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Pack Beauregard Willimon
October 26, 1977
Alexandria, Virginia, U.S.
|Residence||Brooklyn, New York|
|Education||Columbia University (BA, MFA)|
Juilliard School (GrDip)
|Occupation||Playwright, screenwriter, producer|
Pack Beauregard "Beau" Willimon (born October 26, 1977) is an American playwright and screenwriter. He helped develop the Netflix American version of the series House of Cards and served as showrunner for the first four seasons. Currently, Willimon is working on a series for Hulu about the first mission to Mars, set to premiere in 2018.
Beau Willimon was born in Alexandria, Virginia, to Nancy and Henry Pack Willimon. His father was a captain in the United States Navy and the family moved frequently. Willimon lived in Hawaii, San Francisco, California, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, before settling in St. Louis, Missouri, after Willimon's father retired to become a lawyer.
Willimon attended John Burroughs School, where he took drama classes taught by Jon Hamm and graduated in 1995. He majored in visual arts and received a BA from Columbia University in 1999. When he was an undergraduate, he met Jay Carson. In 1998, he worked as a volunteer and intern for the Senate campaign of Charles Schumer, which led to jobs with Hillary Clinton's 2000 Senate campaign, Bill Bradley's 2000 presidential campaign, and Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign. After graduating, he worked for the ministry of the interior for the Estonian government in Tallinn as part of a fellowship, during which he sorted through and wrote summaries of thousands of pages of E.U.-related documents. Shortly after, he moved to Vietnam to work for a small cultural magazine, and there did research for his first screenplay, based on the life of Tomas Vu, a visual arts professor at Columbia who grew up in Vietnam during the war.
He returned to New York to attend Columbia's School of the Arts. One of his mentors was playwright Eduardo Machado. Willimon said, "I was the worst student by far in our group. A lot of these people had known they wanted to be playwrights forever. I didn’t know a soul in the theater world, and I didn’t have the faintest idea how to truly write a play. But I quit drinking then and really committed myself to this path." During graduate school, he received a visual arts scholarship for a proposal to create 40 lithographs about paranoia, and lived in South Africa for a year. After receiving an MFA in Playwriting from the School of the Arts in 2003, he worked in odd jobs, including gallery and painter's assistant, set builder, finding jobs for the homeless, barista, and an instructor teaching SAT prep classes. He also did an internship with New Dramatists.
Willimon subsequently enrolled at the Juilliard School's Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program, receiving both the Lila Acheson Wallace Juilliard Playwriting Fellowship and the Lincoln Center Le Compte du Nuoy Award.
At Juilliard, he wrote a play, Farragut North, that was inspired by his experience as press aide for Dean's 2004 campaign for President. In fall 2008, it premiered off Broadway at the Atlantic Theater Company in a production starring John Gallagher Jr., Chris Noth, and Olivia Thirlby. The production received a Los Angeles run the following summer, with Chris Pine in the starring role. Concurrently it received a production at the Contemporary American Theater Festival at Shepherd University in July 2009. Willimon was nominated in 2009 for the John Gassner Award by the Outer Critics Circle.
Other plays include Lower Ninth, produced in 2007 by the SPF and The Flea Theater in 2008; Zusammenbruch, produced in 2008 at the American Airlines Theater and directed by Thomas Kail; Spirit Control, produced in 2010 by the Manhattan Theatre Club; The Parisian Woman, produced in 2013 by South Coast Repertory; and Breathing Time, produced in 2014 by Fault Line Theater.
Willimon's work has also been developed and performed at MCC Theater, Ars Nova, HERE Arts Center, the Phoenix Theatre, the Actors Theater of Chicago, Battersea Arts Centre in London, Cherry Lane Theatre, and the South Coast Repertory.
A film adaption of Farragut North, retitled The Ides of March, premiered in October 2011. The movie was directed by George Clooney; the script was written by Willimon, Clooney and his producing partner, Grant Heslov. It starred Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Evan Rachel Wood, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei, and Jeffrey Wright. The film was nominated in 2012 for the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, and for four Golden Globe Awards, including Best Picture – Drama and Best Screenplay.
