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.