Eighty-one-year-old actress Ellen Burstyn will direct and star in Bathing Flo. The movie, which has nothing to do with the esteemed spokeswoman for Progressive car insurance, is about a man who’s suddenly unemployed and evicted, but is able to house sit in exchange for free rent. However, to his surprise, he also has to share a roof with Flo, the house owner’s eccentric, elderly mother.
The story is based on events experienced by Danny Sherman, one of the film’s producers. Actress Lauren Lake is making her writing debut with the script.
Burstyn has had a long career in front of the camera, winning a Best Actress Oscar in 1974 for Martin Scorsese’s Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore and a Tony in 1975 for Same Time, Next Year. She also won Emmys last year and in 2006, and was nominated for another this year for her performance in Flowers in the Attic.
But this will her first feature behind the camera. In the 1970s, she participated in a directing workshop for women set up by the American Film Institute and made a short film. She meant to direct more, but it never seemed to come together. “I was so busy acting and every time I’d bring it up, it was something that was always sort of discouraged for women,” she told Deadline. “It’s easier now, and when they sent me this Bathing Flo script to act in, I began picturing scenes I just loved. And they loved the way I pictured it and I just thought, ‘Why am I not directing this?’” Burstyn turns to directing at a time where only 6 percent of last year’s top movies were directed by women.