DENISE CALLS UP was conceived during a time in my life when I felt very much like the characters in the film. I had been working at home writing screenplays and struggling to sell them to Hollywood. As I typed away at my word processor, the phone would ring, I'd pick it up, "socialize" with a friend for an hour or so, then hang up and return to work. This was my life for quite a while.
One day I went to a party in Brooklyn, and met an old friend. I realized, as I talked to him, that I knew everything of any importance in his life -- his new job, his resignation from the other jobb, his return to school, his new relationship -- but that I hadn't seen him in more than three years. He had physically changed. He had gained weight, was losing his hair, and was older. But based on the regular conversations I had been having with him on the phone over this time, I was up to date.
The incident struck me. What if, I thought, all of the most momentous events in a group of friends' lives took place, but these friends never met? I started giggling to myself as the pieces fell together. A few months later, DENISE CALLS UP was born.
After seeing the film, people often ask me if I hate telephones, answering machines, faxes, computers, etc. I don't. And sometimes I do. These technological conveniences, used properly, can obviously be of great benefit to our lives. But it's the hidden consequences -- the less obvious consequences -- I'm concerned with. Mostly, I see the film as a lesson in self-awareness. We tend to take for granted how dependent we've become on technology, at the loss of our own humanity. Modern technology often seduces us and just as often leaves us (as the characters in the film) emotionally crippled. Perhaps we are less crippled than we may think. Anyway, that's one take on the movie. I hope there will be many others."
Last modified 28-Mar-96.
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