Comments (0)

Richard LaGravenese

Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The (2005)
In Search of Ted Demme (2004) (announced) Monster-in-Law (2005) (post-production)
Beloved (1998) (screenplay)
Living Out Loud (1998)
Horse Whisperer, The (1998)
Mirror Has Two Faces, The (1996)
Unstrung Heroes (1995)
Bridges of Madison County, The (1995)
Little Princess, A (1995)
Ref, The (1994)
Fisher King, The (1991)
Rude Awakening (1989)

Richard LaGravenese has enjoyed an exemplary fast track screenwriting career in Hollywood. His second produced screenplay, "The Fisher King" (1991), garnered an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay and afforded director Terry Gilliam a solid critical and commercial success. LaGravenese served as producer on "The Ref" (1994), the third film to spring from his script, while his next three efforts, "A Little Princess", "Unstrung Heroes" and "The Bridges of Madison County" (all 1995), won him widespread critical acclaim.

Before finding his true vocation, LaGravenese studied acting and experimental theater at New York University. He went on to try his hand on the nightclub circuit as half of a short-lived comedy team. In addition to holding down such jobs as bartender and street vendor, the struggling actor helped make ends meet by writing monologues for other thespians. He segued to films as a co-writer on the mild social comedy "Rude Awakening" (1989).

LaGravenese received extraordinary notices for his adaptation of Robert James Waller's amazingly popular novel, "The Bridges of Madison County". Most reviewers derided the merits of the source material while marveling at the transformation wrought by the screenwriter and by director Clint Eastwood. LaGravenese trimmed much of the literary and philosophical fat away from the tale to create a lean and satisfying love story. He shrewdly shifted the focus to the female character Francesca (Meryl Streep) and humanized her mythic lover Robert Kincaid (Eastwood). The story also benefited from an expanded framing device in which the grown-up children learn of their ostensibly staid mother's brief infidelity many years before. Finally, LaGravenese added some characters to flesh out the story's themes while, at Eastwood's insistence, retaining enough of the original fulsome dialogue to satisfy the novel's fans.

That same year, LaGravenese provided the script for the comedy/drama "Unstrung Heroes". The story of a 12-year-old who runs away to live with his eccentric uncles when his mother takes ill, the film (directed by Diane Keaton) was an intelligent and quiet look at a family in disarray; only the over-the-top performances of some of the cast deflected from the script. He also co-scripted (with Elizabeth Chandler) the critically acclaimed adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's "A Little Princess".


  • 1989 Screenwriting debut, co-wrote "Rude Awakening", a comedy about the culture clash between 1960s counterculture and 80s materialism
  • 1991 First solo screenwriting credit (an career breakthrough), Terry Gilliam's "The Fisher King"; also acted
  • While under contract to Disney, began working on "A Little Princess", an adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's children's book
  • Collaborated with his sister-in-law Marie Weiss in transforming her story into the screenplay for "The Ref"; Disney had asked him to "guarantee" the script of the first-time writer
  • Producing debut, "The Ref" (also co-scripted and appeared in a cameo)
  • 1994 Invited by Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy to try his hand at adapting James Waller's bestseller "The Bridges of Madison County"
  • 1998 Feature directorial debut with "Living Out Loud"
  • 2000 At request of star Julia Roberts, did uncredited rewrite work on "Erin Brockovich"
  • More recent articles in Professional Screenwriter Profiles


    Only logged-in members can comment. You can log in or join today for free!