For Immediate Release
March 16, 2003
Writers of The Hours Honored with 15th Annual USC Scripter Award
LOS ANGELES - Author Michael Cunningham and screenwriter David Hare were honored on March 15 with the USC Scripter® Award for their portraits of three women living in very different times in the book and film The Hours. The soldout event drew a crowd of 400 and netted $150,000 for the Doheny Library Preservation Fund.
On hand to fete the writers were a number of Hollywood luminaries, including one of the stars of The Hours, Julianne Moore--who presented the Scripter crystal book to Cunningham--and selection committee chair Robert Towne (the Academy Award®-winning screenwriter of Chinatown), who presented Hare with his award. USC alumnus John Ritter emceed the evening, with comedy legend Hal Kanter serving as grand master of ceremonies. Cunningham related the story of how his seemingly unfilmable novel was made into a movie. Within 45 minutes after winning the Pulitzer Prize, he received a call from producer Scott Rudin, who wanted to option the book. Initially, Cunningham declined. "I would rather not see it filmed than be made into a bad movie," he recalls telling Rudin. His reluctance disappeared instantly when Rudin called back two days later to suggest the acclaimed playwright Sir David Hare as screenwriter.
Cunningham spoke with sadness about "one of the reasons Virginia Woolf put the stone in her pocket and drowned herself." She had lived through World War I and could not bear the onset of World War II. Sir David Hare described working on the adaptation of Michael Cunningham's novel as "a gift that I received that was a pure pleasure to work on these past three years. It was like light and happiness entering into my life. I can't tell you how moved I am by this award." The University of Southern California's Scripter Award was created to recognize both the author and screenwriter behind the year's best film adaptation of a book while raising visibility and support for the USC Libraries. The black-tie dinner honoring the winning writers was held in the Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library on the USC campus.
Among those in attendance were trustees of the university, film industry executives and talent, and friends and supporters of USC. Dean of the University Libraries and Chief Information Officer Jerry D. Campbell spoke about the significance of the Scripter Award to the USC Libraries and the Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library, which is both home to the award and recipient of its proceeds. Opened in 1932, Doheny Library is one of the university's oldest buildings and a Los Angeles historical landmark.
"Thank you for helping us preserve this great library as one of the preeminent cultural institutions in Los Angeles - and the academic heart of the city's first university," said Campbell. "Together we are ensuring that generations to come will never be at a loss for words."