In 1996, screenwriter Randall Wallace won an Academy Award for his work on Braveheart. Since then, he’s gone on to write a number of films, including The Man in the Iron Mask, Peal Harbor and We Were Soldiers. But somehow the story of William Wallace, a common man who led the Scots in a war against England, stayed with him.
In his new book, Braveheart Life, Wallace reflects on the lessons about his own life while he explored his ancestor’s story of sacrifice and bravery.
We caught up with the author to learn more about his literary journey and how he’s putting some of his revelations into practice.
Congratulations on the book. Is it like having a film out? Are you paying attention to the responses or is it just something you have done and moved on with?
No, I’m really excited about it. The publisher has given me a level of interest that I have not known before, and I am really excited about the book. It’s highly personal and means a lot to me as an exploration, as well.
It’s about trying to figure out how you can build a brave heart right in modern times—how can anybody do that. Those are powerful questions for me. This sort of gets me to focus on those issues, and I’m excited about it.
What inspired you to explore those questions in a book rather than screenplay?
Well, I wanted to talk about the stories of my own personal life, the people who inspired me to the career that I have and the kind of life I try to lead. And those stories aren’t superficial—they’re powerfully personal.
Both my father and my mother have passed away now, and their lives seem so victorious. And when I look at Braveheart being at the 20th anniversary and that it’s still such a relevant movie for so many people, I wanted to explore that in the book in the perfect way.
You mention your friends and your family. How have they responded to this project?
The surprising thing for me is that they were shocked that anybody wanted to tell their own story. Like my friend from Afghanistan, he was flattered, but his feeling was “Why would anyone care about my life? My life isn’t interesting,” whereas his life has been a huge inspiration to me.
My mother and father would have said the same thing, that they saw their lives as normal and something they would care about but that nobody else would, not seeing their lives as an architecture that anybody could follow and be inspired by.
Do you feel this is a particular talent for you, finding this creative spirit in people that maybe they don’t recognize in themselves?
Yes. I think the most effective people have that kind of humility. They’re not doing things for their own personal glory, and because they’re not, their lives are glorious.
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