It’s Year Two of the journey we began to get JANE made. I always heard people in film say how long it had taken to get their dream to screen. Usually they were receiving awards so it was easy to dismiss them. They were, after all, now the lucky ones. When friends and colleagues try to give me new courage, they always find the example like Dallas Buyers Club, rejected close to two hundred times before it found a home and a star.
I haven’t hit 200 yet and I am still excited about JANE. The film seems to transform of its own accord, morphing and changing, deepening and becoming new again.
This winter, I went away for two weeks and wrote a new draft, one that I believe is much more powerful. No matter what, the experience of “allowing” that draft changed me. It wrote itself. I have never sat for eight hours a day writing, fourteen days straight. Could I have written this new version (now with a working title, “Leonard Cohen Saved My Life”) without all that came before? No.
What has become more and more clear is that the film is about how we become whole after something traumatic happens. It is about the creative inner life much more than heroic outer action. I think the first JANE, while true and real, was still more of a boy-hero played by a girl. If I am successful, the new JANE follows the inner life of a girl the way it actually played out for me – no big theatrical finish, no immediate satisfaction of seeing the bad guy vanquished. This JANE is more of the everyday heroism it takes to hold on to oneself, to find meaning in the midst of ongoing traumatic events.
This JANE is more indebted to Viktor Frankel and Man’s Search for Meaning, who wrote with diamond clarity about holding onto his soul when living in hell. This JANE owes everything to to the poetry and music of people who knew from sadness and grief – the threads of creative life that reached into me when I was suffering as a teenager and reminded me that I, too, would be whole again. Not unbruised, but never defeated at the very core of my Self.
What I want for this JANE is to find a producer and directing team that can enter the creative inner life of a girl and let it be as subtle and ambiguous and quietly heroic as I believe this JANE to be.
I am still passionate, crazy passionate, to see a story on the big screen that somehow would have spoken to me as a teenage girl, with sexual peril everywhere, and so little understanding of what was happening to me or what could help. I hold fast to my dream that there is another fifteen-year-old girl, coming out of a darkened theater, who knows herself better for having seen JANE, and feels stronger, more alive, and more courageous because she is not alone.