Nancy Savoca

Nancy Savoca

Savoca returned to the compromise world of independents with "Household Saints" (1993), a bittersweet tale of three generations of Italian-American women which received glowing reviews in many quarters and a healthy (if modest) box office. Featuring stellar work from Taylor (as a religious fanatic), Tracey Ullman and Vincent D'Onofrio (as Taylor's mismatched parents) and veteran Judith Malina as D'Onofrio's mother, this adaptation of Francine Prose's novel proved a strong depiction of Italian-Americans in NYC. Like many an indie, the project faced monetary problems; Savoca has said: "I can tell you this: that we could not have made 'Household Saints' for a dollar less than we did. We shaved the budget and shaved the budget and finally we went back to the investors and we said: 'If we make this budget any smaller you're gonna get a movie that's unreleasable.'"Although she had contributed a short film for the syndicated children's series "The Great Spacecoaster" in the early 80s, Savoca spent her time during her third and fourth features really getting her feet wet in TV, directing a 1995 episode of "Murder One" (ABC) for Steven Bochco and the unsold ABC series pilot "Dark Eyes" (1995), starring Kelly McGillis as a female cop assigned to a special task force. She also directed the "1952" and "1974" segments (and wrote all three) of "If These Walls Could Talk" (1997), HBO's tripartite movie focusing on the issue of reproductive choices. Borrowing from her own experiences as a mother of three, Savoca then tackled the legend of the modern-day superwoman in "The 24 Hour Woman" (1999), revealing with great humanity how everything comes with a price. Starring Rosie Perez as a TV producer whose pregnancy, birth and child-raising become the focus of her quirky talk show, the film rang true to the merciless gauntlet endured by working mothers, and though some found the tone wearying, others appreciated its Darwinian message about motherhood and delighted in its send-up of daytime TV.