Matthew Michael Carnahan was recently cited by the industry trade publication Variety as one of Hollywood's “Top Ten Screenwriters to Watch.” The Kingdom marked his first produced script.
Carnahan was born in Port Huron, Michigan. He spent his youth in the neighboring village of Shepherd before relocating to Northern California with his family (which includes older brother Joe, the writer/director of Narc and the black comedy Smokin' Aces).
The younger Carnahan graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in international relations and political science, with the intent of going into the foreign service. A detour led him to a post as a spokesman for a D.C.-based think tank known as the Advisory Board.
Following the events of 9/11, and at the urging of his brother, Carnahan turned to screenwriting. He penned a contemporary police thriller entitled Soldier Field (set in his adopted town of Chicago, where he currently resides) for Ted Field's Radar Pictures. That original screenplay caught the eye of filmmaker Peter Berg, who commissioned him to write The Kingdom, based on Berg's idea.
In addition to these two scripts, Carnahan has also written TV (about the first live sports broadcast on television) for MGM; White Jazz, an adaptation of James Ellroy's follow-up novel to L.A. Confidential (which is to be directed by his brother for Warner Independent Pictures); and State of Play, the big-screen adaptation of the politically charged BBC series, with Carnahan's story transferred to Washington, D.C.