Posted on Tuesday, April 9th, 2013 by Germain Lussier
Writing a movie is difficult enough. Imagine writing it from a wheelchair without the ability to speak or move. That’s the unbelievable truth of what Scott Lew did for his new film, Sexy Evil Genius. In 2004, Lew was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, which has since left the writer a mute pentaplegic. (He can’t move his four limbs, neck or head) He’s forced to breathe with a ventilator and communicates with the help of an assistant, as well as an infrared dot on his forehead.
Using that painstaking process to communicate, Lew wrote the film Sexy Evil Genius, which stars Katee Sackoff, Seth Green, Michelle Trachtenberg, William Baldwin and Harold Perrineau. Directed by Shawn Piller, it’s out on DVD April 9 and the disc includes the documentary Jujitsu-ing Reality, which details Lew’s story. /Film is proud to exclusively debut a clip from the documentary. Check it out below.
Here’s the self-explanatory clip from Jujitsu-ing Reality.
The full doc is on the DVD for Lew’s film, Sexy Evil Genius. Here’s the trailer for that film.
I asked director Shawn Piller what it was like working with Lew on the film, and here was his elegant response:
Scott is an inspiration as well as a wonderful collaborator. He puts a lot of my writer friends to shame in terms of how fast he turned notes around. In a film that has no action or explosions, every line counts. Scott not only was open to every joke pitch and visual idea I threw at him to open up the film, which is 5 people sitting around a table, but he also stuck to his guns and stood up to me, the director, as firmly and respectively as any writer I’ve had the pleasure of working with. And trust me, in a movie like this that’s no small task. I was relentless in trying to goose the film to pop off the screen like his script popped off the page.
Working with Scott on the script was not only professionally gratifying but a deeply personal experience to me as it was how I collaborated with my father and writing partner Michael Piller, who battled throat cancer for the last 3 years of his life. I communicated with him mostly via email towards the end (with three shows running) as he lost his speaking voice, like Scott, but not his great story mind. So this was a very familiar conversation for me. Sometimes therapeutic, sometimes frustrating, sometimes heartbreaking but always a learning experience.
I would write 10 pages of notes. Scott would respond only to the notes he disagreed with (as it would waste his precious time agreeing with me rather then just implementing those notes in next pass) and would write back, cut and pasting my notes and his responses he disagreed with or had thoughts on my thoughts. Sometimes he’d praise me for “a brilliant idea” and was so generous for receiving it. Other times we’d duke it out for silly lines or debate taste or tone or character. But it was always in service of the story and character and like with my father I cherished every second of it and the script was always better as a result.
Lew’s story is incredible and it certainly adds a whole other layer to his film about a crazy girlfriend who invites all her exes to one bar at the same time.
Sexy Evil Genius is available now. Read more here.