Douglas Carter Beane

While on vacation with his mother in 1993, Beane began drafting what was to become the final script for "Too Wong Foo . .," partly in response to his mother's reaction to TV drag diva RuPaul ('She's a lovely girl, but she has terrible proportions.') And partly in reaction to the propaganda video "The Gay Agenda" which showed a march over which a voice intoned, "These so-called drag queens want to take over your town." Once he completed the script, several producers passed until a bidding war broke out between Disney and Steven Spielberg's Amblin for the rights. Spielberg prevailed and the film, which centered on three drag queens whose car breaks down in middle America, went into production. While many major players auditioned, the final cast featured Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze and John Leguizamo and became a surprise hit. (It didn't hurt business that the similarly-themed Australian film "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" had already proven to be a box-office success.) Once established, Beane found his services in demand. He worked on an unsold pilot for a sitcom, drafted the script for a feature version of "Bewitched" (which went back into development after the untimely death of its director Ted Bessell), and took time to co-found a New York-based theater company, The Drama Dept., for which he serves as artistic director. His second full-length play, "The Country Club" was produced at the Long Wharf, but he hit pay dirt with the Off-Broadway hit "As Bees in Honey Drown," produced under the auspices of the Drama Dept. That play, a comic dissection of the trappings of fame, greed and glamour, charted the relationship between the self-created socialite Alexa Vere de Vere who hires a struggling gay novelist to writer a biography. Nearly every major female star from Madonna to Nicole Kidman reportedly checked out the play as a possible screen vehicle. The film rights were sold to Universal with Beane attached as both producer and screenwriter. Following quickly on the heels of that success, the feature adaptation of "Advice From a Caterpillar" (lenses 1998) was produced, starring Drama Dept. member Cynthia Nixon alongside Jon Tenney and Andy Dick.