About James Bruner & Elizabeth Stevens
James was fresh off the cheese truck from Wisconsin, had $8.43 in the bank and was working odd jobs, like picking up after the guard dogs at a mini-storage facility before it opened for the day, when he sold his first screenplay, AN EYE FOR AN EYE. The picture starred CHUCK NORRIS and was a success. He thought that he had finally made it in Hollywood. Besides being excited to meet Elizabeth at the film’s cast and crew screening, he was sure that the phone would start ringing off the hook any second now…
Fast forward to two years later…he was still with Elizabeth, but the phone hadn’t rung. He was down to his last few dollars…again. Then, Elizabeth ran into Chuck Norris at a screening she was invited to and Chuck asked for James’ phone number. She knew Chuck from taking her daughter to one of his karate schools. He would hang out with her whenever there was a belt test.
Chuck wanted to do a movie about American soldiers Missing In Action in Vietnam and wanted James to write it…on spec. James wrote the script for Chuck, and CANNON FILMS bought it, then produced it. After MISSING IN ACTION was a Number One hit at the box office, James became one of Cannon’s go-to writers, and script doctors. Working for Cannon was James’ film school. Among other hit films, he wrote INVASION USA and THE DELTA FORCE.
Elizabeth went to most of the meetings and had always been involved in the background on the Cannon pictures, both as a muse and an insightful story editor. She was a popular actress and singer, doing everything from live performances, jingles for the radio, publishing demos for Glen Campbell to session work. One of Elizabeth’s singing sessions lead to a Number One hit song. It was a buy-out and came out under the group name of BOYS TOWN GANG, so no fame or fortune, but it sure was fun to hear it on the radio and on television.
When Cannon started winding down, James asked Elizabeth to write a spec screenplay with him. She was reluctant at first, but finally agreed to give it a try.
Legendary gentleman producer RICHARD D. ZANUCK (JAWS, COCOON, DRIVING MISS DAISY, PLANET OF THE APES, etc.) read James and Elizabeth’s spec script. He loved their writing and invited them to pitch him some stories that they could do with The Zanuck Company.
Richard flipped over their pitch for PRETTY BOY FLOYD, a story about the legendary Oklahoma outlaw, based on their original research, and hired them to write the screenplay. FLOYD was Elizabeth’s first paid screenwriting job and the beginning of their collaboration in film, television and books – and, by the way, it has almost been made three times by some heavy hitters in the business. They are looking forward to getting the film produced in honor of the late Richard Zanuck, who has a special place in their hearts.
James and Elizabeth moved into the world of television to write ICE DREAMS, a romantic drama Movie of the Week, set in the world of figure skating, for THE HALLMARK CHANNEL. The film was nominated for the $100,000 Epiphany Prize for Television by MovieGuide.org.