Khouri, Callie (Ann) 1957-
KHOURI, Callie (Ann) 1957-
PERSONAL: Born November 27, 1957, in San Antonio, TX; daughter of Eli, Jr. (a surgeon) and Virginia Mae (a homemaker; maiden name, Uland) Khouri; married David Weaver Warfield (a writer and producer), June 2, 1990. Education: Attended Purdue University; studied at Strasburg Institute.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o International Creative Management, 8942 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90211.
CAREER: Screenplay writer, film producer, and author of nonfiction. Producer (with Dean O'Brien) of film Thelma and Louise, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Pathe, 1991; director of film Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, 2002. Formerly worked as an actor, theater apprentice, and waiter in Nashville, TN; produced music videos for performers Robert Cray, Alice Cooper, and the Commodores; worked as a production company receptionist in Los Angeles, CA; also worked as a lecturer.
MEMBER: Hollywood Women's Political Committee, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (member of advisory board), Women's Media Watch Project.
AWARDS, HONORS: Academy Award for best original screenplay, Golden Globe Award, and Writers Guild of America West Award, all 1991, all for Thelma and Louise; Glamour Woman of the Year award, 1991; Feminist of the Year Award, Feminist Majority Foundation, 1991; U.S. West Literary Award, PEN Center West, and Matrix Award, New York Women in Communication, both 1992.
Thelma and Louise, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Pathe, 1991.
Something to Talk About, Warner Bros., 1995.
Thelma and Louise and Something to Talk About: Screenplays, Grove Press (New York, NY), 1996.
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (based on the book by Rebecca Wells), Warner Bros., 2002.
Contributor to books, including Zen and the Art of Screenwriting, by William Froug, Silman-James Press (Los Angeles, CA), 1996.
SIDELIGHTS: Callie Khouri has written the screenplays for the controversial 1991 Academy Award winning film Thelma and Louise as well as for the 1995 film Something to Talk About. She also adapted Rebecca Wells's bestselling novel Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood as a film which appeared in theaters during the summer of 2002.
Khouri's best-known work, Thelma and Louise, is the story of two female friends from Arkansas whose weekend road trip in a 1966 Thunderbird convertible spins out of control. Thelma, played by Geena Davis, is a homemaker trapped in an unhappy marriage to an abusive husband. Louise, played by Susan Sarandon, is an emotionally scarred waitress with her own relationship troubles. The trip begins innocently enough, until Louise shoots and kills a thug at a roadside honky-tonk who tries to rape the outgoing Thelma. Running from the incident, the two women suddenly find themselves fugitives from the law, committing more crimes and setting the scene for the film's dramatic finale.
Newsweek contributor Jack Kroll remarked that Thelma and Louise initially "seems like an obvious feminizing of male-buddy road movies," but the latter part of the film "churns up terrific momentum, and the writing and direction fuse into a genuine pop myth about two women who discover themselves through the good old American ways of cars and criminality." In an online interview with Khouri on SydField.com, Syd Field noted: "Thelma and Louise has been one of my favorite teaching films. It has great structure . . . great visuals . . . great direction by Ridley Scott . . . but what really grabbed me was the depth of the two characters." Writing in Entertainment Weekly, Ty Burr praised the film's "superior writing, acting, and directing," while in Commonweal contributor Richard Alleva called Khouri "talented and usually inventive," and deemed her screenplay for Thelma and Louise a "juicy script." Calling the film a "cultural milestone," Alleva concluded that Thelma and Louise "is the first feminist film that is also a work of absolute nihilism. Dismayingly, undeniably, it's a lot of fun, too." Responding to the controversy surrounding the female-perpetrated violence in Thelma and Louise, Khouri told Time contributor Janice C. Simpson: "This is an adventure film. It's a film about women outlaws. People should just relax."
In Something to Talk About Khouri introduces Grace King Bichon, a wealthy Southern woman who learns that her husband is having an affair. New Republic contributor Stanley Kauffmann called the film "a flossy rich-people romance about a horsey Southern family" that contains "irresolute writing." Reviewing the movie for New York, David Denby remarked that "Khouri has a knack for creating pungent women" and deemed Something to Talk About "a good movie about the way powerful families give you life and squeeze it out of you at the same time."
