1 - The theatre, the TV and the Oscars
After taking theatre courses in Georgia, then Florida, Alan Ball moved to New York at the start of the 1990s. There he wrote several pieces including Five Women Wearing the Same Dress, in 1993, and Made for a Woman, in 1994. It wasn’t long before Hollywood called him across the continent, much to his jubilation. He started working as a tv scriptwriter with a handful of unpretentious series:Cybill which recounted the adventures of a failed actress and the sitcom Oh Grow Up. Then in 1992, the Long Island Lolita, Amy Fisher, fatally injured the wife of her lover, Joey Buttafuoco. She was only 17. Alan Ball seized on this much mediatised event and subsequently wrote the script for American Beauty, a full-length feature film that mixed innocence and predatory charm. Behind the façade of the bourgeoise house belonging to Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) and his wife Carolyn (Annette Benning), unravels a tragi-comedy that leads inevitably to death… Alan Ball’s first attempt at movies was a huge success: American Beauty, directed by Sam Mendes, received the Oscar and Golden Globe for best script in 2000. A nice start.