Kelly Marcel

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Kelly Marcel
Born (1974-01-10) 10 January 1974 (age 46)
London, England, United Kingdom
OccupationScreenwriter, television producer, television writer, actress
Years active1989-present
Notable work

Kelly Marcel (born 10 January 1974) is a British writer, actress and television producer. She co-wrote the film Saving Mr. Banks (2013) and wrote the film Fifty Shades of Grey (2015), and created and served as executive producer of the television series Terra Nova.


Marcel is the daughter of director Terry Marcel and actress Lindsey Brookand, and the older sister of actress Rosie Marcel.[1]


Marcel has played minor roles in television series such as The Bill, Holby City, and Casualty.[2] She had a largely non-speaking role as Young Vera in the 1994 television film adaptation of A Dark-Adapted Eye.

Marcel eventually quit acting to pursue writing, while working part-time in Prime Time Video, a video rental shop in Battersea, London. Around the corner from the video shop was the Latchmere pub, where Tom Hardy hosted an acting workshop. Marcel and Hardy became friends, and he subsequently brought Marcel in to do uncredited rewrites on his 2008 film Bronson, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, after it ran into trouble. One of Hardy's tattoos says 'Skribe' in tribute to Marcel.[3]

While working at the video shop, she wrote a script for a TV show called Gondwanaland Highway. She wrote it for her dad, who had been telling her about the supercontinent Gondwanaland and reading a Stephen Hawking book on time travel. Marcel, who had just seen Al Gore's 2006 global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth, combined these three influences into the script. Gondwanaland Highway was almost picked up by Carnival Films, the UK production company behind Downton Abbey, when producer Aaron Kaplan persuaded Marcel to bring the show to America instead.[4]

She sold a script about death row, titled Westbridge, to Showtime. She worked on the script with director Tommy Schlamme. Though the script went unmade, it became a calling card for Marcel in Hollywood.[4]

After her two-week trip to Los Angeles and her decision not to continue working on Terra Nova, Marcel return to the London video shop. She was approached by Ruby Films' Alison Owen to work on a project about Mary Poppins author P. L. Travers and her relationship with Walt Disney for BBC Films, based on an earlier draft by Sue Smith.[5] The script, Saving Mr. Banks, landed on the 2011 Black List, and was acquired by Disney.[6]

The film was released in 2013, directed by John Lee Hancock, and starring Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as P. L. Travers. Marcel and Smith shared writing credit.[7] Marcel was nominated for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer at the 67th Annual BAFTA Awards.[8]

Marcel was hired in 2012 to adapt E. L. James' bestselling erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey, with Sam Taylor-Johnson directing, after Universal Pictures and Focus Features won the rights to the Fifty Shades trilogy for $5 million in a bidding war.[9] Though the film was financially successful, grossing $571.1 million worldwide on a $40 million budget and spawning two sequels, both Marcel and Johnson has expressed unhappiness with the finished film, with Marcel describing it as too painful to watch.[10] Of particular issue was James' insistence that the film preserve her original dialogue in its entirety, and threatening to boycott the film if the dialogue was rewritten.[11]

She was one of the writers on Sony's Venom adaptation, alongside Scott Rosenberg and Jeff Pinkner. Directed by Ruben Fleischer, the film stars Marcel's friend and frequent collaborator Tom Hardy in the title role.[12] In January 2019, Variety reported that she would return to write the script for the sequel.[13]


Writing credits[edit]

Year Title Credit Notes
2008 Bronson Script editor
2009 The Heavy
2011 Terra Nova Creator, writer, executive producer Co-created with Craig Silverstein
Writer: "Genesis: Part 1"
2013 Saving Mr. Banks Writer Co-wrote with Sue Smith
2015 Fifty Shades of Grey Based on the novel by E. L. James
2018 Venom Writer, executive producer Co-wrote with Jeff Pinkner & Scott Rosenberg
2021 Venom: Let There Be Carnage Post-production
Cruella Writer Co-wrote with Aline Brosh McKenna, Jez Butterworth, Dana Fox, Tony McNamara & Steve Zissis

Acting credits[edit]

Year Title Credit Notes
1989-2005 The Bill Various roles 5 episodes
1989 Great Balls of Fire! Teenage Girl #2
1992 Casualty Vicky Morris Episode: "Rates of Exchange"
1993 Woof! Miranda Episode: "Miranda"
1994 A Dark-Adapted Eye Young Vera TV mini-series
Love Hurts Louise Episode: "Blue Heaven"
Wild Justice Melissa Stride TV movie
1997 Dangerfield Elaine Foster Episode: "Adam"
2003 Holby City Rachel Hughes Episode: "Endgame"


  1. ^ Internet Movie Database
  2. ^ Collins, Scott (11 September 2011). "Fall TV: 'Terra Nova'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
  3. ^ Leigh, Danny (21 November 2013). "Kelly Marcel: 'Someone from Disney's going to come and kill me'". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Kelly's heroics: How the British writer behind TV's most expensive drama cracked LA". The Independent. 28 September 2011.
  5. ^ "Director John Lee Hancock on 'Saving Mr. Banks': We Went for the Truth, Not the Facts". TheWrap. 17 December 2013. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  6. ^ Jr, Mike Fleming (8 February 2012). "Disney Acquiring Black List Script 'Saving Mr. Banks,' On Making 'Mary Poppins'". Deadline. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  7. ^ Smith, Julia Llewellyn (23 December 2016). "Saving Mr Banks: the true story of Walt Disney's battle to make Mary Poppins". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Bafta Film Awards 2014: Winners". BBC News. 16 February 2014. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  9. ^ "'Fifty Shades of Grey' Movie Hires Writer". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  10. ^ Child, Ben (10 June 2015). "Fifty Shades of Grey screenwriter says film is 'too painful' to watch". the Guardian. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  11. ^ Child, Ben (6 February 2015). "Fifty Shades of grating teeth: EL James 'threatened boycott' of film if dialogue rewritten". the Guardian. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  12. ^ Kroll, Justin (3 October 2017). "Jenny Slate Joins Tom Hardy in 'Venom' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  13. ^ Kroll, Justin (8 January 2019). "'Venom' Sequel in Works With Kelly Marcel Returning to Pen Script (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 26 January 2018.

External links[edit]