Simultaneously perverted and passionate, Secretary is the type of bizarre indie comedy that could breath new life into the mainstream romantic comedy genre. Screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson worked with producer/director Steven Shainberg to develop Mary Gaitskill short story into a feature script. The result is painfully delicious. You know, the good kind of pain. It’s the kind of master-slave relationship that some might have actually experienced in the workplace with a superior. The only difference is Secretary turns up the sexual tension to titillating extremes. For me, the film is bonerific.
“Director/Producer Steven Shainberg asked me to adapt Mary Gaitskill’s short story, Secretary, into a screenplay. We adapted the story together and I wrote the script,” says Wilson. “I was reluctant at first because I did not want to write a story about a victim or about a woman ‘overcoming’ her deviance. But I was very happy to find that Steven was open to this.” The path to getting Secretary on screen came with its fair share of creative challenges. “I had seen so many ‘coming out’ plays in the 80s and I wondered what it would be like to take this story, turn it on its head, and make it a ‘coming out’ movie for a masochist,” the sultry Wilson reveals. “So, without being overtly political, and by focusing on getting inside the skins of the lead characters, it was my desire to take the audience on a ride where they empathized with each one of Lee’s choices.”
The patjI had been writing highly-sexed plays for over ten years before Steven hired me, and I had always loved walking a political and sexual line that pushed buttons, turned clichés on their heads, and made you think. And my work, just as with Secretary, was always work that attempted to not judge its characters. I was inspired by Mary Gaitskill’s story to write a script that portrayed a submissive woman who was not a victim.”
Get the interview in part two of AT YOUR SERVICE: SCREENWRITER ERIN CRESSIDA WILSON>>>