Whether penning film versions of period dramas, as he did with "Finding Neverland" (2004), or of bestselling fantasy-adventure novels like "Life of Pi" (2012), David Magee consistently delivered powerful stories that stayed true to the emotions and the spirit of the material that he was adapting. Born in 1962 in Flint, MI, David Magee was a theater graduate from Michigan State University. He performed in regional theaters, built sets for off-Broadway productions, and did voiceover work and narrations. In 1999, he wrote the screenplay of the film version of Allan Knee's 1998 play "The Man Who Was Peter Pan," which was eventually released as "Finding Neverland," based on the life of Scottish playwright J.M. Barrie (Johnny Depp) and his platonic relationship with Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (Kate Winslet). For writing "Finding Neverland," Magee earned several nominations, including an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.
He went on to co-write the film version of "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day" (2008), a comedy based on the 1938 novel of the same name by Winifred Watson. In 2012, Magee found himself in the spotlight for writing the screenplay of the highly-anticipated film version of "Life of Pi." Directed by Ang Lee, the film was based on Yann Martel's 2001 bestselling novel about a 16-year-old (Suraj Sharma) who survives a shipwreck and spends 227 days adrift at sea in a small lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. Writing the screenplay for "Life of Pi" was no small feat; prior to Magee, several writers tried their hand at adapting the novel for the big screen, but their efforts were ultimately shelved. Magee reportedly did not read any of the previous drafts and instead, he focused on finding the right tone for the script, and capturing the same spirit and intention of the beloved book. His efforts paid off. "Life of Pi" was not only a commercial success, but also earned strong reviews from critics and fans, as well as an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.
By Candy Cuenco