Screenwriter, Movie Director, and Producer Audrey Wells Dies at 58; Her Latest Film, Racial Drama ‘The Hate U Give,’ Opens in Theaters Today

Audrey Wells, who wrote and directed the 2003 romantic comedy “Under the Tuscan Sun” as well as the screenplay for the new film “The Hate U Give,” has died after a five-year battle with cancer. She was 58.

A representative from United Talent Agency says Wells died Thursday.

The San Francisco native had early jobs as a disc jockey at a local jazz station and in public radio before making the transition to film, armed with a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles.

She wrote the screenplays for films like “The Truth About Cats and Dogs,” a modern-day Cyrano de Bergerac tale starring Uma Thurman, and “Shall We Dance,” with Jennifer Lopez and Richard Gere. She made her directorial debut with the 1999 indie “Guinevere,” starring Sarah Polley as a young woman and her relationship with an older mentor.

Wells also wrote the script for the critically-acclaimed new film “The Hate U Give,” an adaptation of Angie Thomas’ young adult novel about a police shooting of a young black man. The film starring Amandla Stenberg is now playing in limited release before it expands nationwide Oct. 19.

Thomas tweeted Friday that it was, “A joy to work with Audrey, and I’m forever grateful for what she gave us with The Hate U Give adaptation. She will truly be missed.”

UTA Co-President David Kramer said in a statement that Wells was “truly special.”

“The strong, independent female characters she shaped resonate today more than ever and will be a part of her legacy always,” Kramer said. “We will miss her amazing spirit, creativity and the love she gave us.”

Wells is survived by her husband Brian Larky and her daughter Tatiana. Larky said in a statement that Wells “fought valiantly against her illness” and died “surrounded by love.”

“Over the last five and half years, Audrey fought valiantly against her illness and she died surrounded by love,” said Larky. “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.”

The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Wells’ favorite nonprofits, The Feminist Majority Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood.

SOURCE: Associated Press