Hollywood screenwriter Michael France was discovered dead at his home on Friday. Here’s what you should know about France and his passing.
1. France Suffered from a Long-Term Illness
France, who wrote the screenplay for Ang Lee’s Hulk and the story for Goldeneye, died at age 51 at his St. Pete Beach, Florida, home. He was suffering from a longtime illness, his sister told the Tampa Bay Times. France suffered from diabetes that impaired his left arm and right leg. France was found comatose at his residence nine months ago by his sister, Suzanne France. She discovered his body Friday.
“He didn’t look that bad on Thursday night,” Suzanne France said Saturday. “He was sick, but I didn’t think he was as bad as he was the last time or I would have just called an ambulance. He was sitting up, he had good color, he was making jokes. Just sitting there on the couch with his dog.
France worked his way into the industry with the screenplay for Renny Harlin’s 1993 thriller Cliffhanger starring Sylvester Stallone.
2. His Sister Called Him a “Big, Intelligent Kid”
Suzanne France says her brother never changed much from when he was a boy. He still had comic books stacked from the floor to the ceiling in his bedroom:
If you went into his house … there’s a giant Hulk toy, and remember Lost in Space? He had the ‘Danger, Will Robinson’ robot. That’s what is sitting around. Everybody else would have coffee table books; he had movie posters and the Lost in Space robot. Mike was a big kid. A big, intelligent kid.
3. He Shared Screenwriting Credit for Cliffhanger, Goldeneye and Hulk
Michael France shared the screenwriting credit for Cliffhanger with John Long and Sylvester Stallone, the 1993 film’s star. In 1995 he wrote the 1995 James Bond movie Goldeneye with Bruce Feirstein and Jeffrey Caine. He was also a screenwriter for several of the Marvel Comics film adaptations, including The Punisher (2004), Ang Lee’s Hulk (2003) and Fantastic Four(2005).
4. France Bought the Theater Where He Watched Movies as a Kid
France, who was raised in St. Petersburg, Florida, bought the sunny city’s landmark Beach Theatre in 2007 for $800,000 — in cash. This is where he watched movies as a child. It closed down in 2012. His sister Suzanne France told the Tampa Bay Times, “He wanted to reopen the theater, wanted to start writing again. Obviously he didn’t think he was as sick as he was.”
5. France Recently Appeared to Present an Award
At the Gasparilla International Film Festival last month, France presented a career achievement award to The Punisher star Thomas Jane. They celebrated the movie’s 10th anniversary. The first time Jane and France met was at the red carpet in Ybor City.