Khouri's 2002 film adaptation, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, "boasts rock-solid performances, witty writing and Grande dame helpings of Southern comfort," according to Ellen Futterman in her review for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Mick LaSalle noted in his San Francisco Chronicle appraisal that the film exhibits "freshness" in its exploration of the relationship between a mother and her daughter. As the film opens, Sidda Lee Walker has truthfully discussed her unpleasant childhood with a reporter from Time. Her mother, Vivi, is deeply insulted by Sidda's comments and refuses to speak with her. In an attempt to reconcile the two parties, Vivi's lifelong friends, the Ya-Yas, kidnap Sidda and reveal the circumstances of Vivi's life to her daughter.
Khouri's directoral debut earned somewhat mixed reviews. Film Journal International's Shirley Sealy called Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood "lively, daft, and . . . energized," adding that Khouri's version of the novel by Rebecca Wells "has been considerably restructured from the book, and the changes by writer-director Callie Khouri . . . are all to the good." Sealy felt that the movie would be enjoyed by men and women alike. Richard Schickel of Time remarked that the tragic components of the novel are lost in the attempt to produce "an all-forgiving comedy," while Guardian contributor Peter Bradshaw described the film as "cloying." "Screenwriter Khouri has clearly worked overtime to try to make the modern story and flashbacks reinforce one another," wrote Todd McCarthy in his Variety review. "Khouri's direction, however, is less focused," McCarthy added. In a Christian Century review, John Petrakis stated: "Divine Secrets is a tale of forgiveness. What is remarkable about the film is the plethora of moral themes and ethical dilemmas that the filmmakers manage to cram into it."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Christian Century, June 26, 1991, pp. 656-657; July 3, 2002, John Petrakis, review of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, p. 43.
Commonweal, September 13, 1991, pp. 513-515.
Daily Variety, June 6, 2002, Shalini Dore and Jill Feiwell, "Secrets Revealed," p. 35.
Entertainment Weekly, January 10, 1992, pp. 73-74; April 10, 1992, p. 8; February 2, 1996, pp. 64-66; June 14, 2002, Rebecca Ascher-Walsh, p. 24.
Film Journal International, June, 2002, Shirley Sealy, review of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, p. 35.
Glamour, August, 1991, p. 142; December, 1991, pp. 78-83.
Guardian, September 27, 2002, Peter Bradshaw, review of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, p. 19.
Houston Chronicle, June 5, 2002, "Divine Inspiration," p. 2.
Los Angeles Times, June 4, 2002, Patrick Goldstein, review of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, p. F1; June 7, 2002, Kenneth Turan, review of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, p. F1.
Maclean's, August 14, 1995, p. 55.
New Republic, September 11, 1995, pp. 26-27.
Newsweek, May 27, 1991, pp. 59-60; August 7, 1995, p. 60.
New York, August 14, 1995, pp. 42-43; June 10, 2002, Peter Rainer, review of Divine Secrets, pp. 108-109.
People, June 23, 1997, p. 45.
Premiere, December, 1991, p. 133; October, 2001, Laura Morice, review of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, p. 67.
Rolling Stone, April 18, 1991, pp. 97-98.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 7, 2002, Ellen Futterman, review of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, p. E2.
San Francisco Chronicle, November 8, 2002, Mick LaSalle, review of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, p. D8.
Sight and Sound, Gilda Williams, review of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, p. 43.
Time, June 24, 1991, pp. 52-56; August 14, 1995, p. 67; June 10, 2002, Richard Schickel, review of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, p. 70.
US Weekly, June 17, 2002, Andrew Johnston, review of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, p. 62.
Variety, March 30, 1992, p. 17; May 13, 2002, Todd McCarthy, review of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, pp. 27-28.
Salon.com,http://www.salon.com/ (June 7, 2002), Stephanie Zacharek, review of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.
SydField.com,http://www.sydfield.com/ (May 12, 2003), interview with Khouri.*