Animal Kingdom Production Bios
John Wells is one of the most prolific writers, directors and producers in television, film and for the stage. Over the past three decades, Wells has been a creative force behind some of primetime's biggest hit series, including ER, The West Wing, and Third Watch. He currently serves as executive producer on the TNT drama series Animal Kingdom, starring Ellen Barkin, which is in production on its third season, on Showtime's Emmy®- nominated Shameless, which concluded its eighth season in January, and on the new Paramount Network comedic drama American Woman, starring Alicia Silverstone, that will premiere in June 2018. He previously served as Executive Producer on the critically acclaimed Southland for TNT, the Emmy® and Golden Globe® winning Mildred Pierce for HBO, and the Emmy® and Golden-Globe® winning China Beach.
Shows produced by John Wells have received over 300 Emmy nominations with 65 Emmy wins, and 6 Peabody Awards. During its fifteen-year run, ER earned 124 Emmy nominations, the most in television history. A seven-time Writers Guild Award nominee, in 2007, Wells received the WGA's prestigious Paddy Chayefsky Television Laurel Award, given to writers who have advanced the literature of television and made outstanding contributions to the profession of television writers. In 2005, Wells was awarded the David Susskind Achievement Award in Television from the Producers Guild of America.
Wells also served as President of the Writers Guild of America, West from 2009-2011 and previously served as its President from 1999-2001 and was vital to the success of the 2001 MBA contract negotiations.
Most recently, Wells executive produced the 2016 Drama Goat featuring Ben Schnetzer, Nick Jonas, and Gus Halper. He is next set to direct and produce the Vietnam-drama Khe Sanh, which will tell the story of the last great unsung battle of the 20th century, the Siege of Khe Sanh. Previously, he directed Burnt featuring Bradley Cooper, and helmed the acclaimed August: Osage County, based on Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name. The film features an all-star ensemble cast led by Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts and was nominated for two Academy Awards®. Wells also wrote and directed The Company Men, starring Ben Affleck, Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones and Chris Cooper, which was his feature directorial debut. Previous feature production credits include: Carroll Ballard's acclaimed drama Duma; Peter Kominsky's White Oleander; Neil Jordan's The Good Thief; Andrzej Bartkowiak's Doom; and Michael Mayer's A Home at the End of the World. Additionally, Wells executive produced Todd Haynes' Far From Heaven and I'm Not There, Mark Romanek's One Hour Photo, Todd Graff's Camp, Fenton Bailey's Party Monster, Robert Altman's The Company, John Waters' A Dirty Shame, Mary Harron's The Notorious Bettie Page, Phyllis Nagy's Mrs. Harris, Tom Kalin's Savage Grace, Douglas McGrath's Infamous and Jordan Scott's Cracks.
Born in Alexandria, Virginia, and raised in Denver, Colorado, Wells graduated from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with a bachelor of fine arts and later earned a master’s degree in film and television at the University of Southern California, where he also serves on the school's Television Executive Advisory Council.
Liz Watts is an independent producer and founding partner of Porchlight Films based in Sydney, Australia. Her most recent work includes producing the feature film Mary Magdalene, currently in production with SeeSaw UK, directed by Garth Davis (Lion) and starring Rooney Mara, Joaquin Phoenix, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Tahar Rahim. Liz is also producing a 6-part comedy series for ABC Television, Kiki and Kitty, currently in production starring and created by Nakkiah Lui.
Watts is executive producer on The Kettering Incident (2015), an eight-part TV series for Foxtel and BBC Worldwide starring Elizabeth Debicki, and the soon to be released feature film Jasper Jones, directed by Rachel Perkins and adapted by Shaun Grant from the Craig Silvey novel starring Toni Colette.
Watts' feature credits as producer include the feature film Animal Kingdom (directed by David Michôd and nominated for an Academy Award® and Golden Globe in 2011); The Home Song Stories; Little Fish; the Cannes and Sundance selected Jewboy; and Walking On Water.
Watts also produced German Australian co-production Lore, directed by Cate Shortland, and Dead Europe, directed by Tony Krawitz and starring Emile Sherman & Iain Canning, both of which premiered at Festival Special Presentation Toronto International Film in 2012.
Watts' feature The Rover, reteaming with writer/director David Michôd, premiered as an Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014. The film, starring Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson, sold in more than 35 territories worldwide.
In addition to the U.S. television adaptation of Animal Kingdom for TNT, Watts also executive produced The Hunter, starring Willem Defoe; Lou, starring John Hurt; and Prime Mover.
Watts's other credits include two seasons of Laid, starring Marieke Hardy and Kirsty Fisher; Martha's New Coat, starring Rachel Ward; Delivery Day, starring Jane Manning; and the documentaries Buried Country; The Pitch and Island Style.
Watts's industry work includes serving on the board for the Sydney Film Festival for five years (2005 - 2009) and as vice president of the board of MetroScreen for six years (2005-2011). She is currently on the board of the SAFC (South Australian Film Corporation). Watts was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2011 to explore and focus on innovative new methods of distribution and exhibition, as well as its effects on production and content creation as relevant to the Australian industry and its future. She has served with various industry awards and juries, including the Berlin Film Festival 2016 Generation Jury and the Sydney Film Festival 2015 International Competition Jury.
David Michôd is an Australian film director and screenwriter best known for directing the critically acclaimed 2010 film Animal Kingdom and the 2014 film The Rover. He is currently working on War Machine, starring Brad Pitt, for Netflix.
The Rover, which Michôd wrote and directed, stars Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson. It premiered out of competition in the Midnight Screenings section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. A24 released in the US.
In January 2010, Michôd's debut feature film Animal Kingdom was awarded the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and acquired by Sony Pictures Classics. The film won 10 Australian Film Institute awards from a record 18 nominations and was named Best First Film by the New York Film Critics Circle. It has also earned Oscar® and Golden Globe® nominations for supporting actress Jacki Weaver, as well as winning Best Supporting Actress awards from the Los Angeles and San Francisco film critics associations and the National Board of Review.
Michôd was also co-writer (with director Spencer Susser) of the feature film Hesher, starring Joseph Gordon Levitt and Natalie Portman, which screened in Sundance 2010's U.S. competition.
The documentary Solo, which Michôd co-directed with Jen Peedom, chronicles Andrew McAuley's ill-fated attempt to kayak from Australia to New Zealand. It received best documentary awards from the Australian Film Institute in 2009 and the Film Critics Circle of Australia and Australian Directors Guild in 2010.
He is a graduate of the University of Melbourne and Victorian College of the Arts School of Film & Television. He was the editor of Australia's Inside Film magazine between 2003 and 2006.