Zoe Kazan and Paul Dano star in ‘Ruby Sparks’

*It was not a figment of his imagination when Calvin Weir-Fields (Paul Dano) first encounters Ruby Sparks (Zoe Kazan). She is real!

A literary wunderkind, Fields has hit a roadblock and his career is going nowhere. Lovelorn, lonely and at wits end, he subsequently creates a female character on the pages of his typewriter that comes to life. When things are not going as he would like, Fields tweaks his manuscripts but that only makes matters worse. Also starring in “Ruby Sparks,” the fantasy fairytale that turns into a nightmare, is Antonio Banderas, Annette Bening and Elliot Gould

The Film Strip asked Dano if people had the power to create a mate, would they use it? “They think they might,” he said “but they don’t and I think that’s part of the lesson of the film. I think that’s part of Calvin’s journey. Instead of being afraid of life and closed off to it, and wanting to control it to be feel safe, hopefully at the end of the film he is going to be somebody who will accept what life has given him and not try and impose his idea on it.

Why do you think at the end of the film Calvin no longer uses the typewriter but a computer?
PD:  It’s probably because at that point he might be scare of it and feels superstitious about it and there’s bad memories there. I think the reason he has the typewriter is he probably wrote his first novel on the typewriter and it some how took off. But with that climatic scene with the typewriter I don’t think he wants to use it again.

I thought that he just wanted to come into the 21st century
Yeah, there’s that too and maybe someday he’ll take his laptop out of the house and hopefully also be a more social and open creature of the world.

      From being a slave to the page in “Ruby Sparks,” Dano becomes an owner of slaves in his film out next year, “Twelve Years a Slave.” The Steve McQueen directed project stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Brad Pitt, Alfre Woodard, Michael Fassbender, Sarah Paulson, Dwight Henry and Chris Chalk. The movie is based on Solomon Northrup’s 1853 autobiography about a free slave from Washington, D.C. who was promised a job playing the violin in a circus but was tricked and taken to Louisiana to be sold into slavery. There, he is brutalized and must pick cotton.

“Ruby Sparks” writer Zoe Kazan and real life love of five years, Paul Dano, are both executive producers of the movie. Kazan is the granddaughter of legendary director Elia Kazan (“A Streetcar Named Desire,” “On the Waterfront,” “East of Eden,” “A Face in the Crowd”). A triple threat, Kazan spent time in front of the camera before putting pen to paper and producing.

Zoe, if people had the power to create their mate, do you think they would use it?
ZK: I do think so ‘cause that’s what happens in the movie. I think that when you love someone and when you’re in a relationship that’s failing for some reason, which is the situation that Calvin finds himself in, he would do anything to make it work, to make the person is happy. I mean the first time he changes her is to make her happy with him.  I don’t know if everybody would do that but I think given infinite power would be very difficult not to dip the toe into the water. Once you dip the toe, I think you’re really all the way there even if you don‘t think so.

How did the idea of this film come about?
I always loved the Pygmalion myth. I love Greek mythology and that one in particular has always been evocative to me. Walking home one night, I used to live next to Macy’s in Boerum Jill, and there was this distorted mannequin in the trash and I thought it was a person. It scared me and I thought of that myth this sculptor creating a woman in his studio, turning his face and thinking he sees her moving. I thought what would I do with that myth and I went to sleep and had a dream. I woke up the next morning and not unlike Calvin the seeds of the dream were planted in my mind with the first third of the movie really clear.

Syndicated columnist Marie Moore reports on film and TV from her New York City base. Contact her at [email protected]