July 26, 1961
London, England, United Kingdom
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Producer David Heyman was raised in the world of the arts. His love of theater led him to the world of movie production, first for major Hollywood studios and later striking out on his own. His love of books and literature led him to emerging British author J. K. Rowling, who had authored a children's fantasy novel that would achieve worldwide fame. In 1997, his production company obtained the movie rights to Rowling's Harry Potter books, leading to eight hugely successful feature films, earning billions at the global box office. In 2013, he reteamed with director Alfonso Cuarón on the science-fiction thriller "Gravity," which was released to commercial and critical acclaim, including seven Academy Awards. Heyman was born in London in 1961 to John Heyman, producer of such films as "The Go-Between" (1970) and "Jesus" (1979), and Norma Heyman, actress and Oscar-nominated producer of "Dangerous Liaisons" (1988) and "Mrs. Henderson Presents" (2005). He attended school at Westminster School, London, and earned an Art History degree from Harvard, then traveled the world. Entering Hollywood in 1984, Heyman paid his dues and rose up the industry ladder: creative director at Warner Brothers; vice president at United Artists. In 1992, he moved to independent production with the acclaimed urban drama "Juice" (1992). Five years later, he returned to London and founded a new production company, Heyman Films. As an independent producer, Heyman discovered an unknown writer named J. K. Rowling. He fell in love with her children's fantasy novel Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and quickly obtained the rights to adapt Rowling's books to the big screen. With a $2 million investment, Heyman's carefully crafted Harry Potter movies earned over $7 billion in box office revenue. Alfonso Cuarón, who directed the third Potter feature, "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" (2004), invited Heyman to produce his science-fiction film "Gravity" (2013). Mixing pioneering special effect technologies and powerful performances from stars Sandra Bullock, George Clooney and Ed Harris, "Gravity" became a blockbuster smash, earning over $700 million at the box office, and was also critically hailed as a masterwork. The film went on to win 6 BAFTA awards, a Golden Globe, and seven Academy Awards. Heyman next produced a TV adaptation of the gothic novel "The Thirteenth Tale" (BBC Two, 2013), followed by a CGI-based screen version of Michael Bond's beloved children's book series "Paddington" (2014) and an adaptation of World War I memoir "Testament of Youth" (2014) starring Alicia Vikander. Vikander also co-starred in period drama "The Light Between Oceans" (2016). The same year, Heyman reunited with Rowling for the prequel film "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" (2016).