Pen Densham (born 14 October 1947) is a British-Canadian film and television producer, writer, director, author and photographer, known for writing and producing films such as Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and television revivals of The Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone, as well as writing, producing and directing MGM's Moll Flanders.
|Born||14 October 1947|
Ruislip, Middlesex, U.K.
|Occupation||Film and television writer, producer, and author|
Born in England in 1947, to parents Raymond Densham who both worked in the British film industry, Densham left school at age 15 and was hired by British TV to photograph The Rolling Stones, selling pictures to national magazines. At 19 he moved to Canada where he directed commercials and documentaries, working with Marshall McLuhan.
Densham went on to found Insight Productions in Toronto with John Watson. The company gained recognition for documentaries such as Life Times Nine, one of two Insight films that earned Academy Award nominations. In total, Densham and Watson received over 70 international awards for their works as well as medals from the Queen of England for their contribution to the Arts of Canada. The first drama Densham wrote and directed, If Wishes Were Horses, won 14 awards, was reviewed by TV guide as "The best film of any length shown on Canadian TV", and brought Densham's work to the attention of Norman Jewison. Jewison, with Telefilm Canada, sponsored Densham to move to Hollywood.
Trilogy Entertainment GroupEdit
In Hollywood Densham and Watson founded Trilogy Entertainment Group. They were employed as creative consultants on films such as Rocky II and Footloose. In 1988 Densham directed Trilogy's first studio feature, The Kiss, for Tri-Star. In 1990 Densham re-envisioned the Robin Hood story, creating a new characterization and adding new concepts. Densham and Watson sold their spec script for Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and produced the film for Morgan Creek Productions and Warner Brothers. The film became one of Warner Brothers' largest grossing movies ever, spinning off games, toy lines and the No. 1 music single from Bryan Adams, "Everything I Do, I Do It For You". In the same year they were producers on Backdraft with Ron Howard directing for Imagine Entertainment and Universal Pictures. Backdraft generated one of the longest-lasting attractions at the Universal Studios Tour.
Inspired by the loss of his mother, Densham wrote and directed a personal version of Moll Flanders for MGM and Spelling Entertainment, based loosely on the novel by Daniel Defoe, starring Morgan Freeman and Robin Wright. Densham also wrote and directed Houdini, an $8 million TNT feature for television starring Johnathon Schaech, Mark Ruffalo and Emile Hirsch.
In television Densham wrote and supervised the re-franchising of The Outer Limits science fiction anthology series, which he executive-produced with his partners for its award-winning seven-year-run on American television. In the process Densham earned the unique distinction of being named number eight in the 50 Most Powerful People in Science Fiction list compiled by Cinefantastique magazine. In 2003 he re-introduced The Twilight Zone fantasy anthology series to American audiences on UPN.
Densham became a published author with his book about screenplay writing and selling creativity in Hollywood, Riding The Alligator: Strategies for a Career in Screenplay Writing (And Not Getting Eaten), published by Michael Wiese Books in January 2011. The title comes from the cover photo of Densham at the age of four astride a live seven-foot alligator in one of his parents' theatrical short films. Written with the goal of supporting emerging creative people finding their own voice and path through the Hollywood industry as well as artistic endeavors in general, the book includes supportive essays by professional screenwriters Shane Black, Nia Vardalos, Andrea Berloff, Eric Roth, John Watson, Robin Swicord, Todd Robinson, Alan McElroy, Anthony Peckham, Ron Shelton and Laeta Kalogridis. The book received positive reviews from Academy Award-winning writer-director-producers like Paul Haggis and Ron Howard, as well as actors like Jeff Bridges, Morgan Freeman, Robin Wright and Emile Hirsch.
