Christopher Hampton became involved in theatre while studying French and German at Oxford University, and wrote a play in his first year.
The Royal Court’s subsequent production was so successful that it transferred to the Comedy Theatre while he was still a student, making him the youngest writer ever to have a play performed in the West End—a record which still stands. He said at the time that he also hoped to become the oldest writer to have a play in the West End, an ambition he has yet to achieve.
His plays, musicals and translations have so far garnered four Tony Awards, three Olivier Awards, five Evening Standard Awards and the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award; prizes for his film and television work include an Oscar, two BAFTAs, a Writers’ Guild of America Award, the Prix Italia, a Special Jury Award at the Cannes Film Festival, Hollywood Screenwriter of the Year, and The Collateral Award at the Venice Film Festival for Best Literary Adaptation
His works for the stage include original plays (Appomattox, The Talking Cure, White Chameleon, Tales from Hollywood, Treats, Savages, The Philanthropist, Total Eclipse and When Did You Last See My Mother?); plays adapted from novels (Ödön von Horváth’s Youth Without God, Sándor Márai’s Embers, Alice’s Adventures Under Ground and Laclos’ Les Liaisons Dangereuses); musicals (Sunset Boulevard, Dracula: The Musical and, most recently, Stephen Ward, all with Don Black); libretti (Waiting for the Barbarians, Appomattox and The Trial, all with composer Philip Glass); and many translations (Chekhov, Ibsen, Molière, Horváth, Yasmina Reza and Florian Zeller).
Hampton’s screenplays include Ali and Nino, Perfect Mothers (called Adore in the U.S., based on Doris Lessing’s The Grandmothers), A Dangerous Method (based on his play The Talking Cure), Chéri (from the novel by Colette), Atonement (from the novel by Ian McEwan), Imagining Argentina (which he also directed), The Quiet American (from the Graham Greene novel), The Secret Agent (from Joseph Conrad’s novel, and which he also directed), Mary Reilly (from Valerie Martin’s novel inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde), Total Eclipse (from his play of the same name, and in which he also performed), Carrington (the first film he also directed), Dangerous Liaisons (based on his play Les Liaisons Dangereuses), The Good Father (from the novel by Peter Prince), The Honorary Consul (from Graham Greene’s novel), Tales from the Vienna Woods (from the Horváth play) and A Doll’s House (based on his translation of the play by Ibsen).