Participant profile: Peter Hedges

It’s our final visit to New York, to visit with screenwriter and director Peter Hedges.

Peter Hedges

Peter Hedges

Peter Hedges is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and director.  He made his feature film directorial début with Pieces of April (2003) starring Katie Holmes, Patricia Clarkson, Oliver Platt, and Derek Luke.  The acclaimed film garnered numerous awards including an Academy Award nomination for Clarkson. Following the film, Variety named Hedges one of 10 Directors to watch. In 2007, Hedges directed and co-wrote Dan in Real Life starring Steve Carell and Juliette Binoche.

Hedges’ novel What’s Eating Gilbert Grape was the basis for the 1993 film, which he also wrote.  It starred Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio, who was nominated for an Academy Award. Hedges’ second novel, An Ocean in Iowa, was published in 1998 by Hyperion Press. His novels have been published in 15 languages. In March of 2010, his novel, The Heights, will be published by Dutton.

Hedges’ screenplay adaptations include Jane Hamilton’s A Map of the World and Nick Hornby’s About a Boy which received a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar nomination.

Current projects include his adaptation of Jonathan Tropper’s Everything Changes for producers Wendy Finerman and Tobey Maguire, and the writing of The Odd Life of Timothy Green for producers Ahmet Zappa and Scott Sanders and Walt Disney Pictures.

A graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts, Hedges founded the Edge Theatre in 1985 along with Mary-Louise Parker and Joe Mantello. Over a three-year period, he wrote and directed 12 works for the company. Hedges’ other plays include Baby Anger (Playwrights Horizons), Good as New (Manhattan Class Company), and Imagining Brad (Circle Repertory), all of which have been published by Dramatists Play Service.

Hedges has taught at Yale University, Bennington College, and the North Carolina School of the Arts. He has served as a Creative Advisor to the Sundance Screenwriters’ Lab and has been awarded residencies at Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and the Millay Colony.

Hedges grew up in West Des Moines, Iowa. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Susan Bruce, and their two children, Simon and Lucas.

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