth novel, Show Of Hands, was published in Europe, and in the US by Simon and Schuster in 2009. McCarten directed the big screen adaptation and the movie had its world premiere at the Montreal World Film Festival, 2008, and was nominated for Best Picture and Best Director at the New Zealand Film Awards. The sequel novel to Death of a Superhero, In The Absence Of Heroes, was published in 2012, and was a finalist for the 2013 New Zealand Fiction Prize and was longlisted for the 2014 Dublin International IMPAC Literary Award. 2013 saw the release of Brilliance (Alma Books (UK), Hawthorne Books (USA)), the Gilded Age story of Thomas Edison, the legendary inventor of the first commercially practical incandescent light, and his transforming friendship with the giant of the late 19th-century financial world, J.P. Morgan. In 2015 he was inducted as a Literary Fellow of the New Zealand Society of Authors.
In June, 2018, his work of historical non-fiction, Darkest Hour: How Churchill Brought Us Back From The Brink ranked number 1 on the UK non-fiction charts, enjoying ten weeks as a Sunday Times Bestseller.
Via Satellite, which McCarten adapted from his own stage play, and directed himself, was invited to several film festivals including London, Cannes, Toronto, Melbourne, Hawaii and Seattle. His follow-up feature as writer/director, Show of Hands (2008), premiered at the Montreal International Film Festival and was an official selection for the Shanghai Film Festival 2009.
In 2011, his adaptation of his own novel Death of a Superhero had its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, won the 2011 Les Arcs European Film Festival Audience Choice Prize and Young Jury Prize, and the Audience Award and 'Special Mention' of the Jury at the Mamer-en-Mars European Film Festival. It had its US premiere at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival.
McCarten produced and wrote The Theory of Everything (2014), concerning the life of Prof. Stephen Hawking, and his first wife, Jane Hawking. He first initiated talks with Jane to acquire the rights to her autobiography, Travelling to Infinity, in 2004, and shortly after began work on the screenplay, which took its inspiration from her book.
On 15 January 2015, the film received 5 Academy Award nominations, with McCarten earning two as producer and screenwriter in the categories of Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. He won two BAFTA awards for his roles as producer Best British Film and screenwriter Best Adapted Screenplay.
In 2017, McCarten wrote and co-produced a film about Winston Churchill, Darkest Hour. It stars Gary Oldman as Churchill, who has received critical acclaim for his performance. The film received 6 Academy Award nominations, with McCarten earning one as producer in the category of Best Picture. He was also nominated for two BAFTA awards for his role as producer, Best British Film and Best Film.
McCarten wrote Bohemian Rhapsody, the Queen biopic that reached Number 1 at the box office in the US, UK, France, Germany, and all major markets, recording the second biggest opening weekend in history for a musical biography. It became the biggest grossing drama and/or biopic of all time in 2018, winning the 2019 Golden Globe for Best Picture (drama), earning over $900 million at the box office, and was nominated for the 2019 Academy Award for Best Picture.
In 2019, he wrote the script for The Two Popes, the film adaptation of his own stage play, The Pope; the film stars Anthony Hopkins as Pope Benedict XVI and Jonathan Pryce as Pope Francis, and had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival.
April 2020, Deadline.com announced McCarten would be writing the screenplay for an upcoming Whitney Houston biopic. He'll also serve as producer with Houston's mentor/boss Clive Davis, her estate president and music company Primary Wave. Stella Meghie will direct and the film has a working title, I Wanna Dance with Somebody.
