Joe Randazzo – A Writer to Keep Your Eye On

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For Immediate Release 4/15/14
Julie Morse

Out of the Box, a screenplay by Joe Randazzo based on Julie C. Morse’s book, Out of the Box: The Mostly True Story of a Mysterious Man (IUniverse 2012), has been named a finalist in the prestigious Beverly Hills Film Festival in the Screenplay Competition category. The 2014 Festival will be held in Los Angeles in late April with the red-carpet Awards Gala on Sunday, April 27. Randazzo’s screenplay competed with literally thousands of other entries for the honor bestowed on but a few dozen finalists, now competing for the ultimate award at the Festival.

Julie Morse, of Lake Bluff, Illinois, released Out of the Box as a creative non-fiction book in 2012 to positive reviews and press – and one of those who loved the book was TV producer and on-air personality Kathryn Raaker. She flew Morse and the book’s real-life hero, now-octogenarian Bob Harris, to her studios for a two-segment interview. Raaker became an advocate for the story, which chronicles Bob’s highly out-of-the-box life as box salesman, world adventurer and State Department fly-on-the-wall – as told from the perspective of his plucky, health-challenged teen niece and travel companion, Julianna.

Raaker sent the book to friend and actor/producer Joe Estevez, of the Estevez/Sheen family of Hollywood fame, who in turn introduced Morse to Joe Randazzo of Los Angeles and New York. Estevez personally endorsed Randazzo as an up-and-coming talent whom he had recently worked with on a film, and believed in wholeheartedly as a screenwriter of great promise. Morse contracted the young writer to adapt the book into a screenplay – and, as fate would have it, Randazzo came to be in Illinois on another film project for most of 2013. That meant both writers were able to often brainstorm in person on the project, along with Chicagoan Harris.

Randazzo said, “Bob lived the story, Julie wrote the book, and I adapted it for the big screen. It’s been a creatively-charged and truly enjoyable collaboration – and that the screenplay is now a finalist at the Beverly Hills Film Festival is an immense and very exciting honor.”

Morse noted, “In both book and screenplay form, Out of the Box pays tribute to Chicagoan Bob Harris’ way-different, somewhat wild, and hugely successful life. The screenplay is fiction, but it is based greatly on the facts of Bob’s life.”

She added, “In creating a movie version, Joe cleverly enhanced the role of the spunky niece, Julianna, whom people loved in the book. We think it will make a great family adventure and relationship film – and the Festival nomination is a humbling endorsement of a dream.”

Morse and Harris will join Randazzo in California for the Festival and Awards Gala – with fingers crossed.

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