A native of California, Andrus was working on his MFA in professional writing at USC when he came to the attention of producer Norman Lear ("The Princess Bride", "All in the Family"). Lear signed Andrus to a contract at Embassy Productions.
Mark Andrus' first feature film was "Late for Dinner" (1991). Andrus' screenplay directed by W.D. Richter. The film starred Peter Berg, Brian Wimmer and Marcia Gay Harden. Its U.S. box office gross was nearly $9 million. "Late for Dinner" tells the story of two friends (Berg and Wimmer) who are cryogenically frozen in the early 1960s and wake up thirty years later.
In 1998 Andrus was nominated for "Best Screenplay" for their original script, a character-driven blend of comedy and drama. Andrus wrote the original story, and co-wrote the screenplay with James L. Brooks, with whom he shared the nomination. "As Good As It Gets" received a total of seven Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture. It won two Academy Awards: Best Actor, for Jack Nicholson's portrayal of the quirky Melvin Udall, and Best Actress, for Helen Hunt's turn as the waitress he befriends. The popular and critically acclaimed film earned over $147 million at the U.S. box office, and nearly $300 million in worldwide ticket sales.
Andrus' next film was "Life as a House" (2001), a drama about a man diagnosed with cancer who attempts to repair his shattered relationship with his son before he dies. He uses his last remaining months to build a house, which becomes a metaphor for life. Directed by Irwin Winkler, the film stars Kevin Kline, Kristin Scott Thomas, Hayden Christensen, Jena Malone, and Mary Steenburgen. "Life as a House" has been widely acclaimed by critics. This was Hayden Christensen's first major role in a feature film prior to starring as Anakin Skywalker (the young Darth Vader) in "Star Wars: Attack of the Clones." Christensen received a Golden Globe nomination for his "Life as a House" performance. "Life As a House" earned over $15 million at the U.S. box office.
The following year (2002) Warner Brothers released "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood." The screenplay was written by Mark Andrus, based on the novel by Rebecca Wells. Directed by Callie Khouri, the movie features a stellar all-star cast, including Sandra Bullock, Ellen Burstyn, James Garner, Ashley Judd, Maggie Smith, Fionnula Flanagan, Cherry Jones, Shirley Knight and Angus MacFadyen.
Web page created 14 December 2001. Last modified 6 June 2002.