Sex, Catholicism and Disability: Making 'The Sessions'
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Filmmaker Ben Lewin and his wife, producer Judi Levine, tell the improbable story of how they made the new movie, The Sessions. It's based on a true story and stars John Hawkes as a man with polio who lives in an iron lung and Helen Hunt as his sex surrogate who helped him lose his virginity.
Banner image: Helen Hunt and John Hawkes in The Sessions. Image courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures
The Hollywood News Banter ()
Kim Masters and John Horn, film writer for the Los Angeles Times, banter about some of this week's top Hollywood news stories.
- The Walt Disney Company buys Lucasfilm. This deal had been negotiated over many months but had been kept secret until this week. Disney will pay upwards of $4 billion for the Lucas universe which includes future Star Wars films (the next one is due out in 2015), licensing and merchandising of those characters, Indiana Jones plus Lucas' prolific effects house Industrial, Light & Magic (ILM) and his other companies.
You can hear more about the sale from John Horn's colleague, Ben Fritz, in his recent discussion with Warren Olney on To the Point
Making 'The Sessions' ()
When Ben Lewin discovered Mark O'Brien's article, "On Seeing a Sex Surrogate," he was at an all time low in his film career. Judi Levine, his wife and producer, had taken a job outside of the business to pay the bills. In fact, they were thinking about leaving LA and moving back to Australia. But this article struck a nerve -- not only because Lewin had been contracted polio as a child, like O'Brien -- but because this story moved them. They talk with us about how they acquired the rights to O'Brien's article (he died in 1999), and the life rights to the actual sex surrogate -- Cheryl Cohen Green. Lewin and Levine's story of ‘begging' for money to get the film financed turns triumphant when they get The Sessions into Sundance and sell it to Fox Searchlight.
- Ben Lewin: Writer and director of 'The Sessions', @SuchMuchFilms
- Judi Levine: Producer of 'The Sessions', @SuchMuchFilms
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