LOSING CONTROL: Can scientific principles help you find true love?

LOSING CONTROL (opening tomorrow, March 23rd, at the Quad Cinema in NYC) is a romantic comedy about a female scientist who decides she wants scientific proof that her boyfriend is the One. Oh yeah, and her science lab day job involves studying an obscene amount of semen. But this is not semen-as-hair-gel slapstick stuff (although there is one tantric-propelled semen gag) —  the science in this movie is actually pretty legit, because writer-director-producer Valerie Weiss happens to have a Ph.D. in Biophysics from Harvard Med School (she was also Em’s classmate at Princeton). Weiss founded the Dudley Film Program at Harvard, and while writing her dissertation, she directed her first film. Two weeks after wrapping production, she defended her Ph.D. thesis — and she hasn’t done another experiment since.

LOSING CONTROL explores the idea that there’s a “right” and a “wrong” way to find love, Weiss says. The protagonist (played by Miranda Kent) is a graduate student at — yes — Harvard, who attempts to apply scientific principles to her love life. If a good scientist repeats her experiments over and over until she’s really sure she’s covered all eventualities — does that mean a good citizen needs to sleep with strangers over and over until she’s sure she’s found the one? Kathleen Robertson (she played Clare, Steve’s girlfriend, in the original, only-one-that-really-counts 90210) is hilarious as her best friend. As is our old friend Ben Weber as her lab assistant (he played Skipper on Sex & the City). Click here to watch the trailer.

Em & Lo: Where did the idea for this screenplay come from?

Valerie Weiss: I was doing a Ph.D. at Harvard Med School in Biophysics when I had the idea for LOSING CONTROL. I thought it would be really cool to tell the story of a young female scientist on a dating adventure where she would apply all the same critical thinking skills and experimentation that she used in the lab to her love life. After all, who you spend the rest of your life with has to be the most important biological question of all.

Was it important to you that the science in this be believable? How has the scientific community reacted so far?

It was really important to me because I think science is so cool. There are so many legal and medical shows and movies out there, but I think science offers even more fascinating stories. My goal was to tell a science-based story without dumbing the science down, but keeping it accessible to the audience.

I also wanted to portray scientists authentically, because I love scientists and think they are fun, smart, earnest, quirky and endearing, and don’t need to be manipulated to be watchable. We’ve screened the movie for lots of scientists at universities, biotech companies and even the National Academy of Sciences, and they all love the movie and appreciate the accuracy.

Were you consciously trying to make a smarter-than-average romantic comedy?

Definitely! I used to love romantic comedies like ROMANCING THE STONE, WHEN HARRY MET SALLY and BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY, but I haven’t seen a really good one in so long, and I think that’s kind of depressing. A good romantic comedy is cathartic and fun and can be enlightening about our own lives. But what I don’t like about recent ones is that the heroine is rarely smart, and, if she is, she isn’t vulnerable. Most of the women I know are smart and vulnerable and that is what leads to our romantic dilemmas. I wanted to make a movie that my girlfriends and I would love.

So, er, can we talk about all the semen in this movie?! Semen that leaps across the room?!

There is so much semen in this movie! Maybe it is because I loved THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY. By the way, Lin Shaye who played Magda in that movie is in LOSING CONTROL, too.

What was it like writing and directing sex scenes for the first time?

The sex scenes in our movie are all really funny and awkward, which made them a blast to direct. Sometimes our actors were meeting for the first time in bed, but they are all such brilliant comedians that the laughter on set quickly broke the ice. I think my next film might be one long sex scene, because these are some of my favorites in the movie.

LOSING CONTROL opens tomorrow, Friday March 23rd, in NYC at the Quad Cinema (34 W 13th St.). After that it will be showing in L.A.; Tempe, AZ; Sacramento, CA; Tacoma, WA; and Boston, MA. Click here for the theater release schedule.


image courtesy of PhD Productions