As son of famous American poet, critic and translator Robert Stuart Fitzgerald whose renderings of the Greek classics like Homer's The Odyssey and The Iliad became standard works in USA for a generation of scholars and students, Benedict first began to write what he thought were screenplays when he was in university (Harvard, class of 1971) that was when his interest in cinema took root.
He is the writer of the screenplay adaption of Flannery O' Connor's first novel Wise Blood. He and his brother Michael had agreed to work on the project together. The story is almost straight out of a motion picture dream. When the script was finished, they decided to mail it directly to John Huston – the legendary film director was semi-retired and living in Mexico. Three days after mailing the script to Huston, the director called and expressed his wish to direct the film. Michael moved heaven and earth to gather up enough financing to pay for the adventure. His and Benedict’s careers had begun. Michael went on to produce, Benedict to be a screenwriter.
With a legendary agent, Robbie Lantz, as guide, Benedict began to be hired as a writer.
Many of the assignments Fitzgerald took on were adaptations, or else vaguely related to literary figures. The pictures that ended up on large or small screens were often directed by fine, talented directors such as George Kaczender, Pat O’Connor, Jonathan Kaplan, Nicolas Roeg – the results mixed, some very successful commercially, others less so.
Fitzgerald co-wrote the screenplay for 2004 blockbuster THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST with it's director, Mel Gibson. The film, financed entirely by Gibson, turned into the most successful independent motion picture in history!
Opening weekend $83.848.082
Gross (US & Canada) $370.782.930
Gross (World) $612.054.428
Feb 25, 2004 (United States)
Nominated for 3 Oscar Awards. Another 31 wins & 21 nominations
The movie was able to record a box office success of 212 million dollars at the box office on the second weekend in the USA. The film thus achieved the third-best box-office result in the USA after twelve days. In addition, The Passion of the Christ was able to enter the top 50 most successful films in the USA already after the second weekend. After three days in German cinemas, over 200,000 visitors had seen the new Mel Gibson film The Passion of the Christ. On its launch weekend, the film reached between 38,000 and 40,000 viewers in Austria. In 2004, 1,349,020 Germans watched the film, which was re-released on March 24, 2005 with over 140 copies in German cinemas throughout Germany. About 67 million people in the USA saw the film. With a worldwide box-office takings of more than 612 million US dollars, The Passion of the Christ was able to enter the Top 100 of the most commercially successful films... According to Guinness Book of Records (Hamburg) in the 2006 edition, The Passion of the Christ is the most successful religious film of all time. The DVD and video version have also achieved record results to date. 2.5 million of a total of 15 million copies were sold in the USA on the first day! (Wikipedia)
Benedict has continued to write since that time. He has, for example, adapted one of the best known American short stories (A good Man is hard to find, by Flannery O’Connor) and other projects, some of his own, others by assignment. He is still very active, still the movie enthusiast he has always been.
Please direct all inquiries to lead agent and agency director Isabella Hirt: isabella(at)hirtagency.at.
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