WEGG Tidbit #1 - Meet Peter Hedges

by Peter Hedges

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WEGG Tidbit #1 - Meet Peter Hedges

Unread postby Liz » Mon Mar 05, 2007 11:03 am

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Peter Hedges' first novel, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, was the basis for the 1993 film, which he also wrote. His second novel, An Ocean in Iowa, was published in 1998 by Hyperion Press. His novels have been published in fifteen languages.

Hedges' screenplay adaptations include Jane Hamilton's A Map of the World and Nick Hornby's About a Boy . With Pieces of April, Hedges made his film directing debut. Variety Magazine named him one of the 10 Directors to Watch for 2003.

Originally from Des Moines, Iowa, Hedges was born on July 6, 1962. His father was a minister and his mother was a drug and alcohol counselor who would later succumb to cancer in 2000. With his dad being a minister, Hedges spent much of his youth attending funerals and visiting nursing homes, an experience, according to the writer, that granted him an acute sense of mortality—a recurring theme that would find its way into his work.

After graduating from Valley High School, Hedges attended the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, where he majored in theater and earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1984. Hedges then formed the Edge Theater, an experimental theater group, with classmates Mary-Louise Parker and Joe Mantello. Over the course of four years, he wrote and directed twelve productions, many of which were staged at free theaters. Apart from the Edge Theater group, Hedges produced his original play, “Imagining Brad”, off-Broadway for the Circle Repertory Theater.

While teaching at Bennington College in Vermont, Hedges wrote a monologue that would be the genesis for his first novel, “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”, published in 1991. He then adapted it for the screen in 1993.

However, Hedges wouldn’t write another film until “A Map of the World” (1999), an adaptation of the Jane Hamilton novel, starring Sigourney Weaver and Julianne Moore. In between screenwriting projects, Hedges returned to the stage, producing “Baby Anger” for Playwrights Horizons and “Good as New” for the Manhattan Class Company. These plays and others were published by the Dramatists Play Service, one of the premiere play-licensing agencies for English-speaking theater.

Hedges' finest moment as a screenwriter (so far) came with his collaboration on the adaptation of the Nick Hornby novel, “About a Boy” (2002). Along with fellow screenwriters Chris and Paul Weitz (both also directed the film), Hedges was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Despite not winning an Oscar, Hedges earned both critical acclaim and industry respect for “About a Boy”.

He went from there to directing his first feature film, “Pieces of April” (2003), which starred Katie Holmes, Patricia Clarkson and Oliver Platt. At a crisp 80 minutes, the digitally shot film tells the story of April Burns (Holmes), a wild 21 year-old living on her own in New York City who invites her estranged, straight-laced family--including her terminally ill, hyper-critical mother (Clarkson) over for Thanksgiving dinner, even though she doesn’t know how to cook.

Though always busy with writing, Hedges has made the time to reach out to those trying to make it in the industry, serving as a Creative Advisor at the Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab. Hedges was also awarded residencies at Yaddo (an artists’ retreat in Saratoga Springs, NY), the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire, and the Millay Colony in upstate New York.

His most recent work is the screen play for Dan in Real Life, where it is said that he is the director and co-writer with Pierce Gardner. It is in “post-production” which means the information here could be subject to change according to IMDb. Here is a synopsis from Moviefone:

A widower and father of three who also writes a parenting advice column for his local newspaper falls for the girlfriend of his younger brother during a family vacation in director Peter Hedges' offbeat love triangle laugher. Steve Carell stars as the writer who finds his widely-known convictions put to the ultimate test, with Dane Cook and Juliet Binoche respectively assuming the roles of the younger sibling and his radiant girlfriend. ~ Jason Buchanan.


