Randall Wallace is an American screenwriter, director, producer, and songwriter who came to prominence by writing the screenplay for the historical drama film Braveheart (1995). His work on the film earned him a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and a Writers Guild of America Award in the same category. He has since directed films such as The Man in the Iron Mask (1998), We Were Soldiers (2002), Secretariat (2010) and Heaven Is for Real (2014).
Born in Jackson, Tennessee, he lived in Memphis and Henderson County, Tennessee before moving to Virginia. Wallace began writing stories at the age of seven. He graduated from E.C. Glass High School in Lynchburg, Virginia and attended Duke University, where he studied Russian, religion, and literature and was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. He put himself through a graduate year of seminary by teaching martial arts. Wallace holds a black belt in karate.
After managing an animal show at Nashville’s Opryland, Wallace moved to Hollywood to pursue a career in singing and songwriting. He began writing short stories, novels and scripts for movies. Wallace was taken under the wing of leading television producer Stephen J. Cannell and spent several years writing for television in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
He gained recognition and commercial success by penning the screenplay for Braveheart (1995), which was inspired by a trip to Scotland to learn more about his Scottish roots. While there, he discovered the legend of the medieval Scottish patriot William Wallace; he is not, however, related to William Wallace in any way. Braveheart became Wallace’s first screenplay to be produced, after drawing the interest of director and star, Mel Gibson. It ended up as one of the most successful films of 1995, earning the Academy Award for Best Picture and Academy Award for Best Director, with three additional wins. It further garnered another five Academy Award nominations, one Golden Globe Award and four BAFTA Awards.
Wallace made his directorial debut with his own screenplay in The Man in the Iron Mask (1998), starring Leonardo DiCaprio, John Malkovich, Gabriel Byrne, Jeremy Irons and Gérard Depardieu. Shortly after, he wrote the screenplay for Pearl Harbor (2001), directed by Michael Bay and starring Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett and Kate Beckinsale.
This was followed by Wallace’s second film as director We Were Soldiers (2002). Moved by its starkly honest account of a singular battle in the Vietnam War, Mel Gibson re-teamed with Wallace to star in the film. Wallace trained with career soldiers at U.S. Army Ranger School in order to understand the motivation of his characters.
Wallace directed Disney’s Secretariat (2010), the true story of the racehorse that won the Triple Crown in 1973. The film chronicled the struggles and courage of owner Penny Chenery-Tweedy, portrayed by Academy Award-nominated actress Diane Lane. Wallace also wrote the end title song, It’s Who You Are, which was released with the Secretariat soundtrack.
Wallace is also the New York Times bestselling author of seven novels and the lyricist of the acclaimed hymn "Mansions of the Lord", originally written for We Were Soldiers and performed as the recessional for President Ronald Reagan's national funeral.
He appeared in the seventh season of HBO’s hit comedy series Entourage as himself.
In addition to his work as a filmmaker, Wallace is the founder of Hollywood for Habitat for Humanity and the father of two sons. In 1999, he formed his own company, Wheelhouse Entertainment, which is focused on creating entertainment for worldwide audiences based on the classic values of love, courage and honor.
||Won—Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay|
|Nominated—Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay|
|Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay|
|1998||The Man in the Iron Mask||
||Nominated—Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Screenplay|
|2002||We Were Soldiers||
|2014||Heaven Is for Real||
||Sequel to The Passion of the Christ directed by Mel Gibson|