The veteran actress finally gets the chance to go behind the lens in a film based on Danny Sherman's experience.
Oscar-winning actress Ellen Burstyn is set to make her directorial debut in "Bathing Flo" and also star in it. It's a project close to the 81-year-old's heart for it is a long gestation of her passion to go behind the lens and it features a character she fell in love with.
Set in New York, "Bathing Flo" is inspired by events in the actual life of Thruline Entertainment manager/producer Danny Sherman. A man who seeks a roof upon his head stumbles on one that he can live for free in exchange of house-sit. He later discovers that the resident's elderly mother, Flo, also lives in the house and is part of the deal. Actress Lauren Lake makes her screenwriting debut, assisted by Danny Brocklehurst and Sherman.
"A long time ago in the '70s, when AFI initiated a directing workshop for women, I was in the first one," she told Deadline. "I made a nice little film and thought I should direct, but I was so busy acting, and every time I'd bring it up, it was something that was always sort of discouraged for women. It's easier now, and when they sent me this 'Bathing Flo' script to act in, I began picturing scenes I just loved. And they loved the way I pictured it, and I just thought, 'Why am I not directing this?' "
On why it took so long, she said, "Back in the '70s, the idea of a woman directing was pretty unheard of. When I brought 'Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore' to John Calley at Warner Bros, he asked me then if I wanted to direct it. I said I didn't feel I was ready to act and direct at the same time. AFI made me more confident, but somehow it never came together and I never got asked again the way that John asked me. And I never found something I really felt I wanted to direct, until now."
When asked whether she's nervous about the first time gig, the teacher at Actors Studio said, "I've taught actors for 40 years, and I became a still photographer and had showings of my work at galleries, and between working with actors the way I have and the still camera and making movies, it isn't really all that daunting to me. I'm really turned on by the whole experience."