As previously reported, Alicia Keys moves from behind the piano to behind the camera for Lifetime’s forthcoming original movie “Five,” which is comprised of five short films about breast cancer directed by five different directors.
“But it’s a comedy!” stresses executive producer and “Friends” creator Marta Kauffman.
“The idea was to do something that uses breast cancer as a backdrop,” Kauffman told journalists Wednesday (July 27) at the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills. “It’s not literally about breast cancer. We’ve seen those. Breast cancer is a backdrop for stories about people and relationships. And we call it a film in short films.”
(L-R) Jeanne Tripplehorn, Alicia Keys, Tracee Ellis Ross, Jenifer Lewis, Rosario Dawson and Jeffrey Tambor on the set of “Lili”
The concept was brought to Kauffman by her former “Friends” colleague Jennifer Aniston, who also directs a short in the film, as does actress Demi Moore, “Monster” director Patty Jenkins and Penelope Spheeris, director of “Wayne’s World” and the 1979 punk-rock documentary “The Decline of Western Civilization.” The ladies got to choose which one of the five scripts they wanted to helm.
“Each of these women brought something very unique to their films, and they chose their films partly out of who they were, who they are, and what drew them in,” said Kauffman. “And every one of the women who directed brought something very, very special and different from each other.”
Alicia Keys’ short, titled “Lili,” stars Rosario Dawson as a woman diagnosed with breast cancer, and how it affects the relationships with her sister (Tracee Ellis Ross) and mother (Jenifer Lewis). In April, Keys tweeted of the actresses, “OHHH WEEE!!! first day of shooting tomorrow on project 5. The piece is called “Lili” @rosariodawson @traceeellisross & jenifer lewis are on FIREEEEE!!!!! everyday explore new horizons!”
(L-R) Executive Producer Marta Kauffman, actresses Jeanne Tripplehorn and Patricia Clarkson and director Penelope Spheeris at the ‘Five’ panel during Lifetime’s portion of the 2011 Summer TCA Tour at the Beverly Hilton on July 27, 2011 in Beverly Hills
“Five” premieres Oct. 10 on Lifetime. Other actors involved in the full film include Patricia Clarkson, Ginnifer Goodwin, Tony Shalhoub, Jeffrey Tambor and “Big Love” star Jeanne Tripplehorn as Pearl, the only character appearing in all five of the shorts.
“The first film starts out with my character’s mother who is dying of breast cancer. My character is a little girl. And she, from that moment on, decides to become an oncologist,” explained Tripplehorn, also attending the press tour. “The next few characters, she’s the oncologist to women who are dealing with breast cancer. And the final film, the fifth film, she finds out that she has breast cancer.”
“But it’s a comedy,” Marta stressed again. (In Alicia’s “Lili,” Tripplehorn plays an oncologist.)
In the exclusive bonus audio below, Kauffman gushes over Keys’ debut as a director and explains “Lili’s” specific story line.