Shakespeare in Love
Academy Award winning screenwriter and producer Marc Norman achieved fame in the late 1990s with the critically acclaimed romantic comedy “Shakespeare in Love” (1998), which was directed by John Madden and starred Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow. The film brought Norman, who co-wrote the script with Tom Stoppard and produced the project with Harvey Weinstein, Edward Zwick, Donna Gigliotti and David Parfitt numerous awards, including two Oscars, a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA Award, a Berlin International Film Festival Award and a Writers Guild of America Award. By this time, Norman had been in the industry for nearly thirty years. Making his debut in the 1970 ABC movie “The Challenge,” he continued to write such movies as “Oklahoma Crude” (1973), “Zandy's Bride” (1974), “Breakout” (1975), “The Killer Elite” (1975), “The Aviator” (1985) and “Cutthroat Island” (1995) before finally winning attention with the aforementioned project. Norman has also published novels and books, including “Oklahoma Crude” (1973), “Fool's Errand” (1979) and “What Happens Next: A History of American Screenwriting” (2007).
Father of 2
Childhood and Family:
Marc Norman was born on February 10, 1941, in Los Angeles, California. He attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he majored in English. It was at Berkeley that March began writing poetry. He stated, “In terms of writing, I started out writing poetry at Berkeley. I never considered being a novelist. I didn't think I was up to it although I've published three since. After blowing off the idea of teaching as a career, I drifted into writing. It seemed to me that being a Hollywood screenwriter was an interesting way to fail.”
Marc was married to Dale Moore in 1967. The couple has two children.
An avid reader, California native Marc Norman was inspired to write after reading books from such legendary writers as Ernest Hemingway, Charles Dickens and John Dos Passos and seeing such movies as “Citizen Kane,” “The Maltese Falcon,” “Casablanca,” “Red River, “Rules of the Game,” “Amadeus,” “Paths of Glory,” “Bridge on the River Kwai” and “Lawrence of Arabia.” Starting out writing poetry as a student at Berkeley, Norman made his professional debut as a writer with the TV film “The Challenge” (1970). The film was co-directed by George McCowan and Alan Smithee and starred Darren McGavin, Broderick Crawford and Sam Elliott. Also that year, he scripted an episode of the TV series “Mission: Impossible” titled “The Innocent.”
Norman went on to co-write (with Walter Black) another ABC “Movie of the Week,” the thriller “Five Desperate Women” (1971). He did not make his big screen debut until two years later when he scripted “Oklahoma Crude” (1973), which was directed by award winning Stanley Kramer and starred George C. Scott, Faye Dunaway, Jack Palance and John Mills. He also released a novel of the same title that year.
1974 saw Norman write the western “Zandy's Bride,” about a Swedish mail order bride (played by Liv Ullmann) and a pioneer (played Gene Hackman) that he adapted from a novel by Lillian Bos Ross titled “The Stranger.” He then lent his writing skills to the 1975 action movies “Breakout” and “The Killer Elite,” which starred Charles Bronson and James Caan, respectively. The projects marked Norman's last produced screenplays for a decade. In 1985, Norman resurfaced with the adventure “The Aviator,” based on the novel by Ernest K Gann. Starring Christopher Reeve and Rosanna Arquette, the George Miller directed movie was a box office disappointment and received primarily negative reviews. After the unsuccessful project, he revisited the small screen with the short lived CBS police drama “Downtown” (1986-1987), in which he served as creator and supervising producer.
Following a suggestion from a college student, Norman began writing a draft about William Shakespeare and the Elizabethan theater in the late 1980s. Thanks to the help of his neighbor, producer/writer Edward Zwick, the idea was eventually purchased by Universal Pictures and after Norman finished his version of “Shakespeare in Love,” the studio recruited Tom Stoppard to refine the script. In 1992, it was announced that Zwick would direct the film with Daniel Day-Lewis and Julia Roberts starring in the leads, but the project faced postponement following scheduling conflicts.
While the script was put on hold, Norman contributed to the screenplay of “Cutthroat Island,” a 1995 action adventure directed by Renny Harlin that starred Geena Davis, Matthew Modine and Frank Langella. However, the movie was considered a box office flop and won the director a Razzie nomination for Worst Director.
It was in 1998 that Norman's script eventually saw the light of day. With John Madden directing and Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow starring in the movie, the romantic comedy “Shakespeare in Love” became a huge hit with audiences and critics. For his writing, Norman received a 1999 Academy Award for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, which he shared with Tom Stoppard. He also received a Golden Globe, a Writers Guild of America award, a Chicago Film Critics Association, a Florida Film Critics Circle, a Southeastern Film Critics Association, a New York Film Critics Circle, the Broadcast Film Critics Association Critics Choice Award and the Las Vegas Film Critics Society Sierra Award in the same category. Also a producer, he jointly nabbed another Oscar for Best Picture, a BAFTA for Best Film and a Golden Satellite for Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical. Norman also picked up a Silver Berlin Bear for Outstanding Single Achievement at the 1999 Berlin International Film Festival.
After the massive breakthrough, Norman stayed primarily out of the limelight. In 2007, he appeared in the talk show “Sunday Morning Shootout” with Josh Brolin. The same year, he released a book called “What Happens Next: A History of American Screenwriting,” which was produced by New York Harmony Books.
Oscar: Best Picture, “Shakespeare in Love,” 1999
Oscar: Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, “Shakespeare in Love,” 1999
Golden Globe: Best Screenplay - Motion Picture, “Shakespeare in Love,” 1999
BAFTA Film: Best Film, “Shakespeare in Love,” 1999
Berlin International Film Festival: Silver Berlin Bear, Outstanding Single Achievement, “Shakespeare in Love, 1999
Broadcast Film Critics Association: Critics Choice Award, Best Screenplay, Original, “Shakespeare in Love,” 1999
Chicago Film Critics Association: Best Screenplay, “Shakespeare in Love,” 1999
Florida Film Critics Circle: Best Screenplay, “Shakespeare in Love,” 1999
Satellite: Golden Satellite, Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical, “Shakespeare in Love,” 1999
Southeastern Film Critics Association: Best Original Screenplay, “Shakespeare in Love,” 1999
Writers Guild of America: Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, “Shakespeare in Love,” 1999
Las Vegas Film Critics Society: Sierra Award, Best Screenplay, “Shakespeare in Love,” 1998
New York Film Critics Circle: Best Screenplay, “Shakespeare in Love,” 1998