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 commissions 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 theater 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 at the celebrated Odyssey Theatre, a recognized habitat for alternative theater, where she went on to write and direct several other plays. This led to her signing with CAA, which still represents her, 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, and then her chart-busting run 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.
Gina Wendkos Facts
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