Reviews and Reports

‘Inaccurate but Truthful’: Q&A with Screenwriter Peter Morgan


  • Julia Lajta-Novak University of Salzburg; University of Vienna
  • Werner Huber University of Vienna



Peter Morgan, biopic, filmic biography, celebrity, Rush, The Deal, The Queen, Frost/Nixon


In the spring of 2014, the University of Vienna in cooperation with the Ludwig Boltzmann institute for the history and Theory of Biography in Vienna organised an interdisciplinary lecture series “The Many faces of Biography”. This lecture series brought together scholars and practitioners of various historical and recent biographical forms, focusing on the specificities and challenges posed by different biographical media. One of them was Peter Morgan, a major name in contemporary biographical film-making (and playwriting), noted for his characteristic dual-structure approach to writing lives for the screen. During one of the sessions of the lecture series he was interviewed by Julia Novak and Werner Huber about some of his most famous work, such as The Deal (2003), The Queen (2006), Frost/Nixon (2008), The Other Boleyn Girl (2008), and Rush (2013). In this Q&A he shed light on the principles guiding the screenwriter-biographer’s work, his conflicting responsibilities towards biographee and audience, and the biopic’s potential to impact on the fame and after-fame of historical and contemporary celebrities.

This article was submitted to the European Journal of Life Writing on 28 Februay 2015 and published on 6 July 2015. A second version of this article was uploaded, with one minor alteration, on 12 August 2015.

Author Biographies

Julia Lajta-Novak, University of Salzburg; University of Vienna

Julia Novak is a Hertha Firnberg Research Fellow (Austrian Science Fund) at the Department of English, University of Salzburg, working on a post-doc project on fictional biographies about historical women artists. She has written a book on reading groups, Gemeinsam Lesen (Lit-Verlag 2007) and a book entitled Live Poetry: An Integrated Approach to Poetry in Performance (Rodopi 2011). Her (co-) edited books include Staging Interculturality (WVT, 2010), and Ireland in/and Europe (WVT, 2012).


Werner Huber, University of Vienna

Werner Huber is Professor of English and Irish Studies at the University of Vienna, Austria. He has recently co-edited (with Seán Crosson) Contemporary Irish Film (Vienna: Braumueller, 2011) and (with Ruben Borg and Paul Fagan) Flann O’Brien: Contesting Legacies (Cork: Cork UP, 2014). He is a director of EFA CIS (The European Association of Centres and Associations of Irish Studies) and general editor of its Irish Studies in Europe series.





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