Last mission to repair the Hubble telescope Hubble space telescope discoveries have enriched our understanding of the cosmos. In this special report, you will see facts about the Hubble space telescope, discoveries it has made and what the last mission's goals are.
For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Marcia Gay Harden comes to Sarasota this week passionate about her new film, Canvas, and her portrayal of a mentally ill mother.
By STEVE PERSALL
Published April 15, 2007
This week, Academy Award winner Marcia Gay Harden will rack up frequent flier miles, fulfilling responsibilities to two families close to her heart.
She'll hop a midweek flight to the Sarasota Film Festival to accompany her new film, Canvas, written and directed by Joseph Greco, based on his experiences growing up with a schizophrenic mother, played by Harden. She takes the role seriously, knowing what it means to Greco for audiences to see his mother's mental illness portrayed with dignity.
Rather than sticking around for next weekend's swanky parties, Harden will catch a Saturday flight back home to New York. Her twin daughters are celebrating their third birthdays on April 22, and Harden wouldn't miss that for the world, or even a movie she strongly believes in.
"Canvas steps away from the Hollywood version of mental illness, where someone is either an idiot savant like Rain Man or a psycho killer," Harden said in a telephone interview.
"We were interested in telling a very true, very realistic story about a family trying to keep it together with this disease in their home, in their midst, on the couch. How do you live with that?"
Harden, a best supporting actress Oscar winner for Pollock, cites studies that estimate one in every five people suffers from some form of mental illness. "Everybody you know knows somebody who has it," she said. "Yet it's not talked about much because of the stigma attached."
Greco's film tells his mother's story through the eyes of his 9-year-old stand-in, Chris Marino (newcomer Devon Gearhart). Chris doesn't understand why his mother, Mary, is behaving so erratically, or why his father, John (Pantoliano), and mental health experts can't cope with it.
"I found Joe's script to be a story of a young boy abandoned," Harden said. "How his mother abandoned him as this disease took over, how he felt abandoned by the system, how he felt abandoned by his father, and how the family tried to work through these terrible incapacities.
"What the movie lacks in Hollywood sensationalism, it gains in emotion and real drama.
"I don't know what a crazy person's sense of reality is like. But when you see a mother behaving inappropriately and the embarrassment of her child, those things are more visceral and real than watching some character like in Rain Man adding 15-digit numbers in two seconds flat, or counting matches as they're falling to the floor."
Did playing a character written by Greco with such confessional candor make her work harder to get it right?
"I'm old-fashioned," she said. "I would always try hard even if it was a toothpaste commercial. When I was a waitress, I tried hard. But passion is infective. We all got on board with a passion that was really electrifying because of Joe's own passion for the project."
Harden said she's looking forward to sharing those feelings in Sarasota, encouraged by Pantoliano, who has attended the festival before. He assured her that the city is lovely and people are movie-wise. Motherhood doesn't allow many such trips.
"The truth is, I have these three kids (she and husband Thaddaeus Scheel also have an 8-year-old daughter), and they keep me flying around the house," she said. "I haven't been able to do nearly as much promotion or travel as I did when I was single. But meeting people and talking to them about this film? That's exciting to me."
Sarasota Film Festival- Marcia Gay Harden will attend the Luncheon Under the Banyans at noon Thursday at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 811 South Palm Ave. $100.- She will talk about her movie Canvas with writer-director Joseph Greco and co-star Joe Pantoliano at the "A Conversation With . . ." series, 7 p.m. Thursday at the Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bayshore Road. $20. . - Canvas will be shown at 7:15 p.m. Friday and 4:45 p.m. Saturday at Regal Cinemas Hollywood 20, 1993 Main St. $8. - Tickets and information for all events, (941) 366-6200 or toll-free 1-866-575-3456; www.sarasotafilmfestival.com.