Kirsten Smith (writer)
|Kirsten "Kiwi" Smith|
Smith in 2011
August 12, 1970|
Kirsten "Kiwi" Smith (born August 12, 1970) is an American screenwriter and novelist whose credits include Legally Blonde and Ella Enchanted. She has written most of her screenplays with her screenwriter partner Karen McCullah. Most of the scripts seems to follow the girl Power movement of the late 1990s and early 2000s.
A native of Port Ludlow, Washington, she moved to Los Angeles in 1988 to attend Occidental College. There, she studied English and Film, and also got an internship at CineTel Films, an independent film company. Initially planning on pursuing poetry and academia as a career, she began working for CineTel reading scripts and writing coverage for them. This led to a full-time job there as a Director of Development in 1995; it was there she began pursuing screenwriting in earnest. One of the scripts she happened to read and cover was written by Karen Lutz, an aspiring writer living in Denver, Colorado. The two women formed a friendship over the phone, and when Lutz came to Los Angeles, they met in person, and began writing their first script on cocktail napkins that night. That script never sold, but it inspired the women to write together again, and they embarked on a teen comedy called 10 Things I Hate About You, inspired by William Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew.
Smith got her official start as a screenwriter in 1997 by selling 10 Things I Hate About You as a spec screenplay. Shortly thereafter, the movie was green-lit, starring then-unknowns Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles, and it was shot in Tacoma, Washington, near Smith's hometown.
Smith went on to co-write Legally Blonde, which was nominated for two Golden Globes. Costing only $18M to produce, the movie was a surprise hit, grossing $20M in its opening weekend in July 2001, and going on to make over $140M worldwide. It also spawned a sequel and a successful Broadway musical, which was a based on Smith and Lutz’s screenplay. Smith also wrote in the game episode.
In 2008 she co-wrote and executive produced The House Bunny, starring Anna Faris, and produced by Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions. It grossed just shy of $50M domestically. Her latest credit is The Ugly Truth, directed by Legally Blonde collaborator Robert Luketic and starring Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler.”
Having published more than 40 poems in various literary magazines in the 1990s, Smith published her first novel-in-verse, The Geography of Girlhood, in 2006. The coming-of-age story of a teenage girl growing up in the Pacific Northwest, it contains a smattering of the poems Smith wrote and published in her early twenties.
- 10 Things I Hate About You (1999) - an adaptation of William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew set in a modern American high school
- Legally Blonde (2001) - screen adaptation of Amanda Brown's novel Legally Blonde
- Ella Enchanted (2004) - screen adaptation of Gail Carson Levine's 1997 novel Ella Enchanted
- She's the Man (2006) - an adaptation of William Shakespeare's play Twelfth Night, or What You Will.
- The House Bunny (2008)
- The Ugly Truth (2009)
- One for the Money (2012) - film adaptation of Janet Evanovich's 1994 novel One for the Money.