Messenger - Vol. 1, No. 3, Page 22
Spring 1992
Alumni Profile; Screenwriter's pen dips into her past

     Call Laurice Elehwany a natural. A novice screenwriter, her
script, My Girl, was developed into a movie that's a box-office hit,
grossing more than $50 million to date.
     Elehwany moved to Los Angeles in 1989 to enroll in the American
Film Institute. Less than a year later, at age 25, she sold My Girl to
Columbia Pictures.
     Starring Macauley Culkin, Dan Ackroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis and
newcomer Anna Chlumsky, the movie centers around Vada, a young girl
played by Chlumsky, and her best friend, played by Culkin, and Vada's
reaction to her friend's unexpected death from a bee sting. Set in a
small town in Pennsylvania in the 1970s, the script incorporates bits
of Elehwany's own childhood, from playing with Barbie dolls to
watching "The Brady Bunch" on television.
     "I really wasn't a part of the industry until the script sold,"
says the 1986 Delaware graduate. My Girl opened doors for her to meet
directors, producers and other movie executives. Paramount has hired
Elehwany to write a script based on a family reunion set on Maryland's
Eastern Shore, where she spent her teenage years. "I don't kill off
any 11-year-old boys in this one. No one will die," she says.
     Elehwany sees herself one day writing television drama/comedy
shows such as Northern Exposure and The Wonder Years.
     "I grew up watching TV," she says. "I think I know more about TV
than film, actually. My friends actually laughed at me when I got
accepted into film school because I'd just never gone to the movies."
     Script ideas come spontaneously. "I'll read a book and it will
just pop into my mind, or I'll be watching TV and something will just
grab me. And then I'll feel compelled to base a whole script around
     Elehwany shares ideas and scripts with members of a writers group
she formed while at the American Film Institute. "When your writing is
going well, you're usually helping the other person, or vice versa. I
don't write in a vacuum, although there are a lot of writers who do."
     Although not revealing the windfall from selling My Girl,
Elehwany confirmed that script prices before the recession ranged from
$100,000 to $1 million. Writers also are paid for rewrites and receive
residual income from video sales and rentals and cable and network TV
     From the time she sold My Girl, to its release last November, she
got a first-hand education on movie-making.
     "Many hands have touched the script by the time you see it in the
theatre. I sort of see now why a lot of writers become directors, just
to preserve their original script."
     But Elehwany says she wouldn't have done anything differently.
"This really was a big break. I've got my foot in the door now. I
learned a lot for the next time around."
                                        -Bill Clark, Delaware '82