People can become so engrained in staying in familiar professions and relationships that they fail to realize they desperately need a change of ideas and experiences to emotionally mature and obtain a more developed view of the world around them. It can often take a drastic push and continuous encouragement from someone they love, as well as meaningful inspiration from a person who has just entered their life, to truly introduce them to accepting new experiences. That’s certainly the case with writer-director Lynn Shelton’s new independent drama, ‘Touchy Feely.’ While the main family members in the film do accept each other’s decisions and emotions, it isn’t until each one unexpectedly finds a meaningful connection with friends and potential romantic partners that they realize how drastically their views and feelings can evolve, without completely changing who they are.
‘Touchy Feely’ closely examines a family whose delicate psychic balance suddenly unravels. Abby (Rosemarie DeWitt) is a sought after massage therapist and a free spirit, while her brother, Paul (Josh Pais), thrives on routine and convention, running a waning dental practice and co-dependently enlisting the assistance of his emotionally stunted daughter Jenny (Ellen Page).
But emotional transformation suddenly and unexpectedly touches everyone in the family. Abby develops an uncontrollable aversion to bodily contact, which not only makes her occupation impossible, but severely hinders the passionate love life between her and her boyfriend (Scoot McNairy). Meanwhile, rumors of Paul’s “healing touch” begin to miraculously invigorate his practice, as well as his life outside the office. As Abby navigates her way through a soul-searching identity crisis, her formerly skeptical brother discovers a whole new side of himself with one of his sister’s colleagues, Bronwyn (Allison Janney).
Shelton and Pais generously took the time recently to sit down and talk about filming ‘Touchy Feel’’ during a roundtable interview in New York City. Among other things, the writer-director and actor discussed how both penning and helming the movie are part of the same process, as they come from the same vision; how they decided to make a film together after meeting several years before they began shooting the drama and came to admire each other’s work; and how the actors stuck to Shelton’s script, but if they saw an organic moment while filming, the director was open to allowing them to improvise.
Watch the video below to see the full interview with Shelton and Pais.
Written by: Karen Benardello