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John Collee

John Gerald Collee (born 1955) is a Scottish screenwriter who has written scripts for Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Happy Feet, and Creation. Collee practised medicine and wrote several novels before he became a full-time screenwriter. He is married to Deborah Snow, with whom he has three children.


Collee was born in 1955 to Isobel and Gerald, the latter who was a professor of bacteriology at the University of Edinburgh.[1] Collee grew up in Edinburgh, Scotland and in India.[2] He studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh and began practising medicine in Cambridge, Bath, and Bristol.[3] In his third year of practice, he wrote the medical thriller Kingsley's Touch, which was published in 1984. Collee subsequently worked in the emergency department and became involved with medicine in countries like Gabon, Madagascar, and Sri Lanka.[2] He then wrote a second novel titled A Paper Mask, which was published in 1987. Rights to the novel were acquired for a film adaptation, and Collee wrote the screenplay for director Christopher Morahan, who released the film Paper Mask in 1990. With income from screenwriting, Collee wrote his third novel The Rig, which was published in 1991. Around the same time The Rig was published, Collee became a weekly columnist for The Observer and wrote about travel and medicine. He kept the job for six years.[2]

Collee met his wife Deborah Snow on the way to Azerbaijan; he was escorting a shipment of medical aid when he met Snow, who was a TV correspondent in Moscow, Russia for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. When he began writing a book about Soviet medicine called The Kingdom of the Blind, he visited Moscow and Snow. The book was unpublished, but when Collee went to Solomon Islands for a year to work as a doctor, Snow went with him, and they had their first child, Lauren, on the islands.[2] Afterward, they had two more children, and Collee decided to become a full-time screenwriter. He worked in London for a short time before moving to Sydney, Australia in 1996 to meet Australian directors like Peter Weir and George Miller. For Weir, Collee wrote the screenplay for Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, and for Miller, he wrote Happy Feet.[3]

Screenwriting credits



External links

  • Internet Movie Database
  • BBC

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