Rosanna Arquette in Born Guilty at the Sarasota Film Festival: If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother

The actress and filmmakerRosanna 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’sSarasota 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 withMadonna. 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 the film, to get his meddlesome mom off his back, her son Marty (Jay Devore) sets her up with a broke friend, Rawl (David Coussins). It looks to be a win-win, especially as they date in New York. Max Heller amps up the Woody Allen-worthy romance of the city with this couple taking rides in winter on the upper part of a double decker bus. As far as the low-budget production went, Arquette played a different kind of Jewish mom, making sure the cast and crew ate hot soup, buying pizza for everyone.

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’sParis Can Wait. Arquette rehearsed for us, reading the speech she prepared to present Lane, her favorite actress, and asked, Was it okay?

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