HEAVEN IS FOR REAL
RANDALL WALLACE (Director/Screenwriter) is the
Oscar-nominated storyteller behind such critical and box-office hits as
Braveheart, We Were Soldiers, Pearl Harbor, and Secretariat.
Born in Jackson, Tennessee, he went on to attend Duke University, where he
studied Russian, religion, and literature, which he says made him acutely aware
of how the past can be shockingly relevant to the present and would later
influence the vibrant, dynamic way in which he would bring to life epic stories
from history. After Duke, he put himself through a graduate year of seminary in
a typically unusual way, by teaching martial arts (he is a black belt in
Wallace continued down an ever-shifting path, managing an animal show at
Nashville's Opryland, signing a contract as a songwriter and writing articles
for Architectural Digest (while living in a tiny, garage apartment). But it was
when he moved to California in 1980 that he found what he was looking for,
unexpectedly, when he read his first screenplay. Along with screenplays, he
began writing novels - and today he is the author of seven books, including four
original novels and three novel versions of the screenplays of his films. From
the moment he read his first screenplay, he knew this was the form that would
change his life.
Wallace was taken under the wing of leading television producer Stephen J.
Cannell and spent several years writing for television series in the late 80s
and early 90s. He struck out into features with Braveheart, inspired by a trip
to Scotland to better get to know his roots as a Scottish American. It was there
he learned about the true legend of medieval Scottish patriot William Wallace —
and instantly saw the sweeping cinematic potential in his story of betrayal and
Braveheart became Wallace's first produced screenplay when it drew the
interest of director and star Mel Gibson, and ended up as the film success story
of 1995, sweeping the Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director and
garnering Oscar and Golden Globe nominations as well as the Writers Guild Award
for Best Screenplay for Wallace.
The success of Braveheart sparked Wallace's desire to direct. Making his
directorial debut with his own screenplay for The Man In The Iron Mask, he drew
an extraordinary cast including Leonardo DiCaprio, John Malkovich, Gabriel
Byrne, Jeremy Irons and Gerard Depardieu.
Shortly after, he wrote the screenplay for the Jerry Bruckheimer blockbuster,
Pearl Harbor, directed by Michael Bay and starring Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett
and Kate Beckinsale.
This was followed by Wallace's second film as director, We Were Soldiers.
Once again, Wallace spearheaded the project, after discovering the book 'We Were
Soldiers Once . . . and
Young', in an airport bookshop. Moved by its starkly honest account of a
singular battle in the Vietnam War, Wallace purchased the rights himself with
money he had earned from Braveheart. He then re-teamed with Mel Gibson to star
in a film that would be widely acclaimed for its humanity and authenticity.
Wallace was so committed to understanding the motivation of his characters that
he even trained with career soldiers at the notoriously grueling U.S. Army
Secretariat would take Wallace into a completely different world, but one
also full of inspired determination and people triumphing against the odds.
Authenticity remained key as Wallace hand-picked the cast and literally went off
to the races, immersing himself in the history and know-how of horseracing so
that he could put it on-screen in a way audiences had never experienced before.
He shot on location in Kentucky and Louisiana, with as many as 36 horses on the
set at once.
Wallace also recently took a comic turn in front of the camera, playing
himself on HBO's hit comedy series "Entourage" in an arc of three episodes
culminating when Vince, after a night of debauchery, blows his big meeting with
In addition to his work as a filmmaker, Wallace is the founder of Hollywood
for Habitat for Humanity. In 2010, he and his sons Andrew and Cullen formed
their own company, Wallace Entertainment, which is focused on creating
entertainment for worldwide audiences based on the classic values of love,
courage and honor.
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