Creation

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Paul Bettany (Charles Darwin)

While the British-born Paul Bettany is a recognised star overseas with well-received performances in film, on the London stage and on British television, American audiences first discovered him in A Knight’s Tale, in which he played the comical role of Chaucer opposite Heath Ledger. For this performance he won the London Film Critics’ Award for Best Supporting Actor and he was named one of Daily Variety’s ‘Ten to Watch’ for 2001.

Classically trained at the Drama Centre in London, Bettany made his stage debut in a West End production of An Inspector Calls under the direction of Stephen Daldry (The Reader, The Hours, Billy Elliot). He then spent a season with the Royal Shakespeare Company, performing in productions of Richard III, Romeo and Juliet and Julius Caesar before landing his first feature film role in Bent.

Bettany returned to the stage to appear in Love and Understanding at London’s Bush Theatre. He later reprised that role at the Longwharf Theatre in Connecticut. The play led to more British television work, including Lynda La Plante’s Killer Net and Coming Home, in which he starred with Peter O’Toole. Bettany’s appearance in the Royal Court Theatre productions of One More Wasted Year and Stranger’s House preceded his second feature film role in David Leland’s Land Girls with Catherine McCormack and Rachel Weisz. He next appeared in the film After the Rain.

He then portrayed Steerforth in the TNT production of David Copperfield, directed by Peter Medak, opposite Sally Field and Michael Richards. More feature film roles followed, including Suicide Club with Jonathan Pryce and David Morrissey.

Bettany was nominated for a British Independent Film award and a London Film Critics’ Award for Best Newcomer in IFC’s Gangster No.1, directed by Paul McGuigan, and starring Malcolm McDowell, David Thewlis, and Saffron Burrows. He then re-teamed with Paul McGuigan for the Paramount Classics’ mystery-thriller The Reckoning, opposite Willem Dafoe. Bettany next starred as the imaginary roommate opposite Russell Crowe, Ed Harris and Jennifer Connelly in the Academy Award-winning A Beautiful Mind for director Ron Howard. His performance in the film won him the London Film Critics’ Award for Best British Actor.

Bettany then starred in Thadeus O’Sullivan’s intense, independent feature, The Heart of Me, opposite Olivia Williams and Helena Bonham-Carter. Keen to test himself further he went on to star in Dogville, director Lars Von Trier’s dramatic thriller opposite Nicole Kidman and Stellan Skaarsgard, followed by the Working Title / Universal feature Wimbledon, in which he starred opposite Kirsten Dunst for director Richard Loncraine (The Gathering Storm, Richard III).

He starred opposite Crowe again in Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World for director Peter Weir. In this adaptation of Patrick O’Brien’s novel, Bettany plays the ship’s surgeon, Stephen Maturin, the first naturalist and best friend of Captain Jack Aubrey (Crowe). His performance won him the Evening Standard Award for Best British Actor, the London Film Critics’ Award for Best Supporting Actor for Master & Commander as well as The Heart of Me, and the Elle Style Award for Best Actor in Master & Commander and Dogville. His other nominations for Master & Commander include a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor and a Broadcast Film Critics Association nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

He went on to star as Silas in the most highly anticipated film of 2006, The Da Vinci Code based on Dan Brown’s novel and directed by Ron Howard, earlier helmsman of A Beautiful Mind. The film went on to huge box office success driven by its star powered cast, which included Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Ian McKellen and Alfred Molina.

In the last twelve months Bettany has starred in Fox Searchlight feature The Secret Life of Bees opposite Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson and Dakota Fanning, based on the best selling book, in Inkheart, a fantasy adventure for New Line Cinema/Warner Brothers based on the best-selling children’s books as Dustfinger, a fire-eating performer, opposite Brendan Fraser and Helen Mirren for director Iain Softley, and most recently in Graham King and Martin Scorsese’s The Young Victoria opposite Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend and Jim Broadbent.

His next project is the Screen Gems thriller Legion, in which he plays the lead role of Archangel Michael. Other cast members include Dennis Quaid, Kate Walsh, Kevin Durand and Lucas Black.

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Jennifer Connelly (Emma Darwin)

Academy Award winner Jennifer Connelly continues to prove her versatility as an actress with each new project she undertakes. Connelly has most recently been seen in the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still opposite Keanu Reeves, and in He’s Just Not That Into You, based on the best selling novel of the same name, alongside Jennifer Aniston, Scarlett Johansson, Drew Barrymore, and Ben Affleck. Her vocal talents will be heard in Shane Ackner’s upcoming animated film 9, along with John C. Reilly, Elijah Wood, Christopher Plummer, and Martin Landau for Focus Features.

