San Francisco, California native screenwriter, film director, and producer Audrey Wells first gained notice as the screenwriter and executive producer of Michael Lehmann's well-received “The Truth About Cats and Dogs” (1996). Following a writing job on Disney's hit “George of the Jungle” (1997), she made an auspicious directorial debut with the festival darling “Guinevere” (1999, also wrote the script), which brought her Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award and Grand Jury Prize nomination at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival, Jury Special Prize at the 1999 Deauville Film Festival, an Independent Spirit nomination and a Moscow International Film Festival nomination. Wells' second directorial attempt, “Under the Tuscan Sun” (2003, also a producer and a writer), was a significant triumph at the box office. Wells also provided the script for “The Kid” (2000), “Shall We Dance” (2004) and “The Game Plan” (2007). Prior entering the film industry, Wells was a jazz radio disk jockey in her local of San Fransisco during the early 1980s. She was a struggling scriptwriter in Hollywood for numerous years before scoring her first big break with “The Truth About Cats and Dogs.”
Wells resides in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.
Childhood and Family:
Audrey Wells was born on April 29, 1960, in San Fransisco, California, to a European family. She is of Austrian extraction on the side of her father. As a child, she developed a love for culture and art. Audrey received her bachelor's degree at UC Berkeley and her MFA degree in film production from University of California at Los Angeles in Los Angeles, CA. She is married and has a young daughter.
Under the Tuscan Sun
In 1980, 20 year old Audrey Wells began her career as a disk jockey at San Francisco jazz radio station KJAZ FM. Later, with a master's degree in film producing from UCLA, she originally wanted to produce documentary films, but instead swifted gears to script writing. Two of her early work, “Democracy” and “Radio Free Alaska,” failed to achieve production, but her luck started to change after she approached Michael Lehmann, an old family friend and the director of 1988's “Heathers,” to helm a script she was working at. “The Truth About Cats and Dogs,” based on her own experiences both as a disc jockey and someone who had grown up being discontented with her physical appearances, the romantic comedy film was released on April 26, 1996 and starred Janeane Garofalo, Uma Thurman, Ben Chaplin and Jamie Foxx starring as Abby Barnes, Noelle Slusarsky, Brian and Ed, respectively. It received positive reviews from critics and was a moderate success at the box office.
Wells continued to write the script of Disney's live-action romantic-family comedy “George of the Jungle” (1997), adapted from the original 1960s cartoon TV series of the same name. The film was helmed by Sam Weusman and starred Brendan Fraser as George of the Jungle and Leslie Mann as Ursula Stanhope. It was not until two years later that Wells eventually stepped behind the camera to helm her first feature film, “Guinevere” (1999), which she also scripted. About the artistic and romantic relationship between a young student and her much older mentor, played by Sarah Polley and Stephen Rea, respectively, the drama/romance premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 1999, where it won Wells the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award and the Grand Jury Prize nomination, and was screened at the Montréal Film Festival, the Athens Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival before receiving limited theatrical release in the US throughout September that same year. The film also brought Wells Jury Special Prize and a nomination for Grand Special Prize at the the 1999 Deauville Film Festival, an Independent Spirit nomination for Best Screenplay and a Golden St. George nomination at the 1999 Moscow International Film Festival.
Following the success of “Guinevere,” Wells was hired to provide the script for “Disney's 'The Kid'” (2000), a family film helmed by Jon Turteltaub and starring Bruce Willis, with supporting performances by Spencer Breslin, Emily Mortimer, Lily Tomlin, Chi McBride, and Jean Smart. With original budget $65 million, it grossed over $ 110 million at the domestic box office. She returned to the director's chair to helm Diane Lane, Sandra Oh and Lindsay Duncan in her sophomore effort, “Under the Tuscan Sun” (2003), which she also produced and wrote. An adaptation of the 1996 memoir of the same title by Frances Mayes, the comedy/drama was a commercial success and grossed more than $58 million worldwide (more than half of its estimated $18 million dollar budget). It was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Film - Wide Release, while Diana Lane received nominations at the Golden Globe and Satellite Awards. Still in 2003, Wells appeared in front of the cameras to portray an airline passenger on the direct-to-video installment “George of the Jungle 2,” directed by David Grossman, written by Jordan Moffet, and starring Thomas Haden Church, Julie Benz and Christopher Showerman as George.
Wells next provided the script for “Shall We Dance” (2004), a remake of the Award winning 1996 Japanese film directed by Masayuki Suo. Starring Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez and directed by Peter Chelsom, the comedy/drama earned poor reception from critics, but was a significant success at the box office (collected a total of over $170 million internationally). She also scripted “The Game Plan” (2007), a comedy film starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and directed by Andy Fickman. Although the film received mixed reviews, it was considered a box office hit, with a total worldwide gross of more than $144 million.
Wells is set to work on the upcoming film “My Name Is Jody Williams” and in an Untitled Isla Fisher Project.
Sundance Film Festival: Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award, “Guinevere,” 1999
Deauville Film Festival: Jury Special Prize, “Guinevere,” 1999