Kirsten Smith (writer)

Kirsten "Kiwi" Smith (born August 12, 1970) is an American screenwriter and novelist whose credits include Legally Blonde and Ella Enchanted. She has written most of her screenplays with her screenwriter partner Karen McCullah. Most of the scripts seem to follow the girl Power movement of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Kirsten "Kiwi" Smith
Kirsten Smith (writer).jpg
Smith in 2011
Born (1970-08-12) August 12, 1970 (age 50)

Life and careerEdit

A native of Port Ludlow, Washington, she moved to Los Angeles in 1988 to attend Occidental College. There, she studied English and Film, and also got an internship at CineTel Films, an independent film company. Initially planning on pursuing poetry and academia as a career, she began working for CineTel reading scripts and writing coverage for them. This led to a full-time job there as a Director of Development in 1995; it was there she began pursuing screenwriting in earnest. One of the scripts she happened to read and cover was written by Karen Lutz, an aspiring writer living in Denver, Colorado. The two women formed a friendship over the phone, and when Lutz came to Los Angeles, they met in person, and began writing their first script on cocktail napkins that night. That script never sold, but it inspired the women to write together again, and they embarked on a teen comedy called 10 Things I Hate About You, inspired by William Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew.

Smith got her official start as a screenwriter in 1997 by selling 10 Things I Hate About You as a spec screenplay. Shortly thereafter, the movie was green-lit, starring then-unknowns Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles, and it was shot in Tacoma, Washington, near Smith's hometown.

Smith went on to co-write Legally Blonde, which was nominated for two Golden Globes. Costing only $18M to produce, the movie was a surprise hit, grossing $20M in its opening weekend in July 2001, and going on to make over $140M worldwide. It also spawned a sequel and a successful Broadway musical, which was a based on Smith and Lutz’s screenplay.

Smith followed that with Ella Enchanted, starring Anne Hathaway, and She's the Man, a DreamWorks update of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, starring Amanda Bynes.

In 2008 she wrote and directed a short film,[1] The Spleenectomy, which starred Anna Faris and was financed and produced by Glamour magazine. She also co-wrote and executive produced The House Bunny, starring Anna Faris, and produced by Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions. It grossed just shy of $50M domestically. Her latest credit is The Ugly Truth, directed by Legally Blonde collaborator Robert Luketic and starring Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler.

Her first film as a non-writing producer, Whip It!, starred Ellen Page and was directed by Drew Barrymore, and she also produced American Virgin in 2009, starring Jenna Dewan and Rob Schneider.

Having published more than 40 poems in various literary magazines in the 1990s, Smith published her first novel-in-verse, The Geography of Girlhood, in 2006. The coming-of-age story of a teenage girl growing up in the Pacific Northwest, it contains a smattering of the poems Smith wrote and published in her early twenties.



  • The Geography of Girlhood (2006) – ISBN 978-0-316-01735-0
  • Trinkets (2013) – ISBN 978-0316457620
  • Misfit City: Volume One (2018) – ISBN 978-1-68415-027-4
  • Misfit City: Volume Two (2018) – ISBN 978-1-68415-172-1



Screenplays (unproduced)Edit


External linksEdit