From a head-on collision got here the seeds of ‘Wander Darkly’

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All of it started with a automobile crash that I assumed was the top of me.

A number of years in the past, my husband and I survived a head-on collision. Within the aftermath, I used to be concussed and, only for a second, sure that I had died. It was as if I used to be simply witnessing what got here after: My mom would increase our two child ladies; we might by no means transfer into the home we had simply purchased.

After which, weeks later, in the course of the mad chaos of Thanksgiving dinner, my husband and I have been largely recovered, my dad and mom have been preventing over the turkey, our two child ladies have been crying, and I used to be struck with this profound sense of gratitude for our messy, delicate little lives. I wished to bottle up that feeling and share that feeling with as many individuals as doable.

For me, that meant taking seven years to make a film about it.

A confession: I keep in mind little or no of the method of writing “Wander Darkly.” I liken the expertise of writing a script to giving beginning. There’s some biochemical that makes you neglect the ache of it so your physique can persuade itself that it’s a good suggestion to do it once more.

I do know that it was months between the time I had that second of emotional readability and the evening that I wakened burning with the broad strokes of the start, center and finish of a narrative a couple of couple on the verge of splitting up, a automobile crash, a lady who believed she had died and her associate decided to assist her by telling her their story. I would hate writing, however I’m obsessive about the ability of story. I additionally keep in mind that hooked up to this concept have been two satellite tv for pc certainties: 1) I may channel that feeling I wished to share via the movie and 2) I needed to make this film.

Diego Luna and Sienna Miller in a scene from "Wander Darkly."

Diego Luna and Sienna Miller in a scene from “Wander Darkly.”


But it surely was a difficult time. My husband and I have been in debt from the automobile accident and from our latest dwelling buy. I had a 4-year-old and a child to lift, was struggling to pay for childcare with the movie work I used to be getting, and (one other confession) I kind of hate writing. I discover it particularly painful after I need it to imply one thing, when it’s private or after I’m counting on it to feed my household and to doubtlessly change my life. So I talked concerning the concept lots and gauged reactions (gasps!) till my pricey buddy and producer Lynette Howell Taylor advised me I needed to go write it.

Her confidence fueled me. And my post-accident readability was flashing like a warning, declaring that life is brief, that this concept was important, that I had turn into a filmmaker to connect with folks and that I needed to do it now. Regardless of our monetary state of affairs, I finished taking work and dedicated to writing the script.

That is the place my reminiscence concerning the course of will get fuzzy. I knew the construction can be nonlinear, that it might march out extra like a spiral than the normal line of a hero’s journey into the cave. I knew that the characters would break from their flashback reminiscences to have interaction each other from the current. I knew I wished to discover the unreliability of reminiscence and the ability of story, the similarities between a concussion, the psychosis of grief and the lack of love. I consider I used some be aware playing cards. I’ve proof on my laptop computer that I wrote a one-page therapy after which, months later, a 12-page therapy.

That yr, my husband, who’s a cinematographer (and was the second unit director of pictures on “Wander Darkly”!), was capturing in Macon, Ga., for 5 months. His apartment had a pool, so I hatched a plan to take our ladies there for 5 weeks and rent a sitter from 8 to midday weekdays (all we may afford) so I may write the primary draft. Whereas the youngsters splashed away outdoors, I sat within the clubhouse, blasting Florence and the Machine in my earbuds to drown out the grunts from the adjoining weight room and the critics in my head. I wrote for my life.

That a part of writing (the precise writing, not the concern of not having the ability to write no matter I’m attempting to get out of me), I like. I like the movement that comes whenever you settle for that it’s not possible to be excellent and handle to intention for beneficiant and genuine, and handle to get some terribly flawed phrases on the web page. After which if you happen to’re extremely fortunate, as I’ve been, that authenticity resonates for some folks as significant, and it feeds your loved ones and it adjustments your life. That was “Wander Darkly” for me.

I’m recognizing now that it is a remarkably linear telling of the event of a narrative that has such uncommon construction. That stated, right here I’m penning this on the evening earlier than our movie meets the world and the top of my journey with “Wander Darkly” feels extra like a starting.

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