Kristen Dragotto, Staff Writer
Much-loved and famous screenwriter and director Audrey Wells died Oct. 4 after a five-year battle with cancer in Santa Monica, California. Her death was just one day prior to the limited release of her latest project, “The Hate U Give.” The movie is an adaptation of Angie Thomas’s famous debut novel about a black teenage girl who witnesses the murder of her friend who is shot by a police officer. The storyline follows female protagonist Starr and her journey to finding her voice. It is films like this that make Wells so loved by fans, as they give a voice to those who are often repressed in our society.
According to her “Turner Classic Novels” biography, Audrey Wells was born on April 29, 1960 in San Francisco, California. She received her Bachelor’s degree from University of California, Berkeley. After receiving her degree, she worked as a disc jockey at a jazz radio station. She later received her Master’s in Film from the University of California, Los Angeles and began her career in film. Some of Wells most notable films are “Truth About Cats and Dogs” (1996), “Runaway Bride” (1999), “Guinevere” (1999), and “Under the Tuscan Sun” (2003). An article written by The New York Times stated that Wells also contributed to several films including “The Princess Diaries,” “Chocolat” and “George of the Jungle.”
The official Twitter account of “The Hate U Give” posted a statement offering condolences to Well’s family saying, “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 all of Audrey’s family and friends at this difficult time.”
In a statement to the New York Times, Wells’ husband, Brian Larky stated, “It’s ironic that she passed away just on the eve of her movie’s opening. And it is ironic that she died as Hollywood further opens up to women and other underrepresented voices.”
Wells will be missed among her friends, family and fans. She helped give a voice to the voiceless and it is her advocacy through film that is her legacy. Her films not only tackled social issues but social injustices that affect women. Her feminist values have made her a great role model for women everywhere.
According to the Columbia Broadcasting System in an article titled “’The Hate U Give’ screenwriter dies day before film is released,” Wells family has requested donations be made to her favorite nonprofits: The Feminist Majority Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood, in lieu of flowers.
“The Hate U Give” starring Amandla Stenberg, KJ Apa, Sabrina Carpenter, Regina Hall and Russell Hornsby, is now playing in select theaters. The nationwide release is scheduled for Oct. 19. The movie has already made a name for itself as it tackles the issue of social injustice among minority communities. Aside from the statement the film makes and the conversation it starts, it is now Audrey Wells’ last work of art.