Christopher Hampton was born in the Azores in 1946 and as a child lived in Aden and Alexandria. His first play, When Did You Last See My Mother?, was produced by the Royal Court after he submitted it to the Oxford University Dramatic Society Student Festival while an undergraduate at New College. Written when he was 18, it made him the youngest playwright in the modern era to have a production in the West End.
Since then Hampton has pursued a prolific career as playwright, translator, screenwriter and director. Translations for stage include Hedda Gabler; A Doll’s House; Uncle Vanya; Three Sisters; Tartuffe and the long-running Art by Yasmina Reza. Original plays include Total Eclipse: a dramatisation of the relationship between the French poets Rimbaud and Verlaine; The Philanthropist; Savages; Tales from Hollywood and The Talking Cure, which starred Ralph Fiennes in the 2002 production. A number of his works have enjoyed life in both stage and screen versions: Total Eclipse was filmed in 1995, starring Leonardo di Caprio and David Thewlis; A Doll’s House (1973) starred Claire Bloom and Anthony Hopkins; and both Tartuffe and Tales from Hollywood were screened by the BBC. Perhaps most famously, he adapted Laclos’ novel Les Liaison Dangereuses, initially for stage and then film, as Dangerous Liaisons. He received an Academy Award, BAFTA, Writer’s Guild Award and Critic’s Circle Award for the screenplay.
Novels Hampton has adapted for film include The Honorary Consul (1984) and The Quiet American (2002) by Graham Greene; and Atonement by Ian McEwan, due for release in 2007. He directed his own screen adaptations of The Secret Agent (1996) by Joseph Conrad and Carrington (1995), a biography of Lytton Strachey by Michael Holroyd. Screenplays currently in development include adapations of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, by Susannah Clarke and Somerset Maugham’s The Moon and Sixpence.