Grazer, Gigi Levangie
GRAZER, Gigi Levangie
Female; married Brian Grazer (a producer); children: three.
Home—Pacific Palisades, CA. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Simon & Schuster, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.
(With others, and author of story) Stepmom (screenplay), Columbia Pictures, 1998.
Rescue Me: A Love Story (novel), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2000.
Maneater: A Novel, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2003.
Also wrote the screenplay for Natural Man, Universal Pictures.
Rescue Me is under development for a feature film by Carl Franklin and Jessie Beaton for Fox Searchlight; Maneater was optioned for a film by Mandalay Entertainment with a script by Grazer.
Gigi Levangie Grazer has blended a career as a screenwriter with that of a novelist, turning out well-received products in both genres, including the movie Stepmom and the novels Rescue Me: A Love Story and Maneater: A Novel. Grazer contributed the story and also earned a writing credit for the 1998 feature film Stepmom, starring Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon, and Ed Harris. This tale of a broken marriage and a replacement mom turns on its "secret weapons," according to Janet Maslin in the New York Times: its two well-known actresses. Maslin found the movie rather unrealistic, writing that the "howlers here are almost a form of inadvertent fun." Yet she also noted that for "every terrible contrivance in the script … there is a glimmer of substance here, too." Such glimmers include the fact that, according to Maslin, the script "lets real conflicts and opinions [between the mom and stepmom] occasionally creep in."
Grazer turned to the novel with her year 2000 title Rescue Me, a romantic tale set in Hollywood of the 1980s and 1990s. Amanda McHenry is living in Laurel Canyon with her drug-dealing brother and his young son—both of whom she is playing mother to—while her longtime boyfriend James is attending Harvard Law School and attempting to claw his way into the upper classes. Amanda and James have been dating since childhood, but he is serially unfaithful to her. Soon she falls for Gabe, a friend of her brother Valentin. Yet when James returns to California, he claims the woman who he says belongs to him, binding Amanda to him through a pact that results in Valentin's death. The novel ends in 1995, when it began, with Amanda married to James, with two children, and dreaming of being rescued by Gabe. Grazer's film-like treatment of her debut novel elicited opposite reactions from a Publishers Weekly reviewer, who found it an "unconvincing love story" that might be "perfectly formulated for a romantic film" but that "falters on the page because of Grazer's tortuous prose," and from Booklist's Diana Tixier Herald, who wrote that "Grazer achieves a cinematic intensity that will keep readers turning pages."
Grazer's second novel, Maneater, appeared in 2003. The story of a Hollywood gold digger, the novel relates the adventures and misadventures of one Clarissa Alpert, who is intent upon finding a husband. She zeroes in on Aaron Mason, a new producer in Hollywood, renting a wedding hall even before her first date with the apparently wealthy southerner. But in the end, Mason has his own agenda: he is also looking for money, and the nuptials bring neither partner the intended result. Clarissa does, however, discover a talent for writing by book's end, and a way out of her tawdry life.
Maslin, writing in the New York Times, noted that Grazer's book may "not be the most demanding reading, [but] neither is it dopey feminine fluff." For this critic, Grazer created a contemporary Becky Sharp of Vanity Fair, placed her in Beverly Hills, and "turned her scheming, striving maneuvers into hilarious mischief." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly felt that Grazer endowed her heroine with "just enough intelligence and spark to make her shameless antics deliciously entertaining." Time's Michele Orecklin likewise found the novel "funny, crude and knowing," and noted that Grazer "gently skewers rather than condemns" the type of woman Clarissa and her crew represent. People's Leah Rozen had restrained praise for the book and its author, noting that while Grazer "is not an especially artful writer, she's a funny one." Rebecca Sturm Kelm, however, found less to like in her Library Journal review of the book, commenting that Grazer's story "could work as a film, but it doesn't work as a novel." Audiences will have a chance to decide that question for themselves; Grazer's second novel was optioned in a one-million-dollar deal that includes a screenplay penned by Grazer.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 1, 2000, Diana Tixier Herald, review of Rescue Me: A Love Story, p. 1651; June 1, 2003, Kathleen Hughes, review of Maneater: A Novel, p. 1742.
Daily Variety, June 17, 2002, Jonathan Bing, review of Maneater, pp. 1-2.
Library Journal, May 15, 2003, Rebecca Sturm Kelm, review of Maneater, p. 124.
New York Times, December 24, 1998, Janet Maslin, review of Stepmom, p. 1; May 29, 2003, Janet Maslin, review of Maneater, p. 7.
People, June 30, 2003, Leah Rozen, review of Maneater, p. 41.
Publishers Weekly, April 24, 2000, review of Rescue Me, p. 58; May 12, 2003, review of Maneater, p. 40; August 4, 2003, review of Maneater, p. 20.
Time, June 6, 2003, Michele Orecklin, review of Maneater, p. 64.
Internet Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com/ (March 25, 2004).*