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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

'Ringing True' on Stage and Screen

“The films of which I'm most proud I've written are the ones that pivot on forgiveness.” – Peter Morgan

Born on this date in 1963, Morgan is a British film writer and playwright best known for writing the historical films and plays The Queen and Frost/Nixon, and for creating Netflix’s wildly successful drama series The Crown.   He also co-wrote the screenplay for the multi-award winning movie The Last King of Scotland.  In 2008, Morgan was ranked number 28 on "The 100 most powerful people in British culture" list.

The son of immigrants who fled to Great Britain to escape the Nazis (his father) and Soviet repression (his mother), he started writing while in college at the University of Leeds and had modest success with his early work until his big breakthrough with The Queen, for which he won a Golden Globe and lead actor Helen Mirren an Academy Award.   Since then, everything he’s written has been successful and influential.      In 2016 he was honored as Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to drama, and in 2017, he was awarded the prestigious British Film Institute Fellowship.

His advice to writers is to think about the audience, especially writing for the stage.   “As a dramatist, you have 200 choices at every fork in the road. But the audience will reject it if you make the wrong choice, if they feel you are trying to shape the character in a way that suits you.  It rings false immediately.  People can sense when you're being cynical or schematic.”

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