April 29, 1960
San Francisco, California, United States
October 4, 2018
Director, Screenwriter, Radio disc jockey
As an avowed feminist and politically aware writer and director, Audrey Wells has produced a body of work that delves deeply into issues that affect women. Whether it's a married woman who travels to Italy to rekindle long-dormant passions or a young woman who falls into a co-dependent relationship with an older man, Wells has presented stories that, though not autobiographical, certainly derive from a shared understanding of what women experience in love and life. This understanding has allowed Wells to make films that touch the lives of everyone.A native of San Francisco, California, Wells was born on April 29, 1960 into a European family, where she grew up developing a reverence for art and culture. In 1980, Wells faked her way into a job as a disk jockey at KJAZ, a jazz radio station in San Francisco. She was asked in her interview to find the 100 best jazz albums. Not knowing anything about jazz, she chose the albums with the most-worn covers; she got the job. Soon after, Wells left the radio business to work as an assistant to screenwriter Alan Sharp ("Night Moves," "The Year of Living Dangerously"). Around this time, she attended UCLA's Master program in film production after earning her Bachelor's at UC Berkley. Wells spent a lot of time writing as well, and sold her first spec, "Radio Free Alaska," to Paramount in the late 1980s. However, the script languished in development hell and was never produced. Wells had to wait until the mid-90s for her next script, "The Truth About Cats and Dogs" (1996), to be made. The quirky romantic comedy, starring Uma Thurman Janeane Garofolo, became a surprise hit for Wells, who was then requested for script rewrites. Wells used her writing talents on such Hollywood fare as "Mighty Joe Young" (1998), "I'll Be Home For Christmas" (1998) and "Runaway Bride" (1999), starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts. Like independent filmmaker John Sayles, Wells used the money she made from rewrites to finance her first film as a director, "Guinevere" (1999). Starring Stephen Rea and Sarah Polley, the film won the Waldo Salt Screenplay Award at the Sundance Film Festival, the Jury Prize at the Deauville Film Festival (a mini-version of Cannes taking place in Normandy, France), and was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards before being picked up for release by Miramax. The film centers on Harper Sloane (Polley), an awkward and insecure young woman who meets an older man (Rea). In turn, Rea gives her self-confidence, as well as a sexual education. Though not successful at the box office, "Guinevere" did receive enough critical praise. Wells went on to write the screenplay for "Disney's The Kid" (2000), a light-hearted fantasy with Bruce Willis. She moved on to make her second film as a director, "Under The Tuscan Sun" (2003), adapted from the New York Times best seller by Frances Mayes. The film starred Oscar-nominee Diane Lane and Italian heartthrob Raoul Bova, and focused on Mayes, who goes to Italy after a bitter divorce to restore a villa, and with it, her passion for love and life.