Study Guide

Brokeback Mountain Screenwriter

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Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana

Larry McMurtry is the king of the western, penning the epic Lonesome Dove series. And yet, he wears suspenders. What gives? Someone get this man a belt buckle fit for a cowboy.

When his writing partner read "Brokeback Mountain" in the New Yorker one morning, she knocked McMurtry's coffee from his hands, dumped his cereal in the trash, held his eyes open Clockwork Orange-style and forced him to read it. (We're imaging this is how it happened. All we know is that she loved it.)

They immediately optioned the rights to the film from Proulx and got to writing. Proulx said, "I don't see a movie here, but have at it," and Ossana said, "We'll show you, Proulx!" (We're paraphrasing.) Together, McMurtry and Ossana proved her wrong, making one of the most successful films of 2005.

Ossana and McMurtry stayed involved during most of the process, including finding a director and a cast. Their hard work was rewarded with an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Ossana shouting, "Told you so, Proulx!" was edited out of the live broadcast, but it happened…we wish.

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