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Williamson, Kevin (b. 1965)  
 
page: 1  2  

Williamson followed up Scream with another self-referential thriller, I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), directed by Jim Gillespie and loosely based on a novel by Lois Duncan. Characterized by the screenwriter as a "morality tale" and set within a small North Carolina fishing village, the film concerns four teenagers who make a secret pact to cover up a hit-and-run accident. Although the film did not garner the critical acclaim of Scream, it was nonetheless another commercial success for the writer.

Williamson also served as co-executive producer of Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998). He was originally hired to write the script for this sequel (also known as Halloween 7) directed by Steve Miner. Although his script was not used, a treatment he wrote for the film heavily influenced the final version.

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Williamson next wrote the script for The Faculty (1998), a science-fiction send-up directed by Robert Rodriguez, in which a group of high school students are convinced that their teachers have been taken over by evil space aliens. The film received rather tepid reviews, but found moderate success at the box office nonetheless.

The following year Williamson was given the opportunity to direct one of his own scripts, Teaching Mrs. Tingle (1999), which he had written while still a screenwriting student. The movie, a revenge fantasy centered on a group of high school seniors and their malicious history teacher, was scheduled for release shortly after the 1999 shooting deaths of students and teachers at Columbine High School. In deference to that event, the film's original title, Killing Mrs. Tingle, was changed. The film, however, met with derisive reviews and low ticket sales and was Williamson's first professional failure.

Looking to enter the lucrative world of television, Williamson had been working for several years on the creation of a television series that he had named Dawson's Creek. The show chronicled the complicated love lives of a group of teenagers in a small coastal town in North Carolina. In December 1995, Williamson pitched the idea to executives at the Fox Network, but it was rejected. Several months later he pitched the same idea to Time Warner's fledgling WB network, which immediately bought the show.

Dawson's Creek premiered on January 20, 1998 and was an immediate hit with its young core audience. Many reviews noted the show's sharp, smart, nearly hyper-articulate dialogue. As one critic remarked, "Instead of talking down" to the show's viewers, Williamson "compliments them. [He] shows teens a reflection of how they want to be seen: witty, urbane, and always armed with a perfectly barbed, sarcastic comeback."

Williamson introduced a gay theme into his semi-autobiographical series in October 1998 with the character Jack McPhee (played by Kerr Smith). Williamson explained in interviews that he did not want to make the gay theme "an open-and-shut one-episode situation." Instead, he wanted "to explore the complexities of a young man coming to terms with his homosexuality, very much the way I did in a small town."

Williamson left Dawson's Creek after its second season--although he returned to write the two-hour series finale which aired on May 14, 2003--to create a new show for ABC.

Williamson's new series, eventually titled Wasteland, premiered on October 7, 1999 and focused on a sextet of recent college graduates living in New York City. The group of friends included a character named Russell Baskind (played by Dan Montgomery Jr.), a gay soap opera actor struggling to come out of the closet. After airing only four episodes, the network canceled the show, due to low ratings and harsh reviews.

Williamson returned to television in 2002 with the mystery drama series Glory Days, set on a Northeastern vacation island. The show debuted on the WB network as a mid-season replacement on January 16, 2002, but was canceled two months later.

In 2005, Williamson wrote the screenplay for Cursed, a Wes Craven-directed horror film about young Los Angeles werewolves. The film was reportedly recast, reshot, and recut before being released to lackluster reviews.

Also in 2005, Williamson wrote the script for Venom, directed by John Gillespie, which tells the story of teenagers lost in the bayous of Louisiana, beset by a mysterious evil and voodoo spells. Released shortly after Hurricane Katrina devastated south Louisiana, the film seemed unfortunately prescient.

Williamson's latest project is the writing and producing of Hidden Palms, a television series for the CW network. Set in Palm Springs, the show is described as a coming-of-age drama about a troubled teen who moves into a gated community with his family and discovers several dark secrets about the neighborhood. The series is planned to be a mid-season replacement in 2007.

Williamson currently resides in Los Angeles.

Craig Kaczorowski

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arts >> Overview:  American Television, Drama

American television has made significant strides in its portrayal of homosexuals in dramatic series and movies, but cable networks have been more daring than the "big three" broadcast networks.

arts >> Overview:  Film

Since cinema began, Hollywood has been fascinated with finding ways of representing homosexuality.

arts >> Overview:  Film Directors

Gay, lesbian, and bisexual film directors have been a vital creative presence in cinema since the medium's inception over one hundred years ago.

arts >> Overview:  Horror Films

The monsters of horror films may frequently be read as mirrors of societal views of homosexuals as predatory, amoral, perverse, possessed of secret supernatural powers, and threatening to "normal life."

arts >> Overview:  Screenwriters

Although film may be a director's rather than a writer's medium, gay and lesbian screenwriters have made significant contributions to both mainstream and independent film.

arts >> Berlanti, Greg

Writer-director-producer Greg Berlanti has had a prolific career in television, successfully incorporating glbtq characters and storylines into prime time shows.

arts >> Star, Darren

Responsible for such pop culture touchstones as Beverly Hills, 90210, Melrose Place, and Sex and the City, writer-director-producer Darren Star has had a prolific career in television.


    Bibliography
   

Epstein, Jeffrey. "Outings on the Creek." The Advocate (March 16, 1999): 46.

_____. "Unbound." The Advocate (August 31, 1999): 34.

Krantz, Michael. "The Bard of Gen-Y." Time (December 15, 1997): 105-106.

La Franco, Robert. "Hollywood's Idea Moguls." Forbes (September 21, 1998): 208-216.

Mangels, Andy. From Scream to Dawson's Creek: An Unauthorized Take on the Phenomenal Career of Kevin Williamson. Los Angeles: Renaissance Books, 2000.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Kaczorowski, Craig  
    Entry Title: Williamson, Kevin  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2006  
    Date Last Updated August 9, 2006  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/arts/william_son_k.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright Copyright © 2006 glbtq, Inc.  
 

 

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