Berlin: Ellen Burstyn to Make Directorial Debut at Age of 84
The actress who already boasts an Oscar, Emmy and Tony, becomes that rare octogenarian making a narrative directing debut.
At the age of 84, Oscar-winning actress Ellen Burstyn is about to add director to her long and impressive résumé.
Burstyn will make her feature helming debut with the comedy Bathing Flo, which will be produced and financed by upstart QC Entertainment. The Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore actress also will co-star in the film and executive produce.
With Bathing Flo, Burstyn joins Eleanor Coppola as that rare octogenarian making a narrative directing debut (the 80-year-old Coppola's Paris Can Wait debuted at the Toronto Film Festival in September, though both she and Burstyn are younger than record holder Takeo Kimura, who was 90 when his Dreaming Awake was released in 2008).
Inspired by a true story, Bathing Flo centers on Danny, a down-on-his-luck man who is offered the opportunity to house-sit in exchange for free rent. What isn’t mentioned is that an eccentric woman named Flo (Burstyn) is part of the bargain. As comedy and tragedy ensue, Flo and Danny reluctantly agree to share the apartment and in turn share invaluable life lessons.
Actress Lauren Lake wrote the screenplay, which was based on an initial draft by Danny Brocklehurst and Danny Sherman. Casting currently is underway, with production set to begin in the spring in New York. Lake also will co-star in the film.
Bathing Flo will be introduced to buyers at EFM in Berlin by QC, which recently was formed by Darko Entertainment’s Sean McKittrick and Ted Hamm and Movie Package Co.’s Ray Mansfield and Shaun Redick. ICM Partners is handling the film domestically.
Bathing Flo is being produced by McKittrick and Mansfield alongside Thruline Entertainment’s Sherman and Lake. QC’s Edward H. Hamm Jr. and Redick are executive producing. Erica Steinberg will serve in a producorial capacity.
As a performer, Burstyn is a Grammy shy of an EGOT, having won an Oscar for Martin Scorsese’s Alice (she has been nominated five other times, most recently in Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream), an Emmy for a guest appearance on Law & Order: SVU (she most recently received a nomination for her performance as Elizabeth Hale on House of Cards) and a Tony for Bernard Slade’s Same Time, Next Year.
“We’re incredibly excited and honored to be joining this fantastic team, both as producers and financiers, in working with a singular artist such as Ellen in making her feature directing debut,” McKittrick and Mansfield said Tuesday in a statement.
QC has quickly carved out a niche as a backer of first-time directors' projects, including Jordan Peele’s Get Out and Zoe Lister-Jones’ Band Aid, both of which debuted last month at Sundance, as well as Michael Sheen’s true-crime thriller Green River Killer.
Burstyn is repped by ICM and Courtney Kivowitz of MGMT Management. Lake is handled by attorney Sean Marks. Brocklehurst is repped by UTA, United Agents and Thruline. Mansfield negotiated the deals on behalf of QC.