New York Times bestselling author Randall Wallace is not your typical storyteller. His epic tales of love, loyalty and heroism, including Braveheart and Pearl Harbor, transcend race, religion, and creed. When Wallace writes a story, he doesn’t just imagine his heroes; he tries to walk their path. Preparing to adapt and direct the film We Were Soldiers, he trained with career soldiers at the U.S. Army Ranger School, going through swamp missions and hand-to-hand combat war exercises.
His first memories of writing are as a child in his grandmother’s country store in Tennessee. He recalls scribbling stories on his makeshift desk of pig feed sacks, while eavesdropping on the farmers who came and went.
Wallace studied literature, religion, and Russian history at Duke University before putting himself through seminary by teaching karate. His first novel, The Russian Rose, was written and submitted to publishers without the help of a literary agent; G.P. Putnam’s Sons published the work in 1980 to critical praise.
The Baton Rouge Sunday Magazine said, "The novel shows an amazing ability for a newly fledged author. His characterization is almost flawless." Wallace followed with So Late into the Night (Doubleday, 1983), which met with even stronger reviews; the Arizona Republic described the writing as "elegant prose reminiscent of the best of Robert Penn Warren."
Wallace spent the next four years writing his first drafts of Love and Honor. After completing 1,600 pages of manuscript, he shelved the novel to work as a television writer and producer at Stephen J. Cannell Productions, where he co-created several broadcast series.
Two more novels followed, Blood of the Lamb (Bantam Books, 1990) and Where Angels Watch (Bantam Books, 1992), before Wallace went back to work on Love and Honor, this time as his first motion picture screenplay. That screenplay garnered praise in Hollywood circles and ultimately led Wallace to write Braveheart (Paramount Pictures, 1996), a film that earned five Academy Awards and was praised by The New York Times as "One of the most spectacular entertainments in years." Wallace won the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay and received Golden Globe and Oscar nominations, as well. Wallace’s novel of Braveheart (Pocket Books, 1995) was a literary success and became required reading in Scottish schools.
Wallace made his directorial debut with The Man in the Iron Mask (MGM, 1998), from his own screenplay adaptation, an irreverent and radically different take on the oft-told Three Musketeers’ tale. Gathering a lauded ensemble cast including Leonardo DiCaprio, Gerard Depardieu, John Malkovich, Gabriel Byrne and Jeremy Irons, Wallace’s ambitious first effort was produced on a small budget, yet grossed $162 million worldwide.
Wallace then wrote the New York Times bestselling novel Pearl Harbor (Hyperion, 2001), along with the original screenplay for the film of the same title. He then turned his attention to adapting, producing, and directing the critically acclaimed film We Were Soldiers (Paramount Pictures, 2002), starring Mel Gibson, about the first major battle of the Vietnam war. The New York Times lauded We Were Soldiers: "Like the best war movies -- and like martial literature going back to the Iliad -- it balances the dreadful, unassuageable cruelty of warfare and the valor and decency of those who fight." In tribute to the fallen soldiers of the Vietnam War, Wallace co-wrote the haunting hymn, Mansions of the Lord, for the film’s credit sequence, which has gained widespread use at military funerals and memorial services including President Ronald Reagan’s state funeral.
Again, Wallace returned to writing Love and Honor and, after a 20-year journey, he completed the epic novel of an American secret agent’s treacherous journey into the court of Imperial Russia’s Catherine the Great.
Simon & Schuster is publishing Love and Honor in September. Wallace’s company, Wheelhouse Entertainment, will produce the film adaptation, with Angelina Jolie playing the role of Catherine.
In addition to his work as an author/filmmaker, Randall Wallace is the founder of Hollywood for Habitat for Humanity. This entertainment industry partnership with Habitat for Humanity International works toward the goal of eliminating poverty housing worldwide. Thus far Hollywood for Habitat for Humanity has helped build more than 150 homes in Los Angeles, New York City, Virginia, Nepal, South Africa, Mexico, Egypt and Armenia.
Wallace lives in Los Angeles with his two sons.