PCS Blog

John Logan: “They Like Him, They Really Like Him!”

Posted by Kinsley Suer | 24 February 2012

As Red opens tomorrow evening, it seems fitting and slightly ironic that one of our other favorite nights of the year, the Academy Awards, would fall on the same weekend. Why, you may ask? John Logan, the playwright of Red, just so happens to be nominated for an Oscar as the screenwriter of Martin Scorsese's Hugo.
It appears that 2011 was a busy year for the multi-talented John Logan.
He had three movies released last year alone: Hugo; Coriolanus with Ralph Fiennes and Gerard Butler; and the animated film Rango, starring Johnny Depp. Hugo is up for several awards at this year’s Oscars, including Best Film, Best Director, and one for John Logan for Best Adapted Screenplay. It is his third nomination; he was previously nominated for both The Aviator (starring Leonardo DiCaprio)and Gladiator (starring Russell Crowe) – which did take home the Oscar for Best Picture in 2000
Rango is also nominated at this year’s Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature Film. In fact, it was during the recording sessions for Rango that Logan asked actor Alfred Molina, who was voicing one of the animated film’s characters, to originate the role of artist Mark Rothko in his new play Red. 
John Logan poses with the director and cast of the original Red.
In the past few years, has worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Tim Burton and Johnny Depp in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, for which he won a Golden Globe Award. In addition to his Oscar nominations, we was nominated for Golden Globe, BAFTA and Writer’s Guild Awards for both The Aviator and Gladiator. Other films include The Last Samurai (starring Tom Cruise), Any Given Sunday (with Al Pacino) and the television movie RKO 281.
Up next? Logan has written the next installment in the James Bond series, titled Skyfall, and he’s also been tapped to pen the film version of Jersey Boys, the Broadway musical about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons – which happens to be touring through Portland later this year!
But Red is far from Logan’s first experience with playwriting. In fact, he got his start in the theater, living and working as a playwright in Chicago for more than ten years before turning to screenwriting with his first film, Any Given Sunday. Today he is the author of more than a dozen other plays, including Never the Sinner, Hauptmann, and an adaptation of Ibsen’s The Master Builder, which premiered on the West End in 2003. Actor Denis O’Hare, a close friend of Logan’s from Northwestern University, originated the lead roles in both Never the Sinner and Hauptmann. Coincidentally, Denis O’Hare was one of the co-adaptors of the play An Iliad, which was produced here at PCS last season.
As for Red, the play premiered  in 2009 at the Donmar Warehouse in London and at the Golden Theatre on Broadway. John Logan received the Drama Desk, Outer Critic Circle and Drama League Awards for the show  – as well as the Tony Award for Best Play in 2010. Red also received five other Tony Awards that evening, for a grand total of six.
John Logan accepts the Tony Award for Best Play for Red.
So how does his playwriting compare to his work in film?
"I wake up in the morning a playwright who fell into screenwriting," he says. "I cherish my theatre life and wouldn't feel complete if I didn't have it."
Best of luck to John Logan at the Academy Awards this Sunday! As they say, the third time’s a charm. We know we’ll be watching. Will you?
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