The dramas of life unfold in the works of playwright Stephen Metcalfe

Stephen Metcalfe’s career has touched all forms of dramatic writing —screen, television and stage. His first screenplay was “Jacknife” starring Robert De Niro, Ed Harris and Kathy Bates directed by David Jones. The adaptation of French director Jean-Claude Tachella’s “Cousin-Cousine” followed, directed by Joel Schumacher and starring Ted Danson, Isabella Rossellini, William Peterson, Sean Young and Lloyd Bridges.

In the early ‘90s, Metcalfe took the darkly realistic, “3000” and turned it into “Pretty Woman” starring Julia Robert and Richard Gere directed by Garry Marshall.

Numerous rewrites followed. Among them “Arachnophobia,” “It Could Happen to You,” “The Air Up There,” “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” “The Marrying Man” and “Dangerous Minds.”

Metcalfe has adopted both stage plays and novels. His play, “Emily,” was done for Paramount Pictures. “Time Flies,” by Paul Link, was adopted for producer Laura Ziskin. A.R. Gurney’s “The Old Boy,” was written for Touchstone Pictures, and Peter Mayle’s comic novel, “Anything Considered,” was done for producer Stanley Jaffe and Sony Pictures.

In 2002, Metcalfe wrote and directed the independent film “Beautiful Joe” starring Sharon Stone and Billy Connolly.

His stage plays include “Loves & Hours,” “Vikings,” “Strange Snow,” “Sorrows and Sons,” “Pilgrims,” “Half a Lifetime,” “Emily,” “White Linen,” “Divirtimenti,” “The Incredibly Famous Willy Rivers,” and “White Man Dancing.” His television credits are also numerous.

What brought you to La Jolla?

I first came to San Diego in the spring of 1985 to work on a play at the Old Globe Theatre. They put me up in a cottage in Ocean Beach. I was taken on a lobster run to Puerto Nuevo. Someone bought me a Hawaiian shirt. Needlesstosay it was just a little bit different from Connecticut where I’d grown up and from New York City where I’d spent the last nine years.

I fell in love with the weather, the ocean, carne asada. I had a production at the Globe each year for the next several years and the love affair continued.

In 1987, my wife and I rented a small backyard cottage in La Jolla; one tiny bedroom, wooden deck bigger than the house, pepper tree that dropped a ton of pods on the house and deck every day.

Rumor had it the place had once been a getaway of Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford. I think this was a rumor started by the owner. This cottage was intended to be an interim stop on our way to Los Angeles where I was now working in the film industry.

We’d begun looking for places in L.A. when my wife suggested we look around La Jolla as well, “just to see what’s here,” she said. I think she’d already found the house we live in to this day.

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in the area?

I miss that great old movie theater that used to be on Girard. I’d like it back. It would be a wonderful second-run house; a place where movies of all kinds that had finished their initial run at the multiplex could come and hang out for a while.

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