Letter to Woody Allen, (director) from Frances Spector, (housewife).
Dear Woody Allen,
First, let me apologize for the lateness of this letter. You would have had it in your hands weeks ago were it not for my ongoing wavering about how best to address you in the salutation. Naturally, I started with ‘Dear Mr. Allen’, but that sounded too formal and vague – as if I were writing a letter to my lawyer or the manager of the supermarket down the road from where I live. I actually wrote the latter gentleman a note last week after I discovered four bruised plums in the grocery bag I brought home from his store. The plums were on special which is why I bought them, but obviously were either handled too roughly by the clerks who packed them for me, (I’ve seen them juggling grapefruit in the past) or they were too old and should have been thrown in the trash. Either way, I was out four plums and felt compelled to bring it to the manager’s attention. His name is Mr. Herndon, not Mr. Allen, however. In my letter, I demanded restitution and proposed nectarines. I am awaiting his reply. My husband laughed and suggested I would get more satisfaction from a face to face discussion, but I want a paper trail in case it gets nasty. My friend Bernadette almost got into a fist fight with the woman who owns the nail salon over an infected toenail cuticle – now she’s forced to do her own pedicures. And, believe me, she needs a professional.
My second thought was to address this letter as ‘Dear Woody’, but that felt somewhat too intimate, as well as ambiguously pornographic. Besides, I can’t think of Woody as a first name anymore without calling to mind the cowboy from the ‘Toy Story’ cartoons, which is irritating. How does one acquire a name like Woody? Was it a childhood nickname? I believe I read on Wikipedia that your real first name was Allen, so I’m curious about where the Woody came from. The only childhood nickname I have was one my father gave me – ‘Snooch’, although I can’t recall the etymology of the moniker. I’ve probably blocked it out – it was rather embarrassing to hear the word ‘SNOOCH’ being yelled through the supermarket or drugstore when I was a child and have to answer to it. I certainly wouldn’t incorporate into my professional name if I needed to create one. ‘Snooch’ Spector sounds like a character on a children’s show wearing a trench coat and searching for clues to solve an alphabet mystery.
I settled on ‘Dear Woody Allen’, because I’m used to seeing your name printed as such and ‘Dear Mr. Woody Allen’ was getting a bit long. Truly, the exercise of settling on a salutation took much longer than expected. However, as you were not expecting this letter at a certain time, my apology is probably a moot point, so let me launch into the purpose of my note.
I am writing to you with an idea for a new movie. It’s only really a germ of an idea, but I feel in your capable, creatively genius hands, it could grow into an Cannes Film Festival Special Selection, or whatever that other one is that Robert Redford puts together where everyone is wearing Uggs and pom pom hats.
The movie is about a woman who worries she is turning into her mother – a common enough fear amongst women of a certain age. But the twist is that she actually TURNS INTO HER MOTHER – literally transforms into a duplicate of the same person. I’m imagining a ‘Freaky Friday’ meets ‘Zelig’ type of picture. I’m not quite sure what happens after the transformation – but I suppose there could be a number of scenes in which the two women show up at the same restaurant or store, but are never in the same frame with one another – causing confusion and hilarious consequences. I’m sure you could come up with a few more plot twists using this device. As for the ending – I’d like your thoughts on whether the story is a metaphor for coming to terms with getting older and accepting one’s ongoing struggle to maintain an identity outside of pre-determined genetic or environmental influences – or if the whole thing turns out to be a dream sequence.
Like any good story, this one is in part, autobiographical. I am reaching an age when one begins to take on characteristics of one’s parents, despite one’s initial best intentions. I am beginning to see many aspects of my mother’s behaviors in my own. For instance, never a meticulous person, I have become even less concerned about straightening up around the house. It hasn’t gone unnoticed. In fact, when I first mentioned my movie idea to my husband (don’t worry, he’s the only one I’ve told), he suggested the woman turn into something more useful, like a vacuum cleaner.
Despite my husband’s sarcasm, I am confident this film could find an audience among a certain group of devoted movie-goers – most likely females in the 35-55 age bracket who obsess about whether or not to cut bangs in their hair to hide the fine lines on their foreheads. I’d be happy to sign on as an on-set creative consultant as well, to help answer questions about the lead character, such as how many PTA meetings she attends each school year versus how many she claims to attend and whether she’s ever contemplated leaving her husband and children for a life on the road with a traveling theatre troupe.
Please respond at your earliest convenience with your availability for a sit-down meeting. Although I do have an email address, I’ve forgotten my password so many times, I’ve been locked out and haven’t had the desire to call customer service and waste precious moments of my life on hold listening to an acoustic version of ‘Welcome to the Jungle’, so phone or snail mail works better for me.
I do hope I will hear from you soon. Sadly, Spike Jonze, Wes Anderson, the Cohen Brothers, and Sophia Coppola couldn’t see the incredible potential in this idea – but no one does neurotic misanthropes like you anyway.
PS: Although I am open to suggestions, I am thinking Winona Ryder for the lead. She seems to be looking to make a comeback and I feel like she could use the work.