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Hilary Henkin

Hilary Henkin

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New Orleans, Louisiana, USA Profession: screenwriter, producer, go-go dancer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Raised on the deliciously sour milk of film noir, screenwriter Hilary Henkin is one of the vaunted few female writers to break into the exclusively male world of hard-boiled but heady action-adventure and to venture fearlessly into the moral labyrinths of villainy and violence. A script for Warner Bros. called "Free Fall" ("a very violent piece"), about three astronauts who nearly die in space and return to find their previous lives have disappeared, didn't get filmed but made her a reputation. Early pictures "Fatal Beauty" (1987) and "Road House" (1989) met with little success, but Henkin created her first no-holds-barred female villain Mona Demarkov (played by Lena Olin) and scored big with "Romeo is Bleeding" (1993), previously dubbed one of the Ten Best Unproduced Scripts in Hollywood by AMERICAN FILM. Although she had adapted Larry Beinhart's novel "American Hero" for the screen, David Mamet followed her and was going to receive sole screenwriting credit for Barry Levinson's "Wag the Dog" (1997) until the Writers Guild of America intervened, deeming that Mamet had used the structure she had devised.

Raised on the deliciously sour milk of film noir, screenwriter Hilary Henkin is one of the vaunted few female writers to break into the exclusively male world of hard-boiled but heady action-adventure and to venture fearlessly into the moral labyrinths of villainy and violence. A script for Warner Bros. called "Free Fall" ("a very violent piece"), about three astronauts who nearly die in space and return to find their previous lives have disappeared, didn't get filmed but made her a reputation. Early pictures "Fatal Beauty" (1987) and "Road House" (1989) met with little success, but Henkin created her first no-holds-barred female villain Mona Demarkov (played by Lena Olin) and scored big with "Romeo is Bleeding" (1993), previously dubbed one of the Ten Best Unproduced Scripts in Hollywood by AMERICAN FILM. Although she had adapted Larry Beinhart's novel "American Hero" for the screen, David Mamet followed her and was going to receive sole screenwriting credit for Barry Levinson's "Wag the Dog" (1997) until the Writers Guild of America intervened, deeming that Mamet had used the structure she had devised.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

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Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Memphis, Tennessee and NYC
:
Worked as a go-go dancer in NYC in the 1970s
1987:
Shared screenwriting credit on "Fatal Beauty"
1989:
Co-wrote script for "Road House"
1993:
Wrote screenplay for Peter Medak's "Romeo is Bleeding" (also co-produced)
1997:
Shared screenwriting credit (much to David Mamet's chagrin) on Barry Levinson's "Wag the Dog"; earned Oscar nomination as Best Adapted Screenplay
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Fort Hamilton High School: Brooklyn , New York -
University of Lausanne: -

Notes

Henkin learned her major Hollywood lesson on "Fatal Beauty". "They called me in specifically because I write hard-bitten material. So I write about a policewoman named Rita. She's a loner. She will not rest until the murderer of every victim pictured on the office wall is brought down. The studio wanted to know why Rita would behave that way. I said why does Dirty Harry behave that way? Why can't a woman just be after justice?"

It was a rhetorical question. Henkin was dismissed. "The film became middle of the road; safe. They cast Whoopi Goldberg. And that was the end of my Rita." --Hilary Henkin, NEW YORK TIMES, January 30, 1994

"I've been told I write like a man. I'm not exactly sure what that means. What does writing like a woman really mean? If they want the girl next door, they should go next door . . . I hardly ever write women. I always felt the difference between strong female characters and strong male characters was back story. When you see these female characters who are quote, strong, unquote, they're not only evil, they're insane. I've always thought there was something provocative in the notion of an evil female character who was sane . . ." When Henkin started writing "Romeo is Bleeding" five years ago, "Women were playing wives. Then they progressed to feisty female attorneys and outspoken reporters. I thought maybe it was time for a character who lived outside the law and created her own morality." --Hilary Henkin, LOS ANGELES TIMES, February 6, 1994

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