I was so sad to hear that Anthony Minghella has died. Not just because he is, in my opinion a great talent, but because I actually got to meet him and share an evening of great conversation.
In 1993 I was sharing a house with a friend who, at the time was dating a british director. One weekend I went to brunch with her and her beau at the Bel Air hotel. We got very drunk on champagne sitting at one of those tables by the pond with the swans. It was oh so pastoral and lovely. We were talking about our favorite movies and I was going on and on and on and ON about a movie that I'd seen a few years before that is still, to this day, one of my favorite movies.
Truly, Madly, Deeply is a movie about loss and grieving and moving on and in all that sadness it's pretty funny. It features Alan Rickman and Juliet Stevens in really wonderful performances. I fell in love with the writing and it has stayed with me all of these years. When I saw the movie I sat in the theater after it was over and cried. And then I drove home and sat on the couch and cried some more. Not because I was sad, but because I was so completely moved by how it had captured love and loss and how life goes on no matter what and that's a good thing.
It was perfect.
It was Anthony Minghella's debut movie. He wrote it and directed it and it just so happens that my roommate's friend knew Anthony very well and had worked with him on the Storyteller series - you should totally rent them if you have kids. So seeing as how he knew the guy that had written and directed my favorite movie he was kind enough to call him up so that I could leave a drunken and rambling message on his answering machine about HOW MUCH I LOVED Truly Madly Deeply.
Yes - I drunk dialed Anthony Minghella and it was a good thing that Steve spoke first or I'm sure it would have come off as more terrifyingly stalkerish than anything else.
It could have ended there and I would have just remembered the call with mild embarrassment, except that a short time later Anthony Minghella came through town to do post on Mr. Wonderful, the film he directed after Truly, Madly, Deeply and before The English Patient. He remembered my call and I was invited to have dinner with him at Steve's house one night after he'd finished work.
I was not surprised to find that he was a regular guy who very sweetly discussed stories and writers and favorite books with me. I remember coming away from the evening with the deepest appreciation that this person who'd written and directed a story that had touched me so profoundly was so awesomely human and real.
I am just so sad that he is gone - that his family and friends are grieving the loss of him - that we will not have anymore stories from him.
He will be missed truly, madly, deeply.