By Christian W Dietzel
In certain circles, Frank Beddor is remembered as the two-time world freestyle skiing champion of the early '80s, a wild-haired charger who transcended to Hollywood in a succession of stunt skiing roles. First was the 1984 slapstick comedy "Hotdog! The Movie," followed by 1986's "Better Off Dead," where he, along with a tight-knit team of skiers/stuntmen, skied for John Cusack's character Lane Meyer.
Yet as Beddor faded away from the white world of competitive freestyle skiing, so too would the details of his reemergence as a Hollywood author and producer. Just how did Frank Beddor climb down a white, white rabbit hole into the position he now humbly enjoys as an award-winning fantasy novelist and heavy-hitting Hollywood producer?
"My early dealings with Hollywood, beyond the stunt work, actually began with short stories," remembers Beddor.
"I developed a story on the 10th Mountain Division, the pioneering group of soldiers that forged the American ski industry after World War II, convinced a partner to support my vision, and began shopping it around. Eventually it did get bought, but unfortunately it never got produced.”
From there it would be a sojourn of trial and error as the wonder boy athlete from Minnesota reformed his hard skiing ways into the path of a disciplined screenwriter, and before too long, as a producer.
"There's Something About Mary" was an interesting one," Beddor recalls. "I had been taking a Shakespeare class with a couple of guys at UCLA, this guy John Strauss and his writing partner, Ed Decter, who had pitched it to Interscope, but their creation was just sitting around collecting dust. So I ended up riding up the chairlift with Dylan Sellers, a Fox executive, and by the time we got off, he said 'let's make this movie'."
The legend of "There's Something About Mary" is indeed a hot one within the ski community.
"I remember seeing Frank Beddor skiing around Sundance [Film Festival in Park City, Utah] in his Bogner one-piece back in the '90s with the script to ‘There's Something About Mary’ stuffed under his arm like a sensitive war document or something," says legendary ski-documentarian Greg Stump.
Beddor went on to help produce "There's Something About Mary," the success of which launched hiss career in new directions. In the early 2000's, he wrote a darker reimagining of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" called "The Looking Glass Wars." Beddor says he spent nearly three years conceptualizing the story arc behind the novel before committing to a single page of the writing.
All celebrity aside, Beddor was an adamant skier competing in freestyle during the '80s while it was fighting to make a return to the glory of its hey day in the prior decade. He competed alongside luminary figures such as Greg Athens, Greg Stump, John Eaves, and Joey Cordeau. Another curious individual to rise from freestyle's ranks to Hollywood during the same competitive era would be Scott Steindorf, producer of "Love In Time Of Cholera."
Beddor's freestyle world championships in 1981 and 82 stack up alongside a creative career that continues to rise. His "Looking Glass Wars" series has a growing readership, especially with the addition of the "Hatter M" graphic novels, an adjunct story arc exploring the devilishly fun Hatter Madigan and his 12-year quest to find the Princess Alyss. Beddor works with adept illustrators such as Sami Makkonen, an award winning graphic artist based in Finland, and formerly with Ben Templesmith, the graphic vision behind "30 Days Of Night."
Beyond that, a point of interest with Beddor is that he has quietly been leading the charge in a shift from traditional publishing to self-publishing (and subsequently, distribution) via an extension of his Automatic Pictures outfit, forging a direct relationship with his audience base. Automatic Pictures deals in creative property that has the potential to span multiple platforms: from novels, to graphic novels, to video games, to the Hollywood adaptations he handsomely, and patiently, grooms. Beddor's model is pressing the cutting edge of producing, innovative story telling, and cross platform ingenuity.
The video from Beddor’s Kickstarter campaign to help fund Love of Wonder.
While his Hollywood ties have become a natural extension of his career, Beddor's roots to skiing still run deep, extending back to childhood. It was right around the holidays when a 12-year-old Beddor wrote legendary innovator of The SKI Bobbie Burns a letter requesting a new pair of skis after breaking his prize pair during a hard day of skiing.
Beddor wrote something to the effect of:
"Dear Mr. Burns,
I need your help! I've broken my skis and can't possibly afford new ones. If you could please send me a new pair for Christmas, I can go on to become the world champion freestyle skier I'm supposed to be…"
It appears Beddor did so. And then some.