Family & Friends

Molly Fisk: Soon to Be A Major . . .

3118408862_7299d90090_z“Chinon 8mm Movie Camera.” Photo by Flickr user SPDP. (CC)

A couple of years ago, my favorite ex-boyfriend was the subject of a documentary. The film told the story of his early hot-shot play-writing career, the theater company he ran — to great acclaim — and his fall from a bridge and massive brain injury. I appear in a couple of scenes near the end, talking about his rehabilitation and some of the ways he is wonderful today, although very different from what he used to be like.

You can turn this story toward tragedy, focusing on what potential was lost when he went over the railing. Or you can turn it toward redemption, be grateful he didn’t die, and relish his present-day kindness and loving heart — characteristics that weren’t at the forefront when he was in his artistic heyday. We who are his friends and family continually live with both these options. It’s a complicated place to be, but we’ve all in our different ways gotten used to it. And the world is complicated.

The documentary won some awards and was then sold to PBS, where it aired for a month, often in the middle of the night. I thought that was going to be that, and was actually kind of glad because watching the darn thing over and over was painful, and getting calls from high school classmates saying they’d had insomnia and seen me in this movie was very weird.

Did you ever play that game of which movie star should take your part in the story of your life? My family used to do this because our cousin Bard looked a lot like Mel Gibson, only handsomer, and that would always get us going. Our dad would have to be played by Clark Gable, and our mom by Sandy Dennis, and my brother Sam by John Travolta or Brian Dennehy. Sam once flattered me by saying I should be played by Meryl Streep, which I secretly was dying for someone to say, and then cut me down to size with “especially in that scene in Out of Africa when she’s fighting the lion!”

Well, you can guess what’s happening. The story of my favorite ex-boyfriend’s life has been optioned in Hollywood and the screenplay is almost finished. Renee Zellweger has already asked to see the documentary, but the writers are hoping to get Mary Louise Parker in the role of me. Neither of these laudable women is the size of my left arm, but as we know, Hollywood is no place for reality.

I think if we were casting realistically, Queen Latifah would get my part. Johnny Depp is the only actor my ex will even consider. Needless to say we have no possible influence on the outcome, and probably the film will get stopped at one of the many traditional stopping places the movie industry offers: lack of funding, or “turnaround,” whatever that is. A screenplay about someone else recovering from a head injury will suddenly appear and get made instead.

The whole thing is ridiculous, but fun to think about all the same. If Mary Louise Parker isn’t available, I’m rooting for Frances McDormand.

[n.b. The documentary is called The Loss of Nameless Things, directed by Bill Rose]

 

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  • Millicent Accardi May 28, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    Fascinating read! Made me watch the documentary ($2.99 on Amazon live stream)

    Reply