The Amazin’ Grace Story
Paula had an idea for a movie and started to write a screenplay in the summer of 1989. The story was about a homeless women, Grace, living on the streets of New York City. Grace had lived in the south and was harboring a deep secret. She befriends a young priest and a well-to-do woman from the neighborhood. The story ends with Grace coming to terms with the accidental deaths of her children in a fire that she started in a drunken state.
After two years of working on the many drafts Paula felt she had final working treatment worthy of taking it to the next level.
At that time Paula naively thought that the best course of action was to obtain a list of agents and send unsolicited copies of the screenplay for their perusal.
Paula heard back from a few agents with the usual thanks-but-no-thanks form letters. Paula eventually shelved the project and turned her attention to working in the theatre.
Many years later Paula received a call from a friend whom had been intimately involved with the Grace screenplay. She had read the many drafts of the treatment and was a good sounding board for Paula.
The friend offered congratulations and wanted to know why Paula didn’t tell her that the Grace screenplay was turned into a made-for-television movie. She had recently watched a rerun of the movie Face of a Stranger. The movie, which stared Tyne Daily and Gena Rowlands, was about a woman who lives on the city streets befriends a well-to-do woman from the neighborhood and was harboring a deep secret about killing her children in a fire.
This caught Paula as a complete surprise. She found out that the screenplay was credited to Marsha Norman. Yes, that Marsha Norman of ’night, Mother fame. Many years later with information readily available on the internet and IMDB Paula was able to learn that the filming of Face of a Stranger took place the same year Paula sent out her screenplay. So there was no way one knew about the other. The moral of this story? Great minds think alike!
Many years later Paula returned to the Grace screenplay and turned it into a one-act stage play.