Hulu gave a straight-to-series order to The First in May 2017 (co-produced with Channel 4). It debuted in 2018. The show portrays members of a team of astronauts as they become the first humans to visit Mars.
In 2012, Willimon developed House of Cards, the American adaption of the BBC series of the same name, for Netflix. It was produced by Media Rights Capital, David Fincher, and Kevin Spacey, and for five seasons starred Spacey as ruthless politician Frank Underwood and Robin Wright as his equally scheming wife Claire. The series also stars Kate Mara, Corey Stoll, Michael Kelly, Neve Campbell, Michel Gill, Jayne Atkinson and Sebastian Arcelus. It premiered on Netflix on February 1, 2013. Willimon served as the series' showrunner for its first four seasons, stepping down in January 2016. House of Cards is set to premiere its sixth and final season on November 2, 2018.
On November 3, 2017, Netflix fired Spacey from House of Cards and cut all ties with the actor following several allegations of sexual misconduct. Several crew members on the House of Cards set accused Spacey of sexually harassing them. When the accusations first surfaced in late October of that year, Willimon released a statement saying, "During the time I worked with Kevin Spacey on House of Cards, I neither witnessed nor was aware of any inappropriate behavior on set or off". However, three House of Cards crew members have disputed that assertion, commenting anonymously in a Buzzfeed News article that Willimon was aware of Spacey's behavior, including an incident during the show's first season in which Spacey allegedly sexually assaulted a production assistant, and took no action against the actor. A "higher-level source" for the article alleged that Willimon witnessed Spacey behaving inappropriately. Willimon denied witnessing or knowing about the alleged assault, but said, “I am heartsick that anyone on the crew had to endure this sort of behavior. Clearly we as an industry, particularly those in a position of power, myself included, need to be more perceptive and proactive. We also need to do a better job at empowering and supporting our colleagues who come forward.”
|2011||The Ides of March||Writer, co-producer|
|2013||A Master Builder||Executive producer|
|2018||Mary Queen of Scots||Writer|
|2008||Zusammenbruch||Writer||As part of The 24 Hour Plays Off Broadway|
|2013||The Parisian Woman||Writer|
|Year||Show||Season||Episode||Episode number||Original airdate||Notes|
|2013||House of Cards||1||"Chapter 1"||1||February 1, 2013|
|"Chapter 2"||2||February 1, 2013|
|"Chapter 3"||3||February 1, 2013||Written by Willimon & Keith Huff|
|"Chapter 4"||4||February 1, 2013||Written by Willimon & Rick Cleveland|
|"Chapter 7"||7||February 1, 2013||Written by Willimon & Kate Barnow|
|"Chapter 8"||8||February 1, 2013|
|"Chapter 9"||9||February 1, 2013||Written by Willimon & Rick Cleveland|
|"Chapter 11"||11||February 1, 2013||Written by Willimon, Keith Huff, & Kate Barnow|
|"Chapter 12"||12||February 1, 2013||Written by Willimon & Gina Gionfriddo|
|"Chapter 13"||13||February 1, 2013|
|2014||2||"Chapter 14"||1||February 14, 2014|
|"Chapter 15"||2||February 14, 2014|
|"Chapter 16"||3||February 14, 2014|
|"Chapter 17"||4||February 14, 2014|
|"Chapter 22"||9||February 14, 2014|
|"Chapter 23"||10||February 14, 2014||Written by Willimon & Laura Eason|
|"Chapter 24"||11||February 14, 2014||Written by Willimon & John Mankiewicz|
|"Chapter 25"||12||February 14, 2014|
|"Chapter 26"||13||February 14, 2014|
|2015||3||"Chapter 27"||1||February 27, 2015|
|"Chapter 33"||7||February 27, 2015|
|"Chapter 38"||12||February 27, 2015|
|"Chapter 39"||13||February 27, 2015|
|2016||4||"Chapter 40"||1||March 4, 2016|
|"Chapter 52"||13||March 4, 2016|
|2018||The First||1||"Separation"||1||September 14, 2018|
|"What's Needed"||2||September 14, 2018|