×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Liz Meriwether

10 Screenwriters to Watch

With exactly one produced script to her credit (a TV pilot called “Sluts”), Liz Meriwether has found herself in a position the average screenwriter could only dream — or write — about: She’s got four major projects in development, one of which — female spy caper “Honey Pot” — sold for six figures to Paramount off a one-sentence pitch.

Friends With Benefits” (aka “Fuckbuddies”), Meriwether’s romantic comedy script written for Ivan Reitman’s Montecito Picture Co., is set to star Natalie Portman.

“She has a very fresh and very original voice,” says Reitman. “I’ve been trying to find comedy voices for my entire career of making movies, and I think her words utterly represent the craziness of relationships amongst 20-year-olds today. It’s fairly unique, but also insightful.”

The singularity of her situation isn’t lost on Meriwether. “It kind of went like: I was working as a receptionist at a real estate investment management company, and then a week later I was in a golf cart, hiring a production designer,” she says, grinning through her geek-chic glasses and disheveled tawny blond hair. “I think I’m still recovering.”

That was for the “Sluts” pilot, which the Yale grad and then-budding New York playwright was hired to write, based on the strength of a 10-minute play.

Meriwether says the transition to Hollywood, where she’s also done uncredited work on pics like “Transformers,” felt quite natural. “The films I write tend to be a bit on the talky side, and the plays that I wrote were crazy and cinematic,” she says. “I think of it all as comedy; you’re just trying to get a laugh.”

A big fan of fart jokes and profanity, the Michigan native gives props to Judd Apatow for reviving the R-rated comedy, but she chooses to tell stories about the female experience. “Benefits” turns the romantic comedy upside down, beginning in bed and then exploring whether the relationship is worth pursuing. Refreshingly, the female lead character — the Portman role — just may not be that into him.

“People want to put women in one box,” Meriwether says, “and I’m interested in how women can be everything at once. She can be a slut who wants to fall in love, or she can party too much, but she’s still very smart. I want to expand the vocabulary.” With impeccable comic timing, she adds, “We’ll see how long I last.”

AGE: 27

HOMETOWN: Ann Arbor, Mich.

INSPIRED BY: Woody Allen, Tina Fey and the writers of “30 Rock”; 1930s screwball comedies; “Party Girl”; “The Goonies”

UP NEXT: “Maynard & Jennica,” a romantic comedy for Scott Rudin and Miramax; “The Bailout” for Marc Platt

REPS: Agent: Cliff Roberts (WME); attorney: Jeff Frankel (McKuin Frankel Whitehead)

More Scene

  • Taron Egerton Cannes Film Festival 2019

    Taron Egerton Addresses ‘Rocketman’ Comparisons to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ Takes Subtle Jab at Bryan Singer

    Taron Egerton says that he’s flattered by comparisons between his Elton John musical “Rocketman” and “Bohemian Rhapsody,” last year’s smash hit about Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. “I’m proud that we’re mentioned in the same breath,” says Egerton, who plays John in the upcoming “Rocketman,” which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival to a five-minute standing [...]

  • Ethan Hawke, Bobby Cannavale and Griffin

    BAM Gala Marks Leadership Change, Celebrates Brooklyn as 'Cultural Center of New York'

    Wednesday’s annual gala celebrating the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) served as a poignant moment of transition for the New York stalwart of contemporary performance. As long-time artistic director Joe Melillo, who along with Harvey Lichtenstein transformed BAM into a vanguard of progressive art, prepares to pass the torch to new leadership, gathered patrons and [...]

  • Dua Lipa Tom Jones

    Dua Lipa and Tom Jones to Perform at amfAR's Cannes Gala (EXCLUSIVE)

    Variety‘s Marc Malkin is on the scene at the Cannes Film Festival. Get the scoop on all the news, parties and more straight from the Croisette below. AmfAR’s upcoming Cannes gala is shaping up quite nicely. Sources tell Variety that the evening will feature performances by Dua Lipa and Tom Jones. And they’re not the only [...]

  • "Deadwood" Cast Describes Emotional Homecoming on

    'Deadwood' Cast Describes Emotional Homecoming on the Historic Set

    The phrase “Welcome the f— back” marks the billboards and posters for the return of “Deadwood,” but that sentiment doesn’t just apply to the audience. Returning to the town of Deadwood was a homecoming of sorts for the cast and crew of the HBO show, who shared that stepping back into the meticulously recreated late-1800s [...]

  • Awkwafina to Receive Maui Film Festival

    Awkwafina to Receive Maui Film Festival Shining Star Award

    Awkwafina will receive the Shining Star Award at this year’s Maui Film Festival. The 20th annual gathering runs from June 12-16. The award is given to actors “who dare to dream big dreams and delivers brilliantly charismatic and revelatory performances every time that opportunity knocks.” “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to celebrate and [...]

  • Issa Rae, Hasan Minhaj & Michael

    The 2019 Webby Awards Celebrate the Spirit of the Internet

    At the 23rd annual Webby Awards in New York on Monday night, presenters and honorees reflected on the advances that led to both the highs and lows of the internet in 2019 – and how the organization itself has had to evolve to accommodate that rapid shift. “When we started in 1997, pretty much the only [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content