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Marc Norman

Marc Norman

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Hollywood, California, USA Profession: screenwriter, producer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

While Marc Norman received some attention for his contributions to the script for the hit romantic comedy "Shakespeare in Love" (1998), he was overshadowed by fellow writer Tom Stoppard. Many might have thought Norman was a neophyte but, in fact, he has been a successful writer and producer for three decades. He began his career during the heyday of the "Movie of the Week", a concept introduced by ABC during the late 1960s which peaked in the early 70s. Twice a week for 90 minutes, the network aired original dramas, comedies and thrillers. Norman penned "The Challenge" (1970), an off-beat allegory about a war between the USA and an Asian country that requires only one representative from each to engage in a battle. He also wrote the suspenseful thriller "Five Desperate Women" (1971) about a group of pals on holiday who find themselves stalked by an escapee from a mental institution. Segueing to the big screen, Norman wrote "Oklahoma Crude" (1973), a well-acted, old-fashioned entertainment featuring Faye Dunaway as a strong-willed owner of an oil well coveted by a tycoon (Jack Palance). The screenwriter even turned his own script into a novel published the same year. He then crafted "Zandy's Bride"...

While Marc Norman received some attention for his contributions to the script for the hit romantic comedy "Shakespeare in Love" (1998), he was overshadowed by fellow writer Tom Stoppard. Many might have thought Norman was a neophyte but, in fact, he has been a successful writer and producer for three decades. He began his career during the heyday of the "Movie of the Week", a concept introduced by ABC during the late 1960s which peaked in the early 70s. Twice a week for 90 minutes, the network aired original dramas, comedies and thrillers. Norman penned "The Challenge" (1970), an off-beat allegory about a war between the USA and an Asian country that requires only one representative from each to engage in a battle. He also wrote the suspenseful thriller "Five Desperate Women" (1971) about a group of pals on holiday who find themselves stalked by an escapee from a mental institution.

Segueing to the big screen, Norman wrote "Oklahoma Crude" (1973), a well-acted, old-fashioned entertainment featuring Faye Dunaway as a strong-willed owner of an oil well coveted by a tycoon (Jack Palance). The screenwriter even turned his own script into a novel published the same year. He then crafted "Zandy's Bride" (1974), an uneven Western romance centered on a Swedish mail-order bride (Liv Ullmann) and a pioneer (Gene Hackman). After he contributed to two violent actioners, the Charles Bronson vehicle "Breakout" and the James Caan thriller "The Killer Elite" (both 1975), Norman spent the next decade penning scripts that never saw the light of day. In 1985, his screenplay adaptation of Ernest K Gann's novel "The Aviator" attracted a dismal box-office and several negative reviews. Norman then returned to TV as creator and supervising producer of the short-lived police drama "Downtown" (CBS, 1986-87).

In 1989, his college student son Zachary suggested an idea for a script about William Shakespeare and the Elizabethan theater. While intrigued, Norman mulled the idea for some time before he actually wrote a draft of the script. He told his neighbor, producer-director Edward Zwick about the idea and Zwick helped him pitch the idea to Universal who purchased it. After Norman completed his version of "Shakespeare in Love", the studio hired Tom Stoppard to "polish" the piece and then set out to attract top-flight talent. In 1992, it was announced that Zwick would direct with Daniel Day-Lewis and Julia Roberts set to star, but delays and scheduling conflicts eventually caused the project put on hold. While other studios eventually began to bid for it, Zwick showed the script to Harvey Weinstein, who responded favorably. Miramax then set about to acquire the property. Zwick again faced scheduling conflicts and had to relinquish the directorial reins to John Madden while Universal decided to co-produced the venture with Miramax. Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow inherited the role of Shakespeare and his muse and the resulting romp received critical kudos, with Norman and Stoppard's script singled out as one of the year's best.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

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Milestones close milestones

1970:
Wrote the ABC TV-movie "The Challenge"
1971:
Scripted the ABC "Movie of the Week" thriller "Five Desperate Women"
1973:
First produced screenplay, "Oklahoma Crude"
1974:
Penned the Western "Zandy's Bride", co-starring Liv Ullmann and Gene Hackman
1975:
Last produced screenplays for 10 years, ccontributed to both "The Killer Elite" and "Breakout"
1985:
Returned to features adapting Ernest K Gann's novel "The Aviator"
1986:
Created, wrote episodes and served as supervising producer for the short-lived CBS police drama "Downtown"
1989:
College student son Zacharay suggested idea for a film about William Shakespeare
1991:
Pitched idea for script about Shakespeare suffering from writer's block to neighbor Edward Zwick; with Zwick pitched idea to Universal Pictures
:
Tom Stoppard hired to "polish" script
1992:
Zwick announced plans to film script with Daniel Day-Lewis and Julia Roberts in leading roles; project aborted over scheduling conflicts with stars
1995:
Contributed to the screenplay of "Cutthroat Island"
1998:
Script for "Shakespeare in Love" finally filmed with Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow in lead roles; earned critical acclaim
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Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Dale Norman.

Family close complete family listing

son:
Zachary Norman. Gave father idea for script for "Shakespeare in Love".
son:
Alex Norman.

Bibliography close complete biography

"Oklahoma Crude"
"Fool's Errand"

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