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Hero image for Anthony McCarten: The theory of screenwriting...

Anthony McCarten: The theory of screenwriting...

Interview – 2015

Anthony McCarten is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and novelist, who has directed two of his own movie scripts. His screenplay credits include movies about Winston Churchill, Whitney Houston and band Queen. Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything won him a BAFTA Award in 2015 for Best Adapted Screenplay. McCarten was interviewed for NZ On Screen when he was in Auckland in 2015, for Script to Screen's Big Screen Symposium.

In this ScreenTalk, McCarten talks about:

  • Getting some negative feedback from a former Dr Who on Worzel Gummidge Down Under
  • Making his screen directing debut with dark tale Nocturne in a Room
  • Exploring sibling rivalry on comedy drama Via Satellite 
  • The challenges of being a first time director on the film 
  • Feeling disappointed with the British TV adaptation of his novel The English Harem 
  • Touching on "the great western myth" of happiness with his second feature, Show of Hands
  • Disagreeing with the director on the vision for film Death of a Superhero 
  • Being excited by the story behind The Theory of Everything, based on the romance between scientist Stephen Hawking and first wife Jane
  • A sudden reversal of fortune in financing the film
  • Witnessing Hawking's emotional reaction to the movie
  • How writing films is an antidote to the solitude of writing novels
This video was first uploaded on 27 October 2015, and is available under this Creative Commons licence. This licence is limited to use of ScreenTalk interview footage only and does not apply to any video content and photographs from films, television, music videos, web series and commercials used in the interview.
Interview, Camera and Editing – Andrew Whiteside
Writing novels is kind of in my DNA — it's one of the things I most love to do. So I will continue to do that, I think — try and do one every couple of years. Writing for film is almost like an antidote to that: it takes you out of the privations of being in a room on your own, and gets you out working with other people and collaborating . . . I'd like to just keep mixing it up.
– Anthony McCarten on balancing scriptwriting and novel writing