Tag Archives: Mark Ruffalo

Inspiration in Entertainment

One of my personal vices has always been movies and television. Although some writers think that indulging this habit is nothing but distraction, I’d argue that it depends on how one approaches them. Because there are so many choices and so little time, I’ve been relying for a few years on the wisdom of Entertainment Weekly (EW). When I discover my copy in the mailbox each Friday afternoon, I get a little thrill thinking about when and how I’ll squeeze in the hour it takes me to devour it.

Last week’s issue was particularly inspiring for me as a writer. Or at least I was reading the magazine like a writer, where every page held some message that called out to me.

Instant Fame

You’ve probably heard of the now infamous Ted Williams, the formerly homeless man with a radio voice from heaven who was discovered on a street corner while holding his cardboard sign. EW noted that his now legendary You Tube video first appeared on-line on January 3 and by January 5, Williams was on The Early Show and had a job with the Cleveland Cavaliers. On January 6, Williams appeared on the Today Show and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and on January 7, he reunited with his estranged mother and his first commercial appeared on-line. That was one busy week. As a reader, I was blown away by the pace at which TV moves. As a writer, I focused on the ideas that the media are just dying to find a sensational story and that if you happen to be part of that story, your professional career could move fast, and perhaps faster than you’d like.

 I’ve heard similar stories about authors who have been fortunate enough to get into the Oprah loop. I, of course, have entertained several fantasies of appearing on her show, and soon her new network, OWN. But I never really believed it could happen to me until the day almost exactly three years ago when I received an e-mail from one of her show’s associate producers. Although I didn’t end up on her show (she aired a show on Feb. 8, 2008 about sperm donors that met their biological children), I did do a 1-hour phone interview with the producer and I was sure I heard elements of our conversation worked into the show. I haven’t given up hope of appearing on her show someday, and that hope is reinvigorated when I read about the kind of story-book success that happened to Ted Williams.

Assisted Reproduction in the Mainstream

I recently blogged about the first mainstream movie with assisted reproduction as a major theme to reach financial success, The Kids Are All Right. Now, I’m happy to report that the film’s stars Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, and Mark Ruffalo have all been nominated for acting awards, the highest of which includes the coveted Oscar.  The film has at least 4 Oscar nominations, and as of today, Annette Bening is a frontrunner in the best actress category. Its considered a long-shot for Best Picture but to me that’s less important than the fact that the films critical success has helped it find a wider audience and increased awareness about families built with the help of (egg and) sperm donors. It can only help with reception of my book with mainstream audiences, if I’m so lucky to be in that position some day.

The movie’s success also gives me permission to fantasize about the movie adaptation of my book. I’ve met one Bellingham children’s book author, Royce Buckingham, who successfully penned and sold the screenplay and movie rights to his children’s book. Although it has not yet been made into a movie, he’s still enjoying the annual payments that go with that sale. To me, success as a writer takes many forms, and Buckingham has definitely earned his.

New Directions

Good bye vampires, werewolves, and wizards. Hello… refugee teenage aliens. The movie, I am Number Four, is an adaptation of a young adult sci-fi, due out Feb. 18. Hmmm, I wonder what kind of books will be getting hot deals at this year’s writer’s conferences?

The Beauty of Brevity

To me, good writing is often not about what is said, but how it’s said; finding the most simple and perfect words, as if there could be no better or clearer way to accomplish an idea. With that in mind, I really admire how EW can say so much in so few words. Case in point, last week’s EW presented the movies expected to be released in 2011. I will continue to strive toward this kind of succinct perfection: “Transformers: Dark of the Moon, due out 7/1. Cars are robots.”

I’m wishing you all overnight success, mainstream audiences, and concise prose.

Lorraine Wilde

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“The Kids Are All Right”

If you haven’t seen the movie, The Kids are All Right, yet, it’s out on DVD and I think its definitely worth the two hours. I loved watching it knowing that I would blog about it afterward because its theme is related to my memoir.

Julianne Moore and Annette Bening play a married couple who chose to make two babies using an anonymous sperm donor 18 years ago. Now that the kids are old enough, they rifle through moms files, contact the sperm bank, and get in touch with their sperm donor, played by the super hot teddy bear, Mark Ruffalo.

The early part of the picture does a great job of exploring the awkward “Getting to know you” phase of their relationship. Benning’s character is an uptight OB/GYN and she interprets Ruffalo’s character’s successful organic gardener tied to chique restaurant as just another failure in the “food service industry”. She is worried that his single, spontaneous motorcycle-riding, college drop-out persona will be a bad influence on her 15-year old son and 18-year old daughter, played deftly by Josh Hutcherson and Mia Wasikowska.

The movie does a great job of showing the range of feelings that might occur when someone meets their not-so-anonymous donor. Benning and Moore play moms who feel very cautious at first, not wanting their teens to seek parental guidance outside of the family they built. The kids seem curious to know about their donor, even if they don’t know what to do with the information once they have it. Ruffalo’s character approached meeting his biological children the same way I did, with an open mind and heart in hopes that something great might come from it.

But of course, this is a Hollywood movie and no matter how authentically the writer and director, Lisa Cholodenko, tried to make it, there needs to be drama. The latter half of the movie centers around the sexual relationship that happens between Moore’s  and Ruffalo’s characters and what happens when the rest of the family finds out about their secret trysts.

I’m so sorry to disappoint you, but my memoir will not include any sexual relationship between me and anyone besides my husband. But I do hope that doesn’t keep you from buying the book when it becomes available some day in the next two or three years (be forever optimisitc!). 

Even though I didn’t expect a Ruffalo/Moore relationship in the early part of the film, there was some build up. I just didn’t think they’d go there. I suspect that some of my lesbian friends might both love and hate this movie.

They probably will love that the main couple are women who’ve been together in a loving, yet imperfect, relationship for over 20 years, intently focused and thoughtful parents in a relationship that is rarely portrayed on screen. But what they might hate is that the couple occasionally watch gay male porn during sex and that Moore’s character throws caution to the wind for some super-hot Ruffalo action. The sex scenes in this movie seemed so authentic, and the editing of them only made them better. This definitely is not a movie for anyone under 18.

The one other thing I noticed about this movie was that it seemed as if the director had the actors shoot a scene many times and then chose the imperfect scenes, where the actors made mistakes that real people make. It made if feel more like you were watching the out takes instead, which made the characters more real to the audience.

As far as I know, its the first time a movie has been focused around the issue of children conceived from donor sperm (or eggs) meeting their donor. I love that this has come out around the same time that I’m finishing my memoir. To me, this might be the start of a trend in the media or the world, that the anonymity of the donor process is coming to an end and that the subject will become a bigger part of mainstream consciousness.

Please tell me what you thought of the movie.

Oh, and BTW, I just passed 38,000 words today!