Friday, January 26, 2007

The sad saga of Adrienne Shelly

Just who was Adrienne Shelly, and why should you care? Well, there are many reasons, but the late actress is back in the news this week with her movie "Waitress" getting a huge deal at Sundance.

For anyone who doesn't know, Shelly was murdered in New York in November, apparently by a construction worker who punched her in the face after she complained that he was making too much noise. If anyone can make any sense out of this disgusting story, please explain it to me, because it just makes me so angry and sad all at once that I have trouble just typing it.

Shelly had been waiting to hear if "Waitress," which she wrote and directed, would be selected for this year's Sundance Festival. Well, I'd like to think she somehow knows it was, and now Fox Searchlight has picked up the rights to distribute it for about $5 million. A price like that should get it a pretty good distribution, and Fox Searchlight, the engine behind "Little Miss Sunshine," knows more than a little about marketing "indie" films.

The movie itself sounds pretty entertaining, and has a fantastic cast. Keri Russell plays a pregnant waitress who is in an abusive marriage. Seeking some kind of escape, she enters into an affair with her doctor, the always welcome
Nathan Fillion (aka Capt. Mal Reynolds, of course).

And before she was a director, Adrienne Shelly was a very good actress who worked on the fringes of the film world. She last appeared in the Bukowski flick "Factotum," but many people might also know her from those great Hal Hartley flicks "Trust" and "The Unbelievable Truth."

I don't really know how to pay tribute to this great woman whose life was cut so tragically short because that's all I really know about her. Jeremy, a frequent and always welcome visitor here, sent me a very moving one written by a good friend of his, but being a very disorganized person, I've managed to lose it. If you happen to pass through here today, Jeremy, please post it so it can be read by me again and maybe some others.

All I can really say is go see "Waitress" when you get the chance, and if you haven't seen those old Hartley flicks, do so right away. I was pleasantly surprised to find out you can get at least "The Unbelievable Truth" from Netflix.

Here's a nice video salute to her work I found at YouTube. Enjoy, and have an entirely nonsucky weekend!

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I saw Adrienne's movie "Waitress" at Sundance and it was really good! I hope everyone will get the chance to see it.

Anonymous said...

I can second that. I really enjoyed Waitress. What a tragic thing to happen to such a talented woman. She found a way to make a story we've all heard before into a truly refreshing movie.

Reel Fanatic said...

I can't wait to see it ... It does sound like a very familiar story, so I'm glad to hear she fleshed out with her own style and left us with a real gift

Anonymous said...

I still have a VHS copy of Teresa's Tattoo, my first exposure to Adrienne Shelly. It's a funny mess directed by Julie Cypher, who had the guts to cast then-girlfriend Melissa Etheridge and ex-husband Lou Diamond Phillips. That's just the start of a great cast.

Reel Fanatic said...

I have to admit I'm not familiar with that one, Neel, but it does indeed sound like a treat

james higham said...

You have taste, Keith. I'm running a reference to this in the Blogfocus this evening.

Reel Fanatic said...

Thanks, Mr. Higham ... I will be sure to stop by to check it out!

richard lopez said...

tremendously sad news. somehow i missed the news of shelly's death in november. heard it for the first time tonight watching e news coverage of the sundance festival.

i recall first reading about shelly, before i saw her in any film, back in i think 1990 in esquire magazine which did a spread on hot young filmmakers, including tarantino.

Anonymous said...

Hey, been away from the 'sphere so didn't have a chance to drop by. So happy to hear that her film got picked up! Such a bittersweet story.
As for Janice's little post about Adrienne, you can read it here.

Reel Fanatic said...

Thanks, Jeremy .. I figured you had taken the weekend off .. thanks for posting the link again ... Hopefully a few more people will read her touching tribute

Anonymous said...

I heard about this a while back, and although I've seen a couple of Hartley films and Factotum, I couldn't place her. My wife recognized the name, though. It's a terrible story. Really awful that her life would be snuffed out like that over something so dumb. Reminds me of the story about Dave Oren Ward, who starred in Pariah. Thanks for the post, RF.

It's great that Waitress has been well received, but, cynic that I am, I can't help feel that interest will be aroused through somewhat morbid routes, à la The Crow way back when.

Reel Fanatic said...

You may be right about some morbid fascination, Mr. *, but from what I've heard from people lucky enough to be at Sundance, the movie is plenty charming enough to thrive without that factor