A lot of directors have
described their films as their children— as in, they can’t pick favorites. But Nancy Savoca has a more closely linked sense of parenthood and movie production than most of her colleagues. “From film school, I used to dream I was pregnant whenever I was making films.” And for two of her four movies— True Love and Household Saints— she was indeed expecting. Two weeks
before shooting started on her debut, True Love, she learned her second child was due. “I
didn’t tell anyone because I knew people would get nervous. I
hadn’t heard of any director
being pregnant so I didn’t know what the situation with insurance was. I’m sure they’re going to come back and kill me now.”

Savoca and her husband and collaborator, Richard Guay, spent three years raising money for The 24 Hour Woman, a keenly observed comedy about two working mothers. “One executive said, ‘This movie has been done already— we did Baby Boom.’ ” Savoca laughs. “There’s also the fear that audiences don’t want to deal with the messiness of it all.”

Savoca, whose three kids are now in school, seems to take great pleasure in her own messy life. “I remember when my youngest was born and I was editing Household Saints and was so sort of out of it. It was an incredibly satisfying time, when the personal and professional came together. Both jobs require that preverbal communication, that subconscious part of you. It was interesting to have both these needy things at the same time.”

The demands are similarly intense for Grace, the TV producer in The 24 Hour Woman whose high-adrenaline mode is tested by the birth of her first child. “One of the parallels I have with her,” says Savoca, “is that we’re both in entertainment. I didn’t want her to be a heroine or have this noble job. I wanted her to have a job she loved, to the point where people say, ‘It’s sinful she loves it so much.’ ”

Grace’s counterpoint is her assistant, Madeline, who has three older kids. “I wanted someone who had been further down the road, who had at one point made the decision not to work outside the house. And I really wanted a guy [Madeline’s husband] hanging out with the kids because I think that’s often the part of the equation that’s missing when we talk about these problems.”

Next, Savoca and Guay hope to make the Janis Joplin story with Lili Taylor. “We’ve got a script, we’ve got rights. We just need the money.” The gestation period, she says, is “beyond elephants. As Rich says, ‘It’s been a couple of years. It might be ready now.’ “

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