Simon Beaufoy

Simon Beaufoy

Born in England, Beaufoy received his education at the prestigious Sedbergh School before studying cinema at the Bournemouth Film School. His earliest efforts were in the documentary field; among his subjects were actors with learning disabilities and the mountaineer Edwin Drummond. Beaufoy began writing film scripts in the early 1990s, starting with 1991's "Cello," which won top prize in a contest sponsored by Fuji Film. He also dabbled in scripts for theater and radio - one of which, "Saddam's Arms" (1993), about a boy attempting to scale Iraq's Mount Victory, received considerable praise - while making inroads as a director and producer on independent shorts and features like "Yellow" (1996). But it was his 1997 script for "The Fully Monty" that changed his profile in the international film market forever.A breezy comedy about a group of unemployed men who find the solution to their financial woes in exotic dancing, "The Full Monty" was a crowd-pleaser with a social conscience that addressed the woes of England's working class in between laughs, as well as the concept of desirability and self-worth among men who had eclipsed their youthful years. A massive hit on both sides of the Atlantic, it was the highest-grossing English film in history and netted numerous awards and nominations, including an Oscar nomination and National Board of Review trophy for Beaufoy's script, which later served as the basis for a Tony-nominated stage musical of the same name.The success of "The Full Monty" naturally led to a clamor for more of Beaufoy's scripts, including 1998's "Among Giants," a drama about the romance between a 50ish foreman (Pete Postlewaite) and a young Australian (Rachel Griffiths) who joins his crew, and "Darkest Light" (1999), which concerned an alleged visitation by the Virgin Mary to two young English girls. The latter project also marked Beaufoy's return to directing after a three year hiatus. By 2000, he added producer to his expanding resume with the homegrown efforts like "Everyone's Happy" (2000) and "This Is Not a Love Song" (2002). After a lengthy period of writing and producing scripts for almost exclusively British film audiences, Beaufoy's work returned to the American market with "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day" (2008), a UK/US co-production with Frances McDormand as a straight-laced nanny who accidentally becomes the social secretary and friend of a bigger-than-life American actress (Amy Adams). A modest hit in stateside theaters, it was followed by "Burn Up" (BBC Two/Global Television, 2008), a made-for-television thriller that castigated international oil policies for environmental issues.Both projects, however, were largely overshadowed by "Slumdog Millionaire" (2008), Danny Boyle's winning drama about a young man (Dev Patel) from the lowest strata of India's class system who becomes a contestant on that country's edition of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" Based on the novel Q&A by Vikas Swarup, which in turn was inspired by true events, Beaufoy made several trips to India to capture the correct tone of life in the slums of Mumbai, where his hero was raised, and interviewed numerous street children before penning the script, which eventually fell into the hands of "Trainspotting" (1996) director Danny Boyle. The filmmaker was an avowed fan of "The Full Monty," and signed on to direct the film. A massive hit on the festival market, it later won over moviegoers with its mix of underdog heroism, sweeping romance and unblinking take on the Indian social system; Beaufoy's script was showered with awards and nominations, including nods from the British Independent Film Awards and statuettes from the Golden Globes, the National Board of Review and the Academy Awards.Beaufoy teamed up yet again with Boyle for another extraordinary achievement, "127 Hours" (2010), which chronicled the inspirational, but gut-wrenching ordeal suffered by mountain climber, Aron Ralston (James Franco), who became trapped by a boulder while hiking alone in a Utah canyon, leading to the fateful decision to sever his own hand in order to survive. Both harrowing and exhilarating, Beaufroy managed to write an entirely engrossing script where most of the focus was on one man stuck in one place while struggling to survive. The film drew widespread critics, who cited "127 Hours" as one of the year's best films, particularly in light of Franco's Oscar-worthy performance. Both Beaufoy and Boyle went on to earn Golden Globe and Academy Award nods for Best Screenplay.