Unsung: Carrie Fisher’s Legacy as a Script Doctor

The actress’ other side as Hollywood’s go-to narrative healer.
By  · Published on November 11th, 2015

If you don’t know who Carrie Fisher is, I’m going to assume you got here thinking we were some sort of hunting site, perhaps, and bid you a good day. Now that’s it’s just us film geeks in here, of course, we know who Carrie Fisher is, we weren’t born yesterday and even if we were, we’d still know, because Princess freaking Leia transcends actual awareness, she simply is.

But there’s another side to Carrie Fisher that even the most fervent Alderaanean might not be aware of: her work as a writer. She adapted her own memoir of growing up Hollywood, POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE, into a feature for director Mike Nichols and star Meryl Streep, and she’s supplied material for a handful of Oscar ceremonies, but the truly fascinating realm of Fisher’s writing career is in her work as a script doctor.

For those unfamiliar with the term, a script doctor does what it sounds like they would do: they heal a script. While not completely redrafting – thus the lack of credit – a script doctor punches things up, tweaks specific scenes or bits of dialogue at the end of the pre-production process, sometimes into production. And in the 1990’s, there wasn’t a hotter script doctor in Tinseltown than Carrie Fisher. Consider some of the scripts she lent a hand to: Steven Spielberg’s Hook, Sister Act, Lethal Weapon 3, and most surprisingly, The Wedding Singer.

But those are just the for-sure projects. It’s also been rumored Fisher was brought in to try and resuscitate the scripts to Star Wars Episodes I – III. I’m guessing those died on the table.

Fisher’s entire storied history as a script doctor is the focus of this video from The Mary Sue, which casts her legacy in a different light, and reveals the artist behind the icon.


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