Writer Bridget Carpenter Announces Two New Projects
Producer/Writer Bridget Carpenter won her Princess Grace Award in 1997 while working as a playwright in Minnesota. Six years later, Bridget made a remarkable professional leap—and was living the dream: She moved to Los Angeles and scored her first television gig, writing for Showtime’s Dead Like Me. But it was after landing NBC’s small town drama Friday Night Lights in 2005, that Bridget felt her life transformed forever. Since then, Bridget has cemented her place in Hollywood, becoming the Showrunner for Sundance TV’s The Red Road, and working with heavy hitters like Mission Impossible Producer, J.J. Abrams.
How did Friday Night Lights change your life?
When I got Friday Night Lights - that’s when I really fell in love with television and how emotionally impactful it can be. Before that point, TV never had that effect on me. You can have your heart broken 1,000 times by a play, but until Friday Night Lights I had never experienced that in television. From the very first episode, I had this incredibly emotional connection with its characters. That show just had magic fairy dust sprinkled all over it.
What’s your secret to picking the perfect project?
I have an addiction to learning new things. I strongly believe that it’s always good to be a beginner at something. That’s how I ended up doing The Red Road. I was working on Parenthood for a while, and getting very comfortable. During that time Sundance asked me to meet The Red Road’s writer, Aaron Guzikoswki. I read the script and was captivated. I loved the world that Aaron created so much so that I became the Showrunner/Executive Producer for the first time in my career. It was definitely a high learning curve, but worth it. It’s a beautiful show.
What’s next for you?
I’m actually returning to my roots writing the book for the upcoming Disney musical, Freaky Friday. I was a huge fan of the book when I was younger and I'm planning to bring more of its voice to the stage than you saw in the many, many film versions. I am also set to write the mini-series adaptation of Stephen King's bestselling 11 22 63 for Bad Robot, JJ Abram’s Production Company. I am a lifelong fan fo Stephen King and so this is like my dream job.
How has becoming a Princess Grace Awards winner impacted your life?
I’ve run into so many other (Princess Grace) Awards winner over the years. I’ve met the brilliant sound designer Darren L. West, Anna D. Shapiro, Tina Landau, Rachel Hauk, Alex Torra, Michael Garces, Reza Abdoh and Susan Fenischell, who directed my play at Actors Theatre of Louisville. There is a lot of theater camaraderie between us all. The award absolutely changed my life. It came at that critical time when critical appraise and financial support didn’t always come hand in hand. It gave me a real sense of freedom in the confidence that it gives you to stay true to yourself and your vision.
After all these years in Hollywood, what’s your most memorable star struck encounter?
I am a tremendous fan of Louis C.K. The way he depicts being both a parent and a working artist on his FX show Louis is simple, profound and incredibly moving and funny. I was so impressed. When I was at the Emmy Awards a few years ago, I was very pregnant, I saw him. I told my husband I have to go talk to him. So I took my baby belly over to him and babbled at him for a few minutes. He was extremely kind to me and humored my brief fan-girl moment.
April 25, 2014