Born in Wellington, New Zealand, screenwriter Frances (Fran) Walsh has a parallel career to that of her longtime partner, director Peter Jackson. The two met in 1987, during post-production for the gross-out cult classic Bad Taste. Previous to that, she was a musician and scriptwriter for television shows. The two collaborated on the bizarre puppet movie Meet the Feebles, with Walsh contributing to the script and the score. They then teamed with writer Stephen Sinclair to craft the splatterfest Dead Alive, which remains one of the most gruesome comedies in history. Taking a major turn, their next film was the psychological drama Heavenly Creatures, a poignant story of a destructive friendship based on a true story. The film won the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival and earned an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
The team returned to horror comedy with the less successful The Frighteners, starring Michael J. Fox, before embarking on the enormous project of adapting J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings saga. With the help of writer Philippa Boyens, Walsh and Jackson whittled the massive story down to a trilogy of films. Walsh also acted as producer, composer, and second unit director for the series, and in 2004, when the the third installment of the trilogy swept the Oscars with 11 awards for 11 nominations, she, like her husband, found herself taking home three statuettes by the end of the night.