What do Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda, Shirley MacLaine, Joan Collins, Rick Schroeder and Nick Jr's "Olivia" have in common?
They've all been supplied with wise and witty banter by screenwriter par excellence Patricia Resnick. Are you workin' 9 to 5? Take a little break and listen in as Patricia Resnick generously shares her words with us.
As a mom of imaginative, visionary children, I — and no doubt countless others — want to thank you for bringing to life Ian Falconer’s porcine heroine, Olivia, in a television series. Could you tell us a bit about how that came to be? Were you in close communication with the author? How has response been so far?
A couple of years ago my agent sent me the Olivia books and asked if I could come up with a way to turn them into a series. Although I found the books delightful, they were light on plot, so it took some thinking to come up with a way to make Olivia work as a series. After adding some characters to broaden her world and setting the structure to include fantasies that would amplify the real world story, I was hired. Ian Falconer, the author, and I had a few meetings; but since he is in New York and I am in L.A., the rest of our communication took place via email. So far, the reviews I've seen have been terrific. I haven't heard about ratings yet — hopefully they will be good, as well.
Olivia envisions herself in so very many roles . . . as Maria Callas, a dancer in a Degas, a drum major. Who did you see yourself becoming as a child?
When I was a young child I wanted to be an archeologist, mainly because I liked the look on the faces of adults when I said the word! At some point I thought of being a simultaneous translator primarily because that's what Audrey Hepburn played in Charade. I was always crazy for theater and movies so I thought I would be an actress. I took one acting class which cured me of that idea. The funny thing is, all along I was madly writing and voraciously reading; so when as a teen I figured out there were jobs in show business other than acting, writing was the area that immediately drew me.
You also happen to be the author of the iconic, female-unifying, 9 to 5! Could you tell us a bit about your role and emotions as an author when your work goes film — with such great success and longevity?
I was the original writer on 9 to 5. Jane Fonda wanted to make a statement about clerical workers and women in the workplace, and she wanted to make a comedy with Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton. I had worked with both Lily and Dolly before, so I campaigned for the job and got it. I don't think any of us I had a clue how iconic the movie would become. For awhile it became an albatross around my neck — everyone wanted me to write something else like 9 to 5, but eventually I was quite moved by how beloved it had become and how much it meant to a lot of people (not just women)!