J. F. Lawton
J. F. Lawton moved to the A-list with his script for Garry Marshall's blockbuster "Pretty Woman" (1990). While the original screenplay, entitled "3,000", was much darker, the final result, which played much like a fairy tale and was enhanced by Julia Roberts star-making turn, catapulted Lawton to the forefront. Yet, this was not his first screen credit. While studying film at CalState Long Beach, Lawton had won attention for his short films "The Artist" (1981) and "Renaissance" (1983). The California native, the son of novelist Harry Lawton, started his film career editing trailers for Cannon Films for $300 per week. Ever enterprising, he created a trailer for a feature he wanted to make which caught the attention of low-budget producer Charles Band. Band offered him the opportunity to write and direct. The result, "Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle" (1989), which Lawton filmed using the pseudonym J D Athens, was a take-off of both Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" and Francis Ford Coppola's feature "Apocalypse Now" (1979). Shot in less than two weeks and featuring Adrienne Barbeau and Shannon Tweed, the film became a cult favorite and late-night cable staple, although it did not really advance his career. Neither did his second effort, also credited to J D Athens, the political satire "Pizza Man" (1991).