After selling a script to "Family Ties" creator Gary David Goldberg in 1984, Marc Lawrence joined the staff of the beloved sitcom as a writer and later as a producer. Also the creator of the short-lived series "Pride & Joy" (NBC) and "Monty" (Fox), the screenwriter entered into features with the 1993 comedy "Life with Mikey," starring fellow "Family Ties" alumnus Michael J. Fox. An amiable but largely unsuccessful offering, "Life With Mikey" did not serve to break Lawrence into the big screen big time. Six years later, his screenwriting career took off, with three high-profile features released in 1999. "Force of Nature," a romantic comedy starring Ben Affleck and Sandra Bullock was a more unconventional offering by the screenwriter. With Bullock as the embodiment of Mother Nature, and Affleck as a husband-to-be caught in her storm, Lawrence's supernatural spin on standard themes was an interesting twist on the romantic comedy genre. With "The Out-of Towners," Lawrence already had a successful story, culled from Neil Simon's original, a comedy classic starring Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis. His challenge was to stay true to the spirit and theme of the film, while updating and adapting it enough that it would warrant an audience's reviewing. With a cast including Steve Martin, Goldie Hawn and John Cleese, Lawrence's script took a zanier comic approach. "Mickey Blue Eyes" was a gangster comedy featuring the unlikely screen pairing of Hugh Grant and James Caan. Set in New York City, the film featured Grant as a stuffy Manhattan art dealer who finds that his fiancee (Jeanne Tripplehorn) is the daughter of a Mafia boss (Caan). With a plot featuring schemes to launder money through Grant's art business, FBI agents on their trail and the inevitable clash between Grant and Caan's business associates, the film was largely well reviewed, critics noting Grant's strong performance and ease with the writer's words. Lawrence next hoped to serve as both executive producer and screenwriter on "Miss Congeniality," a thriller about an FBI agent who goes undercover as a beauty pageant contestant which has been in development for a number of years.