AWARDS


Nominated:

About a Boy – screenplay
Oscar
Discover Screenwriting
BAFTA
CFCA (Chicago Film Critics)
WGA (Writers Guild of America)

Pieces of April
Gotham - Open Palm
Independent Spirit
John Cassavetes

A Map of the World
Golden Satellite


Won:

About a Boy
Chicago International Film Festival (Audience Choice Award & FIPRESCI Prize – Special Mention)


Sources:

Yahoo
IMDb
Moviefone
Filmbug
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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Mar 05, 2007 11:23 am

I didn't know he wrote About a Boy! I love that movie. A connection with Juliet Binoche as well. Thanks, Liz! :cool:
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Unread postby PhD » Mon Mar 05, 2007 11:34 am

AAAhhhhh! A WEGG tidbit! I really must pull myself together and get reading. :reader:
"Because, you know, it seems to me that, I mean, except for being a little mentally ill, she's pretty normal"

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Unread postby Endora » Mon Mar 05, 2007 11:50 am

PhD wrote:AAAhhhhh! A WEGG tidbit! I really must pull myself together and get reading. :reader:


Me too. I didn't realise WEGG was upon us. Thank goodness it's a short book.
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Unread postby KatieLyn » Mon Mar 05, 2007 12:22 pm

I'll be ready for this one! Can't wait!

Another connection...Oliver Platt..."Pieces of April"...from Benny & Joon.
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Unread postby Iceflower » Mon Mar 05, 2007 12:43 pm

Thanks, Liz!
I have to get to the shop to buy the book. Gonna be interesting to read.
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Unread postby Lady Jill » Mon Mar 05, 2007 2:36 pm

Wow! Liz:
I didn't realize that you're ready to push off into another book. So soon!
:ohno: my mind is still reeling from the last one.
I have a early copy of the WEGG screenplay. Did this Peter Hedges write it too? And such a young thing! Peter was born the year I graduated from high school! Oh dear, there I go again -
I LOVE the movie, so this might be interesting. How long will the tidbits go on? The questions?
Is this book in paperback?

Lady Jill
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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Mon Mar 05, 2007 2:58 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:I didn't know he wrote About a Boy! I love that movie. A connection with Juliet Binoche as well. Thanks, Liz! :cool:


He wrote the screenplay but not alone. The film was far better than Nick Hornby's original book. I have watched all Peter Hedges other films also :cool:

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Mar 05, 2007 3:26 pm

I'm glad to see so many of you are interested in WEGG! :bounce:

Lady Jill, things are nonstop around here! :hypnotic: We usually have thirty or so tidbits, sometimes a few more or less. The discussion will start in early April so there is plenty of time to get the book and have it finished before the discussion starts. We will have an exact date for you soon. It sort of depends on how the tidbits shake out. We will be off doing some field resarch soon :investigate: and then we should have a final answer for you on the date of the first question so keep reading!
:noodlemantra:
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Linda Lee » Mon Mar 05, 2007 7:18 pm

It sounds like he's accomplished quite a bit, it's nice that he also helps those who are starting out.

Lady Jill, it is available in paperback, it was $14.00 at Barnes and Noble.
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Unread postby deppstergal » Mon Mar 05, 2007 7:25 pm

That was a very interesting read. WEGG is one of my all time favourite books. I usually read it at least once a year. I also love A Map of the World by Jane Hamilton and I didn't know about the Peter Hedges connection. I was aware he did the screenplay for a About A Boy which again is a good read and I loved the movie too.

Must check out the movie of A Map of the World.

Thanks for posting!
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Unread postby DeepinDepp » Mon Mar 05, 2007 8:32 pm

Interesting tidbits...I'm looking forward to more.

I didn't know he was a classmate of Mary-Louise Parker and they were in theater together.

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Mar 05, 2007 8:44 pm

Much more to come! ;-)
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Charlene » Mon Mar 05, 2007 8:52 pm

Thanks for the tidbit...makes me want to go out and read/see a few other things he's done. I must admit, it's been a lot more fun curling up with WEGG at night, than TPAOL...

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:02 pm

A very different read to be sure, Charlene! :-O
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!


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