The actress and filmmaker Rosanna Arquette was filling a shopping cart at Whole Foods in Sarasota, Florida. Having just arrived to support her latest film, Born Guilty, written and directed by Max Heller at this year’s Sarasota Film Festival, she realized she had forgotten, well, everything, toothbrush, hairbrush, and other necessities. Cart piled high, she said she had not yet seen the film. Was it okay, she asked, and I was struck by how much this comic market scene could have played in the landmark 1985 Desperately Seeking Susan in which Arquette starred with Madonna. In fact, the next day at Sarasota’s Ritz Carlton, at an interview with Arquette, Heller and executive producer Bill Mahoney, Heller reminded his star that she prepared for the role of Judith, a New York Jewish mom based on his own, imagining herself in “Susan” 20 years later, divorced with a grown son living in LA, on whom she depends for every whim and crisis.
In addition to promoting Born Guilty, Arquette has another important task at Sarasota, to introduce Diane Lane, receiving the award for cinematic excellence in tandem with the closing night screening of her new film, Eleanor Coppola’s Paris Can Wait. Arquette rehearsed for us, reading the speech she prepared to present Lane, her favorite actress, and asked, Was it okay?