|1973||Life Times Nine||Yes||Documentary short
Nominated - Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film
Directed by Norman Jewison
|1979||Rocky II||Yes||Supervisor: Fight and Training Montages|
Directed by Sylvester Stallone
|1980||Coal Miner's Daughter||Yes||Creative Consultant|
Directed by Michael Apted
|Don't Mess with Bill||Yes||Documentary short|
Directed by John Watson
|1981||Escape to Victory||Yes||Creative Consultant|
Directed by John Huston
Directed by Bruce Malmuth
|1984||Success Is the Best Revenge||Yes||Directed by Jerzy Skolimowski|
Directed by Herbert Ross
|1985||The Zoo Gang||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|1988||The Kiss||Yes||Yes||Nominated - Fantasporto International Film Festival Award|
|1990||A Gnome Named Gnorm||Yes||Yes||Directed by Stan Winston|
|1991||Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves||Yes||Yes||Directed by Kevin Reynolds|
|1994||Blown Away||Yes||Directed by Stephen Hopkins|
|1995||Tank Girl||Yes||Directed by Rachel Talalay|
|2002||The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys||Yes||Directed by Peter Care|
|2005||Taj Mahal: An Eternal Love Story||Directed by Akbar Khan|
|2007||Just Buried||Yes||Directed by Chaz Thorne|
|2013||Phantom||Yes||Directed by Todd Robinson|
|2019||The Last Full Measure||Yes|
|1976||If Wishes Were Horses||Yes||Yes||Television special|
|Taking Liberty||Yes||Yes||Television film|
|1993-94||Space Rangers||Yes||Yes||Series creator|
|1995-2001||The Outer Limits||Yes||Yes||87 episodes|
|1996-99||Poltergeist: The Legacy||Yes||70 episodes|
|1997||Buffalo Soldiers||Yes||Television film|
|1998||The Wonderful World of Disney||Yes||1 episode|
|The Magnificent Seven||Yes||Yes||Series creator|
|The Taking of Pelham One Two Three||Yes||Television film|
|The Twilight Zone||Yes||3 episodes|
|Breaking News||Yes||13 episodes|
- Why We Write (contribution) – 1999
- Riding The Alligator: Strategies For a Career in Screenplay Writing – 2011
Awards and nominationsEdit
- 1974 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film: Life Times Nine (nominated) - with John Watson
- 1981 Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject): Don't Mess with Bill (nominated) - with John Watson
- 1995 CableACE Award for Best Dramatic Series: The Outer Limits (nominated) - with Richard B. Lewis & John Watson
Fantasporto Fantasy Film FestivalEdit
- 1996 Gemini Award for Best TV Movie or Mini-Series: The Outer Limits (nominated) - with Richard B. Lewis, John Watson, Justis Greene & James Nadler
- 1997 Gemini Award for Best Short Dramatic Program: The Outer Limits (nominated) - with James Nadler, Richard B. Lewis, Brad Wright, Brent-Karl Clackson & John Watson
- 1998 Gemini Award for Best Dramatic Series: The Outer Limits (nominated) - James Nadler, Richard B. Lewis, Brad Wright, Brent-Karl Clackson, John Watson, Jonathan Glassner & Sam Egan
- 2000 Gemini Award for Best Dramatic Series: The Outer Limits (nominated) - Richard B. Lewis, Brent-Karl Clackson, John Watson & Sam Egan
- 2001 Gemini Award for Best Dramatic Series: The Outer Limits (nominated) - Richard B. Lewis, Mark Stern, Brent-Karl Clackson, John Watson & Sam Egan
- "Profile: Pen Densham", filmreference.com
- "Pen Densham". www.cfccreates.com. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
- "Pen Densham". www.writersstore.com. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
- Kasindorf, Jeanie. "Million Dollar Babies: How a Bunch of Hollywood Screenwriters Struck It Rich." New York Magazine. 23.24 (18 Jun 1990): 40–50.
- "Artists - Pen Densham". Schoos Night Gallery. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
- Parke, Catherine N. "Adaptation of Defoe's Moll Flanders." In Eighteenth-Century Fiction on Screen. Edited by Robert Mayer. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002. 58.
- Puchalski, Steven. Slimetime: A Guide to Sleazy, Mindless Movies. Manchester, UK: Critical Vision, 2002. 174.
- Michael Wise Books website