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December 20, 2007 - Image 39

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2007-12-20

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

tiurant & Ba.r

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Frank Langella as Leonard Schiller in Starting Out in the Evening

own, and you go through a process
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Starting Out in the Evening,
rated PG-13, is scheduled to open
Friday, Dec. 21, at the Landmark
Maple Art Theatre in Bloomfield
Township. (248) 263-2111.

4 Questions For Andrew Wagner

A

ndrew Wagner has good
long-suppressed needs closer to
memories of Michigan.
the surface. His hunger for artis-
Two years ago, at
tic recognition and his longing for
Michael Moore's Traverse City Film
romantic involvement find expres-
Festival, Wagner's The Talent Given
sion in his relationship with the
Us won the competition for Best
student rather than his fantasies
First Feature Film.
about her.
Decades earlier, at a New
Hampshire summer camp, a 10-
JN: Why so little reference to
year-old Wagner met
Judaism in the film corn-
his first girlfriend,
pared to the novel?
a Bloomfield Hills
AW: The novel goes
resident who became .
back further in time.
a pen pal. During his
Readers learn about
senior year in high
Leonard's father as a
school, he traveled
rabbi and Leonard's group
to Florida with his
of Jewish friends. The
baseball team and
movie is up against time
played a team from
as it reaches for themes,
Cranbrook.
expressions of character
"I had a great time Andrew Wagn er
and the story. When we
in Traverse City,"
gave up the back-story
says Wagner, who
and limited the social uni-
is city-oriented and has taught
verse, the Jewishness receded.
language arts in Los Angeles. "The
area is beautiful."
JN: Do you consider yourself a
Wagner, always intent about pur-
Jew?
suing a career as a writer-director,
AW: I'm Jewish to the extent that I
hopes the many favorable reviews
was born Jewish and bar mitzvahed.
of Starting Out in the Evening will
I relate to Jewish culture and his-
help propel his film ambitions. He
tory. I reduce my own spirituality to
answered questions for the JN:
core principles shared by all religions
— living truthfully and seeking truth.
JN: Did novelist Brian Morton
have any input into the film and
JN: Have you begun work on any
what changes went into trans-
new project with Jewish content?
forming the story to film?
AW: There are three projects
AW: We showed Brian the script
vying for the next one. The first
before we began to shoot. We had
is about an inner-city teacher.
a good conversation, but he didn't
The second, an adaptation of Lisa
[choose to] participate.
Glatt's A Girl Becomes a Comma
In the book, Leonard Schiller's
Like That, implies cultural Judaism.
involvement with a graduate
The third, from the Who Is Floyd
student is as much a mental pre-
Stern? one-man play, deals with
occupation as it is an outwardly
Jewishness as a man searches for
expressed relationship. For the film,
his father.
we had to bring the character's
- Suzanne Chessler

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December 20 • 2007

B5

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