Facts about Kenneth Lonergan
Kenneth Lonergan Biography
Kenneth Lonergan has been a familiar presence in the New York theater scene since the 1990s, but he’s more famous as the writer and director of the films You Can Count on Me and Manchester by the Sea.
Raised in Manhattan, Kenneth Lonergan studied drama and writing at Wesleyan University and New York University. He was still an undergraduate at NYU when his first play, The Rennings Children, got national notice in 1992.
To subsidize his playwriting and stage work (he was an early co-founder of the theater group the Naked Angels), Lonergan wrote the screenplay to Analyze This, a 1999 comedy starring Robert De Niro that was a big box office hit (and probably informed by Lonergan’s upbringing as the son of two New York psychiatrists).
The success of Analyze This led to the opportunity to write and direct the 2000 film You Can Count on Me, an arthouse smash that helped make Mark Ruffalo a star and earned Lonergan an Oscar nomination for his screenplay.
Then came Lonergan’s next film, Margaret, a meandering, star-studded drama filmed in 2005 and not released until 2011, a near-legendary mess of post-production snafus and lawsuits. The project slowed Lonergan’s film career for years.
He bounced back with 2016’s Manchester by the Sea; both the screenplay and the performance of lead actor Casey Affleck received rave reviews.
Lonergan’s plays include Lobby Hero, This is Our Youth and Hold on to Me Darling.