PARK CITY, Utah -- The extended cut of director Mark Pellington's music video for Keane's "Everybody's Changing" opens with Pellington talking about his wife, who died at age 42. "I lost my soul mate, the mother of my child, my best friend," Pellington says.
If the director's video provides a glimpse at how consuming mourning can be, then his Sundance movie "Henry Poole Is Here," premiering tonight, offers a look at how someone can move past grief.
Although Pellington has distinguished himself with an array of genre films -- the thriller "The Mothman Prophecies," the terrorist drama "Arlington Road" and the sexual satire "Going All the Way" -- he had not made anything that even he considered deeply personal.
As he struggled to get back on his feet and raise his daughter, then 2, after his wife died in 2004 of toxemia and sepsis after a ruptured colon, Pellington first let go of a movie he was scheduled to direct ("Firewall" with Harrison Ford). "I couldn't get out of bed, let alone direct a movie," he says. Then, after a long recovery and meetings with bereavement groups, he started reexamining screenplays he had considered making, looking for more humanistic stories. "My personal experience," he says, "had changed me."