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Richard Curtis (1956)

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Richard Whalley Anthony Curtis, CBE is a New Zealand-born British screenwriter, music producer, actor and film director, known primarily for romantic comedy films such as Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones's Diary, Notting Hill, Love Actually and The Girl in the Café, as well as the hit sitcoms Blackadder, Mr. Bean and The Vicar of Dibley. He is also the founder of the British charity Comic Relief.

  Biography  

 early life
Curtis was born in Wellington, New Zealand, the son of Glyness S. and Anthony J. Curtis, who was an executive at Unilever. Curtis and his family lived in several different countries during his childhood, including Sweden and the Philippines. Part of the family still lives in Sydney. Curtis has lived in England since he was 11. He began school at Papplewick School, Ascot , before he won a scholarship to the prestigious Harrow School in London. He achieved a first-class degree in English Language and Literature at Christ Church, Oxford, and it was at Oxford that he met, and began working with, Rowan Atkinson.

 film career
Curtis achieved his breakthrough success with the romantic comedy Four Weddings and a Funeral. The 1994 film, starring Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell, was produced on a limited budget by the British production company Working Title Films. Four Weddings and a Funeral proved to be the biggest grossing British film in history at that time. It made an international star of Grant, and Curtis' Oscar nomination for the script catapulted him to prominence but Richard Curtis lost to Quentin Tarantino's script for Pulp Fiction. The film was nominated for Best Picture but lost to Forrest Gump.

Curtis' next film was also for Working Title, which has remained his artistic home ever since. 1999's Notting Hill, starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts, broke the record set by Four Weddings and a Funeral to become the top-grossing British film of all time. The story of a lonely travel bookstore owner who falls in love with the world's most famous movie star was directed by Roger Michell.

Curtis' next film for Working Title was not an original script. Instead, he was heavily involved with the adaptation of Bridget Jones's Diary from novel to film. Curtis knew the novel's writer Helen Fielding. Indeed, he has credited her with saying that his original script for Four Weddings and a Funeral was too upbeat and needed the addition of a funeral. He is credited on Bridget Jones's Diary as co-writer.

Two years later Curtis re-teamed with Working Title to write and direct Love Actually. Curtis has said in interviews that his favorite film is Robert Altman's Nashville and the sprawling, multi-character structure of Love Actually certainly seems to owe something to Altman. The film featured a who's who of British actors, including Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Bill Nighy, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Alan Rickman and Keira Knightley, in a loosely connected series of stories about people in and out of love in London in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Curtis then wrote the screenplay to The Girl in the Café, a television film directed by David Yates and produced by the BBC and HBO as part of the Make Poverty History campaign's Live 8 efforts in 2005. The film stars Bill Nighy as a civil servant and Kelly Macdonald as a young woman with whom he falls in love while at a G8 summit in Iceland. Macdonald's character pushes him to ask whether the developed countries of the world cannot do more to help the most impoverished. The film was timed to air just before the Gleneagles G8 summit in 2005 and received three Emmy Awards in 2006 including Outstanding Made for Television Movie, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie for Kelly Macdonald, and an Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie, or Dramatic Special trophy for Curtis himself.

In May 2007 he received the BAFTA Fellowship at the British Academy Television Awards in recognition of his successful career in film and television and his charity efforts.

Curtis cowrote with Anthony Minghella an adaptation of Alexander McCall Smith's novel, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency which Minghella shot in mid-2007 in Botswana. It premiered on the BBC on 23 March 2008, just days after Minghella's death. The film did not run in the US until early 2009, when HBO aired it as the pilot of a resulting six-episode TV series with the same cast, on which Curtis served as Executive Producer.

His second film as writer/director, The Boat That Rocked, was released in 2009. The film was set in 1966 in the era of British pirate radio. It followed a group of DJs on a pirate radio station run from a boat in the North Sea. The film starred Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Nick Frost, Rhys Ifans, Gemma Arterton and Kenneth Branagh. The film was a commercial and critical disappointment in the UK. Curtis re-edited the film for its US release where it was re-titled Pirate Radio.

 personal life
Curtis lives in Notting Hill and has a country house in Walberswick, Suffolk – the same village in which former BBC One controller Peter Fincham has a weekend retreat – with script editor and broadcaster Emma Freud. Their children are: daughter Scarlett Rachel Anne, and sons, Jake Barnard and Charlie Spike. They have another country retreat in Henley, Oxfordshire.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Richard Curtis", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.