Writer, director, and producer Audrey Wells had her first breakthrough as the screenwriter and executive producer of Michael Lehmann's The Truth About Cats and Dogs (1996). A romantic comedy starring Janeane Garofalo, Uma Thurman, and Ben Chaplin, the film was a surprise hit, and it opened a number of doors for Wells, who had struggled as a scriptwriter in Hollywood for a number of years.
A native of San Francisco, where she was born in 1961, Wells earned her master's degree in film production at UCLA. Initially setting out to produce, in her words, "documentary films that would change the world," she eventually segued into script writing. Her first two scripts, called "Radio Free Alaska" and "Democracy," were both all set to be made into films, but their respective deals ultimately fell through. It was only when Wells approached Michael Lehmann, an old family friend and the director of Heathers to direct a script she was writing called The Truth About Cats and Dogs that her luck began to change. Inspired by Wells' three-years stint as a disk jockey at a San Francisco radio station, as well as her own experiences as someone who had grown up being dissatisfied with her looks, The Truth About Cats and Dogs was a modest hit, and it earned a number of raves, particularly for Wells' insightful, sharply-written script, which contained a number of prescient observations about the nature of beauty and intelligence.
Wells next provided the script for the George of the Jungle, a 1997 adaptation of Jay Ward's cartoon series that starred Brendan Fraser as its eponymous, poorly-coordinated hero. Following her work on the film, Wells stepped behind the camera to make her feature directorial debut with Guinevere (1999), which she also wrote. The story of a young, affluent woman (Sarah Polley) who becomes involved with a middle-aged photographer (Stephen Rea), the film was a hit on the independent circuit, with Wells earning the Sundance Festival's Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award for her script. Following the unanticipated success Guinevere, Wells was recruited to provide the script for Disney's The Kid (2000), a comedy starring Bruce Willis as an unhappy businessman who meets and learns valuable lessons from a younger version of himself.
In 2003, Wells took her sophomore turn behind the camera, directing the romantic-comedy Under the Tuscan Sun. The film, which Wells also wrote and produced, was a sleeper hit and earned star Diane Lane a Golden Globe nomination. Following the success of Under the Tuscan Sun, two Wells-scripted films, Shall We Dance and Raising Helen hit the big-screen in 2004.