Job description: Screenwriter
Breakthrough: After writing her first script, “Coyote Ugly,” for Jerry Bruckheimer, proving she wasn’t a fluke with the $100 million-plus grosser “The Princess Diaries.”
In the works: Just turned in a back-door pilot for Showtime and Bruckheimer, “Extreme Behavior,” which examines the life of four prostitutes; now penning “The Princess Diaries 2.”
“I guess all my stuff is chick stories,” says Gina Wendkos, an underground performance artist-turned-sitcom scribe (“Can’t Hurry Love”) who found happiness as a top Hollywood screenwriter.
Wendkos made her name in Hollywood with “Coyote Ugly,” the first Jerry Bruckheimer picture that featured a woman with something to do other than being a love interest. That said, she doesn’t find it odd that her primary patron is a producer whose name is commonly considered a synonym for “testosterone.”
“I did have that impression before I met him, but he’s not like that at all,” Wendkos says. “He’s very gentle and story-driven. I learned a lot on how to craft a story from that house.”
She also credits Bruckheimer with encouraging her to pen “Extreme Behavior,” a tale backed by two years’ worth of interviewing and researching the lives of four Los Angeles call girls. Like her “Princess Diaries,” the story of a New York teen who feels like a geek and hates school, she considers “Extreme” a somewhat personal story.
“When I was a senior in high school, I wrote an essay on the history of prostitution,” says Wendkos. Her grade? B — the highest she ever received.