Wells, Audrey: Screenwriter of Under the Tuscan Sun and The Hate U Give Dies at 58 (Women in Film)

Audrey Wells, the versatile and talented scribe of Under the Tuscan Sun and The Hate U Give, which premieres in limited release Friday, died on Thursday after a long battle with cancer. She was 58. UTA announced the news on Friday. In a statement, her husband, Brian, said, “Over the last five and half years, Audrey fought valiantly against her illness and she died surrounded by love. Even during her fight, she never stopped living, working or traveling, and she never lost her joy, wonder and optimism. She was, simply, the most incredible wife and partner imaginable, and she knew always that she was loved by Tatiana, me, and the friends who were her chosen family. She said just recently, ‘We’re so lucky, honey. We got to live a love story. Who gets to do that?’ We will carry her forward with us forever — as a mother, as a wife, as an artist and creator, and as a friend. She was irreplaceable.”

A gifted screenwriter who has worked for decades, Wells was known for writing strong female characters. Her debut script, the 1996 romantic comedy, The Truth About Cats and Dogs, starred Janeane Garofalo and Uma Thurman as mismatched best friends, each after what the other had, intellectual prowess and stunning beauty, respectively. Wells was versatile across genres, including family fare like Disney titles “The Kid” starring Bruce Willis and an adaptation of “George of the Jungle” for Brendan Fraser, and a recent tearjerker in Universal’s “A Dog’s Purpose.” She also sparked a wave of female-centric literary adaptations with Under The Tuscan Sun, starring Diane Lane, which she wrote and directed from a memoir by Frances Mayes in 2003. Wells had several projects in development, including an untitled film for actress Isla Fisher and a Pearl Studio animation project “Over the Moon” set up at Netflix. Fox, the studio behind The Hate U Give, issued a statement about Wells later on Friday: “We are simply heartbroken. Audrey’s was a voice of empowerment and courage, and her words will live on through the strong, determined female characters she brought to life. Our thoughts are with Brian, Tatiana, and all of Audrey’s family and friends at this difficult time.”