Her other film credits include Terry George’s Reservation Road opposite Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Ruffalo, Edward Zwick’s Blood Diamond, Todd Field’s Little Children, Walter Salles’ Dark Water, Vadim Perelman’s House of Sand and Fog, Ang Lee’s The Hulk, and Ed Harris’ Pollock.

Connelly received a Golden Globe, BAFTA, AFI, Broadcast Critics and Academy Award for her role in Ron Howard’s A Beautiful Mind. Connelly was widely praised for her haunting portrayal of a drug addict in Darren Aronofsky’s critically acclaimed Requiem For a Dream. The role earned her an Independent Spirit Award Nomination.

Connelly is well known for her roles in Keith Gordon’s Waking the Dead, Pat O’Connor’s Inventing the Abbotts, Lee Tamahori’s Mulholland Falls, John Singleton’s Higher Learning, and Joe Johnston’s The Rocketeer. Connelly’s first film was Sergio Leone’s Once Upon A Time in America.

Connelly is an educational ambassador for Amnesty International.

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Jeremy Northam (Reverend Innes)

Jeremy Northam is one of Britain’s finest actors and was most recently seen in Toa Fraser’s feature film Dean Spanley with Peter O’Toole and Sam Neill.

Northam starred as Ivor Novello in Robert Altman’s critically acclaimed ensemble Gosford Park, for which the cast won a number of awards including the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by the Cast of a Theatrical Motion Picture.

His performance in David Mamet’s highly acclaimed The Winslow Boy earned him the British Performance Award at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. He was awarded the London Critics Circle award for British Actor of the Year for his performances in The Winslow Boy, Mark Illsley’s Happy Texas and for Oliver Parker’s An Ideal Husband.

Amongst his other film credits are The Invasion, Michael Winterbottom’s A Cock and Bull Story, Guy X, Stroke of Genius, The Statement, The Singing Detective, Neil LaBute’s Possession, Michael Apted’s Enigma, Merchant Ivory’s The Golden Bowl, The Misadventures of Margaret, Irwin Winkler’s The Net, Emma directed by Douglas McGrath, Steven Spielberg’s Amistad, as well as Voices from a Locked Room, Wuthering Heights, and Christopher Hampton’s Carrington.

He recently completed filming Stephen Poliakoff’s feature film 1939.

On stage, Northam was the recipient of the prestigious Olivier Award for outstanding newcomer for his performance as Edward Voysey in the National Theatre’s revival of The Voysey Inheritance. He also starred at the National in the title-role of Hamlet for Richard Eyre for which received wide recognition, and in The Shaughan and School for Scandal. For the Royal Shakespeare Company he appeared in The Country Wife, Love’s Labour’s Lost and The Gift of the Gorgon. Further stage performances include the acclaimed Certain Young Men for the Almeida Theatre and Old Times for the Donmar Warehouse, in addition to appearing on the London stage in Three Sisters and The Way of the World.

Northam has been seen on television most recently in the one-off BBC drama Fiona’s Story, and the award-winning series The Tudors. His other television roles include playing Dean Martin in the CBS biopic, Martin & Lewis, opposite Sean Hayes’ Jerry Lewis.

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Toby Jones (Thomas Huxley)

Toby Jones is a British actor based in London. He trained at the Ecole Internationale du theatre in Paris under Jacques Lecoq.

Jones has extensive experience on stage having performed a number of times at The National Theatre. He was most recently seen on stage with the international theatre company Complicite in Simon McBurney’s celebrated production of Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare. He has written several shows including Wanted Man, a domestic epic set in a garden shed, and Missing Reel, the true story of his deletion from both the film and place Notting Hill. These shows were developed at the National Theatre Studio where he has directed, acted and taught for several years.

In 2001 he starred with Hamish McColl and Sean Foley in the comedy hit The Play What I Wrote directed by Kenneth Branagh. The show was hugely successful breaking the record for advance sales for a West End play. The show went on to win the Olivier award for Best Comedy and Jones won an Olivier for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. The show ran for a year before transferring to Broadway in 2003 where it was nominated for a Tony. Jones played Arthur in the show which chronicled the shifting relationship between a double act. Every night the show featured a special guest star whom Arthur had to imitate with little success. Over 50 different celebrities eventually performed in the show including: Ralph Fiennes, Sting, Ewan McGregor, Bob Geldof, Kevin Kline, Nathan Lane, John McEnroe, Glenn Close and Holly Hunter.

On the small screen he appeared for the BBC in The Old Curiosity Shop and for HBO/Channel 4 in Elizabeth I with Helen Mirren and Jeremy Irons, which received critical acclaim in both the UK and US, and in the Channel 4 drama, A Harlots Progress.

