Kilt Lifter

Randall Wallace is a curious guy. Raised in Tennessee and schooled at Duke, he put himself through a year of divinity school by teaching karate, wrote songs for a while in Nashville, and managed shows at Opryland.

Then he kicked into high gear by writing the script for Mel Gibson's Braveheart. You remember -- it's the one with the amazing battles, the kilts and the truckload of Oscars. Wallace then wrote and directed Leonardo DiCaprio in The Man in the Iron Mask, scripted Pearl Harbor, and helmed the Vietnam picture We Were Soldiers, also with Gibson.

So why all the bio? Because Wallace (pictured) is coming to the Valley this weekend to sign copies of his new novel and to screen his own personal, pristine copy of Braveheart, to be followed by a Q&A session and other happenings.

Wallace is also a Russian-history buff, and his third novel, Love and Honor, is about thwarting the (actual) British plot to enlist the aid of the Russians in the years leading up to the American Revolution. "I love Russian literature and history," says Wallace. "It has grand themes on a grand scale."

Like Braveheart, Love and Honor is part historical romance and part sweeping epic -- dashing American heroes, wolves, and Cossacks and Russian damsels, not to mention Catherine the Great.

As for the Braveheart print, Wallace adds, "I asked Mel Gibson if I could keep one of the copies of the film, and he had a print made for me. There are people in Phoenix who seem particularly passionate about [the film], which makes it a real pleasure to screen this for them." Among the brave and the hearty expected to attend are members of the Clan Wallace Society, who will hand Wallace their "Life Member" award -- and, yes, there will be kilts.

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Henry Cabot Beck