‘Like Crazy’: Based on a true story?

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The highly anticipated indie flick “Like Crazy” has already won the Dramatic Film Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Audiences will get the chance to see it when it hits theaters on October 28. But 27-year-old Desiree Pappenscheller says she has already seen this story. She knows it by heart from start to finish. That’s because, according to her, it resembles exactly what happened in her own life and marriage to the film’s director, Drake Doremus.

Pappenscheller vividly recalls the day at the airport she learned that her student visa had expired and she must immediately return to Austria. She was born there, but had been living in the United States almost her entire life. She claims her experience fighting against the red tape of immigration laws, as well as the  uninhibited romance she had with Drake during that period, are portrayed in the film — right down to the title.

“We used to say, ‘I love you like crazy.’ It’s how we used to sign our letters,” said Pappenscheller in an exclusive interview with Metro.

The former Mrs. Doremus said she was shocked when she first learned that the film was in production after their divorce in 2008, but her ex-husband did send her the first print of the film so she could see it before it was released in theaters. Watching the movie proved to be a more emotional experience than she had ever anticipated.

“I think he feels like I should be flattered, which I am,” she said. “But I think he forgets about the people who helped create this film.”

Doremus has said in interviews that the film is an amalgamation of a lot relationships in his life, not just one.  He declined Metro’s request for an interview to be included in this article. Pappenscheller says she had hoped he would acknowledge the primary role that her experience and their relationship played in the film.

“I think in some ways he is trying to protect me and I will give him that credit,” she said. “On the other hand, why wouldn’t you be proud of it? Why try to cover it up?”

Pappenscheller feels the film’s main character, Anna, is beautifully written. She says Doremus has told her the film is a love letter, but she doesn’t believe he ever considered how it would affect her life.

“I feel like he definitely is … ‘using’ is a strong word,” she said. “But gaining things from individuals from within his life to help prosper him and then forgetting about them,” she said.

Pappenscheller (l) and actress Felicity Jones (r)

Similarities seen in the film that Pappenscheller says happened in real life:

–The main characters spend time on Catalina Island together in the film. The destination was the    real-life refuge they used to escape their parents.

–Pappenscheller still owns a silver bracelet engraved with the word “patience” that she says was given to her by Doremus on Catalina Island, just like the one depicted in the film.

–The short, white wedding dress worn by Felicity Jones’ character, Anna, is very similar to the one worn by Pappenscheller for her wedding with Doremus.


Follow Cassandra Garrison on Twitter @CassieatMetro.


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