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‘The Hate U Give’ Screenwriter Audrey Wells Dies at 58

Audrey Wells
Courtesy of UTA

Audrey Wells, the screenwriter behind movies including “Under the Tuscan Sun” and “The Hate U Give,” which premieres in limited release on 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.”

UTA co-president David Kramer added in a statement, “Audrey was a beloved client and, far more importantly, a wonderful friend. It was impossible not to fall in love with her and the passion that brought her stories to life. The strong, independent female characters she shaped resonate today more than ever and will be a part of her legacy always. We will miss her amazing, spirit, creativity and the love she gave us. She was truly special.”

Wells, a prolific screenwriter who has worked for decades, was known for strong and vibrant female characters.

Her debut script, the 1996 romcom “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 bubblegum family fare like Disney titles “The Kid” starring Bruce Willis and an adaptation of “George of the Jungle” for Brendan Fraser, and a recent four-quadrant tearjerker in Universal’s “A Dog’s Purpose.”

She also sparked a wave of female-centric literary adaptations with “Under The Tuscan Sun,” 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.

Twentieth Century 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.”

She is survived by her husband Brian Larky, and a daughter, Tatiana.