Amongst his film credits is the recent remake of St Trinian’s, The Mist based on the Stephen King novel, Michael Apted’s Amazing Grace, The Painted Veil with Naomi Watts and Edward Norton, Doug McGrath’s Infamous in which he played Truman Capote opposite Sandra Bullock, Mrs Henderson Presents for Stephen Frears, Ladies in Lavender for Charles Dance, Marc Forster’s Finding Neverland, Ever After, Small Apartments and Nightwatching. He voiced the character of Dobby in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Most recently he has been seen in the fantasy film City of Ember, Oliver Stone’s W playing the formidable Karl Rove opposite Josh Brolin as George Bush, and in Frost/Nixon with Michael Sheen and Frank Langella.

Next up he can be seen in Ian Dury biopic Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll for director Mat Whitecross, and he is also lending his voice to Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn.

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Benedict Cumberbatch (Joseph Hooker)

Benedict Cumberbatch trained at the prestigious London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). On stage his performances include Tesman in Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler at the Almeida Theatre under the direction of Richard Eyre, for which he received Olivier and Ian Charleson award nominations. He also starred at the Almeida in Period of Adjustment for Howard Davis and Lady From The Sea for Trevor Nunn. Amongst his other theatre performances are The City for director Katie Mitchell, The Arsonists for director Rahmin Gray, and Rhinoceros directed by Dominic Cook, all staged at the Royal Court.

His feature film credits include Justin Chadwick’s The Other Boleyn Girl with Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson, Joe Wright’s multi-award winning Atonement with James McAvoy and Keira Knightley, Michael Apted’s Amazing Grace for which he received a London Critics Circle award nomination for Best British Breakthrough, and Tom Vaughan’s Starter For Ten.

His leading television credits include To The Ends of The Earth for the BBC for which he was awarded a Golden Nymph award for Best Performance by an Actor at the Monte Carlo Television Festival. He received a BAFTA nomination and a Golden Nymph award for Best Performance by an Actor at the Monte Carlo Television Festival for his title role in the BBC television drama Hawking based on the life of physicist Stephen Hawking. His other leading television roles include Stuart: A Life Backwards and The Last Enemy. Other forthcoming TV projects include the lead role in a Sherlock Holmes pilot for ITV directed by Coky Giedroc, and the BBC adaptation of Andrea Levy’s novel Small Island.

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Martha West (Annie Darwin)

Martha West discovered her love of acting when she began performing in school plays whilst attending the drama club at her school in South West London.  She turned 10 years of age during the filming of her feature film debut, playing Charles Darwin’s beloved daughter, Annie, in Jon Amiel’s CREATION.

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Jenny

A reduced crew flew to Thailand to film the scenes with Jenny the orangutan. These scenes were filmed on location in the jungle and at film studios. The orangutans featured in CREATION are legally owned and live in captivity, some being captive born and bred and others rescued. The money from their appearances in entertainment goes back in to enrichment programme for NHPs (Non Human Primates).

All the animals featured in CREATION, both exotic and domestic, were sourced and had their welfare protected by one of the most highly regarded animal and primate consultants in the world, Rona Brown.

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Jon Amiel (Director)

British director Jon Amiel graduated from Cambridge University, where he studied English literature. He ran the Oxford and Cambridge Shakespeare Company, which frequently toured the United States, and subsequently became literary manager for the Hampstead Theatre Company and began directing there before moving on to direct for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Amiel joined the BBC as a story editor before starting to direct for television. His film The Silent Twins, based on the true story of twin girls who invented their own language to cut themselves off from the rest of the world, was the BBC selection for entry at the Locarno and Montreal Festivals and is still regularly shown on television.

In 1986 he directed all six episodes of the multi award-winning drama series The Singing Detective which has come to be regarded as one of the greatest dramas ever made for television.

Amiel’s feature film debut Queen of Hearts opened at the Cannes Film Festival, and was named Best First Film at the Montreal Film Festival and won the Best British Feature Film Award at the Birmingham Festival. Tune in Tomorrow, based on the novel ‘Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter’ by Mario Vargas Llosa, and starring Barbara Hershey and Keanu Reeves, was his American film debut and won the Prix Publique at the Deauville Film Festival.

Amongst his feature film credits are The Core with Hilary Swank & Aaron Eckhart, Entrapment with Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones, The Man Who Knew Too Little with Bill Murray, Copycat with Sigourney Weaver and Holly Hunter, and Sommersby with Richard Gere and Jodie Foster.

He has also continued his career in television in the US and recently directed four successful pilots – Eyes, Reunion, Damages and Wedding Bells. Most recently he directed the season finale episodes of The Tudors.

