From working on an iconic sitcom to penning life-changing books, writer/producer Liz Tuccillo has forged a path of enlightenment for the sometimes fragile emotions of strong women. But unlike her years as a story editor for Sex & The City or her work on the hilarious (but true) book He’s Just Not That Into You where Tuccillo delved into a variety of characters, she kept her cast lean and mean in her new self-directed film Take Care.
Take Care follows Frannie, played adorably by Leslie Bibb, who is bedridden with multiple injuries after a car accident. As her friends and family are eliminated as caretakers one by one, Frannie asks her ex-boyfriend (played by Thomas Sadoski) to step in. The same ex who left her after she cared for him through two years of a potentially fatal cancer, who moved on to dating someone else. Yes, it’s a romantic comedy, but the romance is a little unconventional to say the least…
Throughout Take Care, we spend much of our time in Frannie’s small apartment with her fears, resentment, frustration and angst over her situation, but Tuccillo’s ability to empower even the most flawed woman shines through in the character. We caught up with the busy writer about her directorial debut, her goals in film and television, and reasons why she kept Take Care so cozy.
What made you decide to work with a very small cast on Take Care?
Liz Tuccillo: When you try to do your first film on a low budget, and you’re not experienced in this sort of camera work, it’s a really smart idea to do something a little contained and take it small the first time.
You were filming mostly in one room and Leslie Bibb had casts and laid on one side of the bed for most of it. How did your crew keep her busy so that she wasn’t climbing up the walls?
LT: She was so wonderful, and such a team player that she was kind of the cheerleader for all of us. The only thing we had to really deal with was she had to have bathroom breaks, which took longer than the normal person. [laughs]
LT: I think I’m probably going to move away from the genre of “single gal” material or self-help kind of work, because I have a lot of other things that I’m interested in right now.
Do you have any other films that you’re working on?
LT: No, but I’m developing some television works with FX, NBC and the CW.
What would you say is the biggest difference as a writer between television and movies?
LT: People are starting to get very drawn to television – it is just to be able to live with the characters and tell a longer story. It’s just very satisfying.
Do you think creatively you have more control doing a film than television show?
LT: I think each one it depends on the situation. There’s no set rule on which you have control over.
Did you go to LaGuardia High School for acting/performing and decide later you wanted to write, or was writing something you always wanted to do?
LT: I wanted to be an actress for so long, and I was just very unsuccessful at it. I tried writing, and it seemed much better for me.
You actually supervised the storylines of Sex and the City, and had a lot of involvement on when the characters made decisions. Were there any moments of that you took into your film writing?
LT: Working on Sex and the City was about a bar that was set very high that you just try to go back to.
Did you want to make the story in the Take Care about where Frannie was in her life as far as her age or relationship status, or was it more about anyone could go through this?
LT: I wanted it to feel very relatable to anybody, even people with families. People always wonder “Who’s gonna be there for me at 35/36?”. Will my husband stay around? Will my family stay around? Will my friends be there for me? I think it’s a question everybody wonders no matter what their situation is.
In the next two years, where can we look for your work?
LT: I’m hoping two years from now you’ll have been watching a TV show I have created, [that will have been]running for over a year already.
What is your number one goal for the New Year?
LT: To be able to be more positive. I want to be a more optimistic person. I want to train myself to focus more on the positive than the negative in the new year.