Filmmaker Nathan Silver came to her with an idea for “Between the Temples,” about a widow and a widower who become friends one winter. Her character, Carla, is a retired music teacher who wants to get her bat mitzvah. Schwartzman’s Ben is her former student, and currently a cantor, who agrees to help (reluctantly at first). Silver and his co-writer C. Mason Wells didn’t have a script, not in any traditional sense. It was something in between a script and a treatment, a novella of sorts with some written lines and lots of opportunity for creativity and character development.
“The idea sounded pretty fascinating,” Kane, 71, said in a recent phone interview. “But I was a little trepidatious about working in a way that I never had before.”
She was willing to take the leap with her collaborators, however. It helped that she felt like she knew Carla in a way.
“The story of Carla is somewhat similar to my mom’s story. She moved to France and started an entirely new life at 55. She just changed her life,” said Kane, with her 97-year-old mother nearby. “I think that there are a lot of very brave women out there sort of trying to reinvent themselves at a certain age when certain responsibilities have freed them to make that choice.”
The film premiered this week at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, where it is seeking distribution. And working with Schwartzman on the complex, loving relationship between Carla and Ben was as good as she hoped.
“It was like having a great dancing partner,” Kane said. “He’s just a great actor and he’s a great human being. I certainly hope that we will get to do this again sooner rather than later.”
Kane considers herself extremely lucky for all the great filmmakers she’s gotten to work with over the years. Her first film, “Carnal Knowledge,” was with Mike Nichols after all. She’d go on to work with Hal Ashby (“The Last Detail”), Joan Micklin Silver (“Hester Street,” for which Kane got an Oscar nomination), Sidney Lumet (“Dog Day Afternoon”), Woody Allen (“Annie Hall”), Elaine May (“Ishtar”) and Rob Reiner (“The Princess Bride”), and act in the much-loved series “Taxi.”
More recently she’s gained new fans through “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” and her current series “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.” But there’s at least one dream collaborator on her list that she hasn’t gotten to work with yet.
“I hope to one day get a chance to work with Marty Scorsese,” Kane said. “That’s been my lifelong dream.”
“She’s a genius in that movie. She’s just brilliant,” Kane said. “And (in the interview) she goes on and on about how every time she gets a new part, she feels she won’t be able to execute it, that she won’t be able to do it and that fear just reverberates on a constant basis. I have to say, that’s how I feel.”
Kane continued: “For me, at my age, it was kind of jarring, but also kind of moving to hear someone who’s as young and beautiful and as big a movie star as Emma Stone is having the exact same feelings I have.”
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