Amiel is currently developing new series ideas for television and several feature projects, including 105 Degrees, an account of the last ten days leading to the fall of Saigon.

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John Collee (Writer - screenplay)

John Collee studied medicine, as Charles Darwin briefly did, in Edinburgh. He then took to travelling, working as a doctor in the UK, West bank of Israel, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, the Solomon Islands and the former Soviet Union where he met his wife, a foreign correspondent with ABC television.

From 1991-96, while working as a doctor, he wrote a weekly column on science and medicine for The Observer newspaper in the UK. His published novels include Kingsley’s Touch, A Paper Mask and The Rig, all published by Penguin in the UK and USA. Paper Mask, for which he also wrote the screenplay, led to a meeting with Jon Amiel, and the two have been close friends ever since.

In the past decade, as a full time screenwriter and a native of Australia he has collaborated with the Australian directors George Miller and Peter Weir on films as diverse as Happy Feet (winner of the 2006 Oscar for Best Animated film) and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (nominated for 10 Oscars including Best Picture in 2004). The character of Stephen Maturin in Master and Commander played by Paul Bettany was influenced by Charles Darwin’s own accounts of the Beagle voyage.

In recent years he has collaborated on a number of heroic, doomed projects with Steven Spielberg, Jean Jacques Annaud (twice), and Guillermo del Toro among others.

Work on Creation began at a rented beach house in Malibu and was completed in a remote farmhouse in central France where John lived for the latter part of 2007 with his wife Deborah and their three children, channelling Charles Darwin through country walks and beetle collecting.
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Randal Keynes (Writer - biography)

Randal Keynes OBE is a British conservationist and author.  He is the great great grandson of Charles Darwin and the author of the intimate exploration of his famous ancestry, Annie’s Box, subtitled Darwin. It is this book on which CREATION is based.

Keynes is a Board member of the Charles Darwin Foundation for Galapagos and has taken a leading role in the campaign to have Down House, Darwin’s former home which is open to the public and part of the English Heritage portfolio of properties, designated a World Heritage Site.

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Jeremy Thomas (Producer)

Cinema has always been a part of Jeremy Thomas’ life. He was born in London into a filmmaking family with his father, Ralph, and uncle, Gerald, both directors. His childhood ambition was to work in cinema. As soon as he left school he went to work in various positions, ending up in the cutting rooms working on films such as The Harder They Come, Family Life and The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, and worked through the ranks to become a film editor for Ken Loach on A Misfortune.

After editing Philippe Mora’s Brother Can You Spare a Dime, he produced his first film Mad Dog Morgan in 1974 in Australia. He then returned to England to produce Jerzy Skolimowski’s The Shout, which won the Grand Prix de Jury at the Cannes Film Festival.

Thomas’ films are all highly individual and his independence of spirit has paid off both artistically and commercially. His extensive output of over forty films includes three films directed by Nicolas Roeg: Bad Timing, Eureka and Insignificance, Julien Temple’s The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle, Nagisa Oshima’s Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, and The Hit, directed by Stephen Frears.

In 1986 Thomas produced Bernardo Bertolucci’s epic The Last Emperor, an independently financed project that was three years in the making. A commercial and critical triumph, the film swept the board at the 1987 Academy Awards, garnering an outstanding nine Oscars including ‘Best Picture’.

Thomas has since completed many films including Karel Reisz’s film of Arthur Miller’s screenplay Everybody Wins, Bertolucci’s film of Paul Bowles’ The Sheltering Sky, Little Buddha and Stealing Beauty, David Cronenberg’s films of William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch and J.G. Ballard’s Crash. In 1997 Thomas directed All The Little Animals, starring John Hurt and Christian Bale, which was in Official Selection at Cannes. Other recent credits include Jonathan Glazer’s Sexy Beast, Takeshi Kitano’s Brother, Khyentse Norbu’s The Cup, Phillip Noyce’s Rabbit-Proof Fence, David Mackenzie’s film of Alexander Trocchi’s Young Adam, Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Dreamers, Terry Gilliam’s Tideland, Wim Wenders’ Don’t Come Knocking, Richard Linklater’s Fast Food Nation and Gerald McMorrow’s Franklyn, starring Eva Green, Sam Riley and Ryan Phillippe.

Thomas was Chairman of the British Film Institute from August 1992 until December 1997 and has been the recipient of many awards throughout the world, including the Michael Balcon British Academy Achievement and the European Achievement in World Cinema, Prix Screen International, European Film Awards 2006. He has been President of the jury at Tokyo, San Sebastian, Berlin Film Festival and Cannes (Un Certain Regard) and has also served on the main jury at Cannes. He was made a Life Fellow of the British Film Institute in 2000 and was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2009 New Years Honours List.

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