Writer, producer, development consultant and script editor, Peter Ettedgui began his career in film in the art department and cutting rooms before working for Ken Russell as director's assistant and music editor on a diverse range of feature films, TV drama and documentaries. He also collaborated on the screenplays for these projects, researching, editing and writing additional material. He went on to write VIGO for director Julien Temple (starring James Frain and Romane Bohringer), ONEGIN for Martha Fiennes, (Ralph Fiennes and Liv Tyler), and THE DOUBLE LIFE OF FRANZ SCHUBERT for Peter Webber (with Simon Russell Beale, Jason Flemyng and Emilia Fox) as well as many other screenplays commissioned by companies in the UK, France and the US.
Since 2005, Peter has been working as a producer, developing projects in association with UK-based companies such as Harbour Pictures and The Bureau, under the aegis of financiers such as Disney, Miramax, Film4 and the UK Film Council. In 2007, KINKY BOOTS, his first film as producer (with Suzanne Mackie and Nick Barton) opened the Sundance Film Festival before going on to win audiences world-wide, released by Buena Vista/Miramax. Beyond his career as screenwriter and producer, Peter has worked as a development consultant and script editor on feature films and TV drama alike (inter alia for producer Barbara Broccoli on her non-007 slate at Eon Productions). In 2000, he also devised the format for the Screencraft book series, featuring the greatest living practitioners of the various filmmaking disciplines. He penned the first two titles in the series, Cinematography', and Production Design and Art Direction. The books have been translated and published globally, winning awards and garnering best-in-class reviews.
Among his most recent work is the script of LISTEN TO ME, MARLON – a cinematic biography of Marlon Brando which was long-listed for the 2016 Oscars – and his role as script consultant on the latest James Bond film, SPECTRE.
Peter describes his place in the industry as follows:
“Not too long ago, a confused sales agent friend turned to me and asked, “But how exactly would you describe what you do?” The short answer is a mixture of producing, writing, and consulting. The longer answer looks something like this - After studying drama at Bristol University, I began my career in film by making props for the art department (including lovingly-handcrafted cobwebs for a gothic horror), typing up callsheets as a production runner (once managing to dispatch 200 extras to the wrong location) and apprenticing in the cutting room in the dying days of the Moviola.
“I graduated to a job as personal assistant and music editor to director Ken Russell on a diverse slate of feature films, TV drama, docs and opera, and became increasingly involved in script development. Bitten by the screenplay bug, I went on to write VIGO for director Julien Temple (a love story inspired by French film-maker Jean Vigo, starring James Frain and Romane Bohringer); THE DOUBLE LIFE OF FRANZ SCHUBERT (with director Peter Webber for Channel 4, starring Simon Russell Beale and Emilia Fox); and ONEGIN for Martha Fiennes, adapted from Pushkin’s tale of doomed love, with Ralph Fiennes and Liv Tyler (nominated for best British film, BAFTA 2000). I also penned numerous other screenplays commissioned by companies in the UK, Europe and the US; these languish (possibly deservedly) in the limbo known as development hell.
“KINKY BOOTS, my first film as producer (with Suzanne Mackie and Nick Barton), was directed by Julian Jarrold and starred Chiwitel Ejiofor as a drag queen and Joel Edgerton as the owner of an ailing shoe factory. Based on a true story, it was financed by Miramax and distributed by Buena Vista International. It opened the 2006 Sundance Film Festival before its worldwide release and an unlikely second life as a Broadway musical in 2013 (with book by Harvey Fierstein and music by Cyndi Lauper). I returned to Sundance with 'Unmade Beds’ (2009), directed by Alexis Dos Santos, which I produced with Soledad Gatti-Pascual at The Bureau. The exuberant indie film alas didn’t make anyone rich - but proved something of a cult hit on the festival circuit and was distributed in the UK by Soda and sold internationally to some 20 territories by Protagonist. I’ve worked extensively as script editor/story consultant on feature films and TV drama alike, including a longstanding association with Bond producer Barbara Broccoli at Eon Productions.
“Having helped to research and develop a slate of non-007 projects (including two as screenwriter), I finally got to go to work on a Bond - as development consultant for writer John Logan and director Sam Mendes on SPECTRE. Enthralled by the world of Bondage, I also wrote EVERYTHING OR NOTHING, MGM’s feature documentary celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 007 franchise, produced by Passion Pictures and Red Box Films and directed by Stevan Riley. Equally enthralled by the medium of feature docs, I’ve completed my second as writer – LISTEN TO ME, MARLON, a cinematic biography of Marlon Brando. Again directed by Stevan and produced by Passion Pictures for Universal NBC and Showtime, the film premiered at Sundance in January 2015.
“I’ve worked on various film education and training programmes - guest-lecturing and tutoring on the producing MA at Royal Holloway and the screenwriting MA at University of Westminster and London International Film School. I have mentored on industry schemes - iFeatures, SOS, Hothouse, Network and Microwave, where I worked with participants both on the Microschool development programme and on individual projects such as Eran Creevy’s ‘Shifty'. My educational work also includes the Screencraft book series, which I devised for publishers Rotovision and Focal Press. Featuring interviews with some of the unsung heroes of the various filmmaking disciplines, I authored the first two titles in the series, 'Cinematography' and 'Production Design’. My sales agent pal might still be confused about exactly what I do, but if there is a common thread, it’s this: a continuing fascination with, and love of, the art, craft and business of storytelling. Whether I’m writing or producing (or mentoring), for me it always all comes back to the fundamentals of why a story needs to be told - and how best to make it stand up and play for an audience.”