Janus Cercone

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Janus Cercone is an American screenwriter. She is best known for her original screenplay, Leap of Faith which was turned into a major motion picture and released by Paramount Pictures in 1992, starring Steve Martin, Debra Winger and Liam Neeson. Leap of Faith was adapted as a Broadway musical starring Raúl Esparza and opened at the St. James Theatre in New York City on April 26, 2012. The show was nominated for the Best New Musical Tony Award and for six Drama Desk Awards, including Best Book of A Musical (for Cercone and co-writer, Warren Leight).

Early life[edit]

Cercone grew up in Bronxville, New York and attended Skidmore College on a full music scholarship. After exiting Skidmore, she worked as an executive at A&M Records, handling press for artists as varied as Peter Allen, Joe Cocker, Peter Frampton and The Police.[1]

After departing the label, Cercone worked as a studio musician and songwriter, contributing material to numerous records, series television and movies including Emmy winner, Roe vs. Wade [2] and Golden Globe winner Dirty Pictures[3].

Career[edit]

Film[edit]

At the suggestion of her husband, producer, Michael Manheim, Cercone enrolled in Syd Field’s screenwriting class. Her first effort sold to Jerry Weintraub, launching a career that continues to the present.

In 1992, Cercone’s original spec script, Leap of Faith was purchased by Paramount Pictures. Directed by Richard Pearce, Leap starred Steve Martin, Debra Winger and Liam Neeson. The movie came from her experiences traveling with rock bands and from extensive research on con men, such as televangelist Peter Popoff.[4] She was guided in this process by magician and author, Ricky Jay.

Cercone has worked for every major Hollywood studio, writing screenplays and produced features for stars ranging from Oscar winners Michael Douglas to Whoopi Goldberg, and recently completed Django for Kennedy/Marshall, to star Johnny Depp.[5]

Theater[edit]

Her play, Dead And In Person received readings at Manhattan Theatre Club, starring Rosemary Harris and at The Falcon Theatre, directed by Penny Marshall and starring Jennifer Aniston and Robert Downey, Jr. [6]

Currently, Cercone is adapting her movie, Leap of Faith as a musical with eight-time Oscar winning composer, Alan Menken. The show, starring Raul Esparza received its world premiere at The Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, fall of 2010 and opens on Broadway, April 26, 2012[7]

Cercone is co-founder, with Suellen Richmond, of the theatre investment fund, Nine Thirty Girls.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Concurrent to her work in show business, Cercone and Michael Manheim have built and renovated ten houses. What began as a hobby, became a business in 2003: Jaman Properties (www.jamanproperties.com).[9]

Applying her skills as a storyteller, Cercone designs spaces that reflect narrative and character. Buyers for the couple’s houses have included studio heads, CEO’s and TV and film stars such as Conan O'Brien, Matt Groening, Fran Drescher and Virginia Madsen.

Notable projects[edit]

Roe Vs. Wade (1989) Leap of Faith (1992) Ed (1996) Dirty Pictures (2000)

References[edit]

External links[edit]