American director Elaine May was born Elaine Berlin to theatre parents her owned a Yiddish theatre company, performing there from the age of 3. In university May became interested in improvisation and through mutual friends met Mike Nichols with whom she formed the comedy duo Nichols and May which dissolved in 1961, 4 years after they became popular.
May wrote, directed and starred in her first film, A New Leaf in 1971 which was the first movie directed by a women to be made by a studio since Ida Lupino directed The Trouble with Angels in 1966. The studio did not allow May final edit on the film and she was deeply unhappy with it as a result, unsuccessfully suing the studio to have her name removed. The film was a critical success upon its release. In 1972 she directed the movie The Heartbreak Kid, which was also a critical success, earning her daughter an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
In 1976 May directed Mikey and Nicky. Because May took so long and spent nearly double the original budget completing the film she was blackballed from studio work. She did not make another film until Warren Beatty asked her to direct Ishtar in 1987 which also ran over-budget and was a critical and commercial flop ending her directorial career.
May continues to write and act to this day. Aside from her 4 movies, the only other directorial credit to her name is a Mike Nichols focused 2016 episode of American Masters.
a/n: i had the weirdest inspiration for this, but here it is. also, i’m the queen of anticlimactic endings in case you’re new here
the first time you woke up and threw up, you were sure it was food poisoning. andre had talked you into trying the new chinese restaurant, and you’d been on the fence about it. the place had looked kind of skeevy, so you’d gotten take out and left as soon as possible.
Elaine May during postproduction on Mikey and Nicky:
“May seemed to enjoy the minutiae of editing (in its way, a visual analogue to improvisation), although at times her habits became erratic. Some nights she would return to the editing bays after the editors had gone home, with Cassavetes in tow, and systematically undo everything the editors had done that day, then disappear for forty-eight hours. Cassavetes, Falk, and the writer Peter Feibleman were among the chosen few allowed to visit. At some point during postproduction, Jeannie Berlin also moved into the Sunset Marquis. May herself rarely ventured out, save to troll from her suite to the cutting room, her figure wraith-like, her face occasionally painted with intense mask like makeup. She had forbidden the maids from entering her private bedroom for ten months, and when she left the remaining production staff found rotting banana peels and apple cores strewn in her bed, the charred remains of TV dinners in the oven, the blackout curtains across all the windows. She’d written notes to herself in lipstick across all the mirrors. May seemed to lived primarily on pills and health food. At one point she even commanded an underling to bring her only pink food. "If you put any salt in the food,” May told one waitress, “I will die right here.”
From Rachel Abramowitz’ Is That a Gun in Your Pocket?
The way Renee keeps going on Twitter and saying she should be on other TV shows, as a host or guest star, tells me three things:
1) She’s unhappy with where she is in WWE and wants out.
2) She thinks that she can just get another TV gig by asking for it, because she’s never had to work for the opportunities she’s had. The only reason she got an audition for the Score is because her dad put in a good word for her, and the only reason she’s been in broadcasting so long is because she ends up sleeping with the producers in charge of the shows she’s on (Norm on the Score, Dunn and Mikey and Nicky for all the WWE shows she’s on). After fifteen odd years of being kept in a bubble by the men around her, she thinks this is how to get a TV job: whine enough and eventually a man will help you out.
3) Like the dirtsheet article suggests, she believes her own hype and thinks that TV executives will hand her job offers by the dozen because she’s the ‘irreplaceable’ Renee Young.
‘Isn’t it wonderful that you’ve had such a great career, when you had no right to have a career at all?’— Telegram from Katherine Hepburn read out during the Director’s Guild of America tribute to Dorothy Arzner, 1975
Currently trying to prioritise watching more films directed by women and consequently will be adding to this as I watch more. 1 film per director.
Falling Leaves (dir. Alice Guy-Blaché, 1912)
Suspense (dir. Lois Weber, 1913)
The Smiling Madam Beudet (dir. Germaine Dulac, 1922)
The Adventures of Prince Achmed (dir. Lotte Reiniger, 1926)
Fieldwork Footage (dir. Zora Neale Hurston, 1928)
Merrily We Go to Hell (dir. Dorothy Arzner, 1932)
Meshes of the Afternoon (dir. Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid, 1943)
Introspection (dir. Sara Kathryn Arledge, 1946)
Begone Dull Care (dir. Evelyn Lambart and Norman McLaren, 1949)
Love Letter (dir. Kinuyo Tanaka, 1953)
A Portrait of Ga (dir. Margaret Tait, 1955)
Cléo from 5 to 7 (dir. Agnès Varda, 1962)
The House is Black (dir. Forough Farrokhzad, 1963)
Bad Girls Go to Hell (dir. Doris Wishman, 1965)
Daisies (dir. Věra Chytilová, 1966)
Lights (dir. Marie Menken, 1966)
Fuses (dir. Carolee Schneemann, 1967)
Reason Over Passion (dir. Joyce Wieland, 1969)
The Student Nurses (dir. Stephanie Rothman, 1970)
Wanda (dir. Barbara Loden, 1970)
Kaldalon (dir. Dore O, 1971)
The Other Side of the Underneath (dir. Jane Arden, 1972)
Sambizanga (dir. Sarah Maldoror, 1972)
Love and Anarchy (dir. Lina Wertmüller, 1973)
Messiah of Evil (dir. Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck, 1973)
Dyketactics (dir. Barbara Hammer, 1974)
Film About a Woman Who… (dir. Yvonne Rainer, 1974)
I just noticed...whenever Charly interviews someone, they keep her in the frame for like forty percent of the interview and she rarely gets interrupted, even with heels. Renee, however, is kept out of frame until the very end (cos she can't control her facial expressions) and almost all her interviews end prematurely. That should tell you who WWE values more. But for Mikey and Nicky and Dunn, Renee would have been fired and be nothing more than a footnote.