McCarten divides his time between London, Los Angeles and Munich. He has three children.
|1989||Worzel Gummidge Down Under||4 episodes|
|2005||The English Harem||TV movie|
|2008||Show of Hands|
|2011||Death of a Superhero|
|2014||The Theory of Everything|
|2019||The Two Popes|
|2022||I Wanna Dance With Somebody|
|1984||Invitation to a Second Class Carriage||Depot Theatre, Wellington|
|1987||Yellow Canary Mazurka|
|1987||Ladies Night||Mercury||With Stephen Sinclair|
|1988, 1989||Pigeon English||Playwrights' Workshop / Depot|
|1991||Via Satellite||Wellington Theatre Critics|
|1992||Hang on a Minute, Mate||Downstage|
|1992||Ladies' Night 2||Mercury||With Stephen Sinclair|
|1995||FILTH (Failed in London, Try Hong Kong)||Circa|
|1996||Four Cities||Los Angeles||AKA Continental Breakfast|
|2014||Death of a Superhero||book by McCarten, music by Paul Brown|
|2018||Wednesday At Warrens, Friday at Bills|
|2022||The Collaboration||Young Vic Theatre, London|
|2022||A Beautiful Noise - the Neil Diamond Musical||Boston||book by McCarten, music by Neil Diamond|
Awards and nominationsEdit
|2014||The Theory of Everything||Best Picture||Nominated|
|Best Adapted Screenplay||Nominated|
|2017||Darkest Hour||Best Picture||Nominated|
|2019||The Two Popes||Best Adapted Screenplay||Nominated|
|2014||The Theory of Everything||Best Film||Nominated|
|Best Adapted Screenplay||Won|
|Outstanding British Film||Won|
|2017||Darkest Hour||Best Film||Nominated|
|Outstanding British Film||Nominated|
|2018||Bohemian Rhapsody||Outstanding British Film||Nominated|
|2019||The Two Popes||Best Adapted Screenplay||Nominated|
|Outstanding British Film||Nominated|
|2019||The Two Popes||Best Screenplay||Nominated|||
|2019||The Two Popes||Hollywood Screenwriter Award||Won|
- Spinners Random House New Zealand (1999) Harper Perennial (US) (2001)
- The English Harem Picador (2002), reprinted (film-tie-in) Alma Books (2006)
- Brilliance (2006) Hawthorne Books (US), Alma Books (UK) Random House (NZ) Diogenes (Germany)
- Death of a Superhero (2006, 2007) Alma Books
- Show of Hands (2008) Diogenes (Germ.), Simon and Schuster (US), Random House (NZ)
- In the Absence of Heroes (2012) Random House (NZ), Diogenes (Germ.)
- funnygirl (2015) Alma Books (UK), Random House (NZ) Diogenes (Germany)
- Darkest Hour: How Churchill Brought Us Back from the Brink (2017) Penguin/Viking (UK), Harper Collins (US)
- The Pope: Francis, Benedict, and the Decision That Shook the World (2019) Flatiron Books (US)
- "Anthony McCarten on myCast - Fan Casting Your Favorite Stories". myCast - Fan Casting Your Favorite Stories.
- Saltmarsh, Matthew (24 May 2008). "From sex comedy to exiles: Prolific New Zealander's worldwide reach". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
- "Anthony McCarten profile". Authortrek. Archived from the original on 13 November 2014. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
- Mendelson, Scott (7 January 2019). "Bryan Singer Golden Globes Winning 'Bohemian Rhapsody' Is The Highest Grossing Drama Of All Time". Forbes Magazine.
- Chilton, Bart (26 November 2018). "Bohemian Blockchain Rhapsody: Lessons to be Learned from Queen & Freddie". Forbes Magazine.
- Aridi, Sara (6 January 2019). "Golden Globe Winners 2019: The Complete List". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
- "Oscar Nominations 2019: The Complete List". Variety. 22 January 2019. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
- Fleming, Mike Jr. (22 April 2020). "Whitney Houston Biopic Crystallizes; Stella Meghie Directing, Anthony McCarten Writing Script For Houston Estate, Primary Wave & Clive Davis". Deadline. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
- "Anthony McCarten, the writer with the Midas touch, on his 'Pope Opera'". The Big Issue. 16 December 2019. Retrieved 25 December 2019.
- "Two Popes, The". www.goldenglobes.com.