Art director paints a new canvas with tight potboiler

Birthplace:Chicago

Repped by:Endeavor

Film that changed my life: “Chinatown”; “I saw it three times in a month and it made me want to make films.”

Worst advice/studio note ever received:“There is no bad advice or notes. You are sort of in bed with these people and everything they tell you gives you another way of understanding either them or, if they are good notes, the project.’

Kara Lindstrom, the writer behind MGM’s upcoming thriller “Killing Me Softly,” certainly took a long, scenic route to her current profession. Before getting her feet wet as a screenwriter, she worked as set dresser, art director and production designer for films such as “Invaders From Mars,” “Heathers” and “When a Man Loves a Woman.”

Based on a potboiler by Nicci French, the film centers on a married research scientist (Heather Graham) who falls for a mysterious mountaineer with a dark past (Joseph Fiennes).

Lindstrom says the experience being on the set in London was particularly interesting and fascinating because the movie was the first English-language project for director Chen Kaige, best known for “Farewell My Concubine.”

“He was very generous and I was part of the team,” Lindstrom says of the director. “This was my first experience and I had that rare privilege.”

Lindstrom started making films in her hometown of Chicago at the Community Film Workshop, where she was also a teacher. After a stint at the American Film Institute as a directing fellow, she went to work as a set decorator, art director or production designer.

She tasted her first success as a screenwriter with “The Trade,” a screenplay that Intermedia intends to produce with Sydney Pollack’s company Mirage.

As she eagerly awaits “Killing Me Softly’s” arrival into theaters, Lindstrom is working on another project dealing people who scale heights: She hopes to direct the pic, a love story with snowboarders set in the French Alps.

And she’ll probably make sure the art direction is peerless.

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