Ellen Burstyn Still Going Strong, Now Set to Direct & Lead 'Bathing Flo'
Since beginning a career in on-screen entertainment in 1958, Ellen Burstyn has earned herself an Emmy, an Oscar and a Tony, and already has a legacy that speaks for itself. But she's not content with retirement just yet as Deadline reports she has just signed on to make her feature directorial debut in a film that she will also star in called Bathing Flo, a character piece inspired by events in the actual life of Thruline Entertainment manager/producer Danny Sherman. The story is set in New York, following a man looking for a place to live, who ends up house-sitting for a man in a home occupied by the resident's mother, Flo.
“A long time ago in the ’70s, when AFI initiated a directing workshop for women, I was in the first one. 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?’"
Fellow female director Diablo Cody (Juno, Young Adult) even commented on Twitter about the cool news:
This is badass. She's 81. Don't give up. http://t.co/oXBfTjtyQS
— Diablo Cody (@diablocody) August 25, 2014
But why now? Well Burstyn explains her desire to finally get into filmmaking:
"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."
Given that Burstyn (who won Oscar in 1974 for Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore) has worked with some of cinema's greatest directors of past and present like William Friedkin (The Exorcist), Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain), Peter Bogdanovich (The Last Picture Show) and Christopher Nolan (Interstellar), she's likely learned a thing or two over her decades as an actress. Of course, acting and directing at the same time could prove to be a bit of a challenge. Here's hoping the script by actress / first-time writer Lauren Lake, along with Danny Brocklehurst and Danny Sherman, has the goods for a great film. We're certainly pulling for Burstyn to make a breakthrough as a director at 81 years old. Sound good?