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Marielle Heller    

Writer, Actor & Director Known for "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" and "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood"

Marielle Stiles Heller is a film writer, director, and actor. She is the writer and director of the feature film The Diary of a Teenage Girl and the director of Can You Ever Forgive Me? and A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.

Heller studied theater at UCLA and then at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. After returning to the United States, she worked as an actor at the Magic Theatre, the American Conservatory Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, and the La Jolla Playhouse. She was in the world premiere of David Edgar’s "Continental Divide," directed by Tony Taccone. She also acted in shows "Spin City" and "Single Dads."

The Diary of a Teenage Girl was Heller's debut film, that she both wrote and directed. It is based on the 2002 graphic novel titled "The Diary of a Teenage Girl: An Account in Words and Pictures" by Phoebe Gloeckner, which she received as a Christmas present from her sister in 2006. The story's protagonist, Minnie, is a 15-year-old girl living in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1976 who begins an affair with her mother's 35-year-old boyfriend, Monroe. Heller was taken with Minnie's character, a young woman who is confident in her sexuality and, noting the lack of films that represent young women in such a way, she set to adapting the graphic novel to play.

With Gloeckner's blessing, she worked the script into a screenplay. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 24, 2015. The film received critical acclaim at Sundance and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize. The film also won the Grand Prix of the Generation 14plus at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2015. In 2016, the film was named Best First Feature at the Independent Spirit Awards.

Heller's writing credits include pilots for ABC and 20th Century Fox, and multiple screenplays and theatrical plays, including a pilot for ABC's "The Big Apple" and a movie for Disney, titled Renegade X.

Heller next directed 2018's Can You Ever Forgive Me? about literary forger and writer Lee Israel, based on the author's memoir. With a limited budget, filming a movie set in the 1990s was a challenge. She cast Melissa McCarthy in the title role based on the actress's performance in the 2014 film St. Vincent. They shot on location in bookstores where Israel had sold her forgeries, including the Argosy Bookstore and Westsider Rare & Used Books.

In 2019, Heller directed A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, a film that chronicles an interview Tom Junod conducted with child entertainer Fred Rogers for Esquire magazine, and how the encounter impacted the journalist's life. Tom Hanks, who portrays Mr. Rogers, agreed to join the project once Heller signed on as director, as they had met previously through Hank's son, Colin.


'A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood' Director Marielle Heller Signs ...

A Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood director Marielle Heller has signed a first- look overall TV deal with Big Beach, the film's producer, via her new production ...

Q&A: For 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?' director Marielle Heller, it's ...

Director Marielle Heller has returned to the scene of the crime: New York City's Argosy Book Store. To clarify: Not her crime, but the crimes of Lee Israel, ...

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