Friday, August 10, 2012
There's always a Pygmalion factor involved in the creative process. What author doesn't fall in love with his or her characters now and then? Imagine Margaret Mitchell grinning fondly at Rhett Butler's caustic wisecracks, or Anne Rice sighing over Lestat's every erotic bite.
But suppose an author was so profoundly in love with his fictive heroine that she emerged as a flesh and blood person in the midst of his real life? Such is the miracle—and the dilemma—at the heart of Ruby Sparks, the offbeat, savvy and charming new romantic comedy from directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine).
The screenplay was written by actress and playwright Zoe Kazan, who also co-stars in the film. The legendary Billy Wilder once advised an obscure young actor named Billy Bob Thornton that if you want a good part in Hollywood, you'd better write it yourself, advice Kazan has taken to heart.
In her story, novelist Calvin Weir-Fields (Paul Dano) was a publishing phenomenon at 19, when his first novel became a runaway bestseller, defined a generation, and became required reading on every college campus in America. Ten years later, battling writer's block, he starts writing down ideas about his ultimate dream girl, a character he names Ruby. The more he writes about her background and the quirks of her personality, the more inspired he becomes; soon he's in the thick of a manuscript in which Ruby falls in love with a writer named Calvin.
Imagine his shock when he wakes up one morning to find Ruby herself (Kazan) bustling about in his kitchen.
Btw: big kudos to whoever designed that clever poster! I love how it sets up the whole premise in one great, punchy image!