Birthdate: June 28, 1979
Birthplace: Paris, France
Florian Zeller is a Director, Screenwriter, Playwright, Novelist, and a Producer
Florian Zeller is one of Europe’s most acclaimed contemporary playwrights who has made a striking transition to filmmaking. Zeller’s move is especially interesting since he has adapted and filmed his own plays, starting with The Father (2020), and continuing with The Son (2022). Even more notably, Zeller won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Father (nominated for six Oscars), which is actually his fourth produced screenplay, the second case of him adapting one of his plays for the big screen, the third filmed version of his play, and the fifth film version of one of his plays.
Florian Zeller’s career as a playwright is unusually robust for a film director-writer, starting in 2004 with his French-language play, L’Autre. His next three plays (Le Manège, Si tu mourais, Elle t’attend) built Zeller’s reputation as a dramatist of acute observation, to his significant 2010 play, The Mother, the first a trilogy of plays about a family, premiering in 2015 in London and 2019 in New York, followed by La vérité (2011, premiering in English in London in 2017), which Zeller adapted as a French TV movie directed by Vitold Krysinsky and starring Pierre Arditi. Zeller’s breakthrough hit play, Le Père, premiered in Paris in 2012, winning the Moliere Award for best play and becoming one of the decade’s most acclaimed works for the theater. Playwright Christopher Hampton translated the play as The Father, premiering in the U.K. in 2014 and then London’s West End in 2015, followed by a New York premiere in 2016 starring Frank Langella and a 2020 Los Angeles premiere starring Alfred Molina. Simultaneous to the U.K. premiere was the French TV film version adapted by Zeller and directed by Christophe Charrier; simultaneous to the London premiere was writer-director Phillippe Le Guay’s film version, titled Floride (2015), starring Jean Rochefort and Sandrine Kiberlain, and premiering at the Locarno Film Festival. Zeller’s 2013 play, Une heure de tranquillité (2014), was more quickly adapted to the big screen under the same title (with the English title, Do Not Disturb), with Zeller co-writing with writer-director Patrice Leconte. Zeller’s next play, Le Mensonge (The Lie), premiered in 2014 and appeared in English (in London) in 2017. Zeller’s 2016 play, L'Envers du décor, was then adapted to the screen as Amoureux de ma femme (The Other Woman) in 2018, directed and starring Daniel Auteuil, with Sandrine Kiberlain, Gerard Depardieu, and Adriana Ugarte.
Florian Zeller’s play, Avant de s’envoler (in English as The Height of the Storm, translated by Christopher Hampton), premiered in Paris in 2016, and then in the UK in 2018, transferring soon after to London’s West End, starring Jonathan Pryce and Eileen Atkins, who re-created their roles in the New York premiere in 2019. Zeller completed his family trilogy in 2018 with Le Fils (translated as The Son by Hampton), and was received as the sensation of the Paris theatrical season, originally starring Yves Attal, and premiering at London’s Kiln Theatre under Michael Longhurst’s direction. Zeller’s first play to world premiere in English (translated again by Hampton) was the twist-filled The Forest (2022) and directed by usual British director, Jonathan Kent.
Florian Zeller’s debut as a screenwriter was Château en Suède (2008), co-written with Christopher Thompson and directed by Josée Dayan, co-starring Jeanne Moreau and Guillaume Depardieu. But it was The Father, starring Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman, and co-written by Hampton, that launched Zeller’s international career as a filmmaker. It premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, and was then released worldwide in 2021, winning Oscars for Zeller and Hampton (screenplay) and Hopkins (actor), along with Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress (Colman). Zeller’s follow-up film version of his second play in his family trilogy, The Son (2022), was also co-written by his regular English translator Hampton, and starred Hugh Jackman, Laura Dern and Vanessa Kirby, with Hopkins returning in his role in The Father. The film premiered in competition at the Venice Film Festival, and was released in the U.S. by Sony Pictures Classics.
Florian Zeller was born and raised in Paris. He has been married to actor-sculptor Marine Delterme since 2010; the couple has one son named Roman.
Novelist: Prior to his remarkable run of hit plays—making him the most successful French playwright of his generation—Florian Zeller wrote five novels, with his third novel, The Fascination of Evil, winning the coveted Prix Goncourt.
Worldwide Playwright: Zeller’s plays have been staged in over 45 countries.