Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Who Is Ron Hutchinson?

Ron Hutchinson was born in 1947 near Lisburn, Northern Ireland. He moved with his family to Coventry where he attended school. He got his start in theatre by attending plays at Coventry's Belgrade Theatre. One of his first plays, Risky City, was produced by the Belgrade Theatre in 1981 where it was directed by a trainee director by the name of Michael Boyd. Michael Boyd later went on to become the Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company from 2002-2012, while Ron Hutchinson became a playwright-in-residence with the RSC in the 1980's and eventually left to move to L.A. to write screenplays.

Mr. Hutchinson is a prolific writer who has written more than 2 dozen plays and a number of films and television shows. His plays include Topless Mum, Says I, Says He, Rat In The Skull, an adaptation of Mikhail Bulgakov’s Flight, and The Master and Margarita.

A winner of the John Whiting Award and other awards including the Dramatist’s Circle Award, he is an Emmy-winning feature and television writer whose credits include Murderers Among Us: The Simon Wiesenthal Story, The Josephine Baker Story, The Burning Season, The Ten Commandments, and Traffic.

Moonlight and Magnolias was commissioned by the Goodman Theatre in Chicago and premiered in 2004. Mr. Hutchinson says the following about Moonlight and Magnolias: “The inspiration for Moonlight came when I was visiting my father in England. I was reading Daily, Daily, the autobiography of Ben Hecht’s week rewriting Gone with the Wind, and literally from one footstep to another, it struck me, wow—this is classical farce. Can you imagine? All the elements are there. Three high-powered individuals lock themselves in a room existing on peanuts and bananas, and they are ever mindful that the clock is ticking, in a total pressure cooker situation.” He also says that “Moonlight and Magnolias, was really more of a celebration to correct the image of film’s golden age writers, directors, and producers than an indictment of Hollywood. Though Hecht is the voice in the play, the hero is the producer David Selznick. Too often today, the producer’s image is that of the sleazy, behind the scene guy, who rakes in the money. Selznick had everything on the line: his fortune, reputation, and his marriage. The producers of yesteryear are the ones upon which the industry was built. I’ve had the great fortune to work with some outstanding producers who aren’t afraid to make the tough decisions.”

Mr. Hutchinson lives and works in Los Angeles and teaches screen-writing at the American Film Institute.

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