Award-winning writer Gina Wendkos is one of the rare Hollywood talents who has seen three of her films top $100 million at the box office after their summer openings: “Coyote Ugly”, which spawned a #1 Billboard soundtrack album and gave national attention to the world of female bartenders, and Disney’s “The Princess Diaries” and its sequel, ““The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement”, directed by Gary Marshall and starring Julie Andrews and Anne Hathaway.
This successful film writer, however, did not originally set her sights on a career in the movie business. Born in Florence, Italy and raised in Miami Beach, Wendkos, the daughter of a painter, was artistically gifted from a very young age, and became known in the national art scene for her large-scale theatrical performance art pieces (some utilizing more than 200 actors), many of them commissioned and exhibited in esteemed artistic institutions and galleries including New Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, P.S. 1, La Mama and the Spoleto Festival.
A successful and creative fixture in the New York theatre scene with many of her daring plays being produced off-Broadway, Wendkos received a National Endowment for the Arts grant for original playwriting, under the auspices of the Second Stage Theatre in New York City. This was the first of many awards garnered by Wendkos, including two Dramalogue Awards and many playwriting grants, including ones from the Spoleto Festival, the City of Seattle and the Drama League of New York
After writing and directing more than 20 plays in the States and abroad, Wendkos came to Los Angeles to direct the West Coast premiere of one of her works, “Ginger Ale afternoon”, at the celebrated Odyssey Theatre.
The theatre, a recognized habitat for alternative theatre, was the location within which she went on to write and direct several other plays. The play was discovered by filmmaker Rafal Zielinski who adapted it into an independent film which premiered in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the Sundance Film Festival. This led to her signing with CAA and entering the world of television and film writing, where she wrote for a variety of innovative and acclaimed network series, including “Wiseguy”.Wendkos then segued into feature films with the motion picture adaptation of her stage play, “Ginger Ale Afternoon”. Following its positive critical reception at Sundance, the film was acquired and released by Skouras Films. Wendkos’ next script, “Jersey Girl”, was produced by Interscope. Her chart-busting run later began when Jerry Bruckheimer produced “Coyote Ugly”.
Two upcoming Wendkos-scripted projects are in the works: Sony’s “It Should Happen to You”, penned for Kate Hudson, and an untitled romantic comedy inspired by and written for Jim Carrey and Angelina Jolie.
FLIRTING WITH CONTROVERSY LOS ANGELES PROFILE
“Tiger Within” is the second collaboration with Rafal Zielinski since GINGER ALE AFTERNOON.
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