In May, acclaimed film and television director Lynn Shelton suddenly died of a previously unidentified blood disorder, shocking fans and loved ones. Among those was Marc Maron, who had been dating her for a little over a year. Maron has frequently spoken about his heartbreak, and he did so again, two-and-a-half months after her passing, in a recent interview with The New York Times.
“We saw ourselves through each other’s eyes. I was really the best version of me, the way she saw me,” Maron said of the director of the movies Humpday, Your Sister’s Sister, and Laggies, as well as a lot of television. Last week Shelton was posthumously nominated for an Emmy for directing four episodes of Little Fires Everywhere.
The two met, he said, when she came on his beloved podcast, WTF, though they didn’t start seeing each other till later, as the two were in other relationships at the time. So for a while their relationship was professional. She directed some of his stand-up specials and she directed him in episodes of GLOW as well as in her 2019 film Sword of Trust.
“She was my best audience,” Maron said, choking up. “There was some sort of connection that we had — I lost all my self-consciousness, which is no easy trick.”
He also said he fought tooth and nail to get Netflix to hire her to helm the first special she directed, Too Real. “They were concerned that she had never directed a comedy special. I’m like: ‘She’s done seven movies! You think this is rocket science? She’d already made Outside In, and that’s a little masterpiece,” Maron recalled. He then stepped thing up:
I told my manager I won’t do the special if she can’t direct it. And they came back with, they’re also going to put another director who’s directed specials with her, to guide her through the process. And I said to my manager, that’s not a great look. Especially if they pull out some dude. You’re going to have some guy teach her? That’s ridiculous. Just let her direct it herself. And that’s all.
Maron went on to describe in detail about finding out she was sick, taking her to see a doctor and, when her condition worsened, calling the ambulance. She was dead within 18 hours. “I went [to the hospital] that night and spent a few minutes with her body,” he said. “It was the heaviest thing I’ve ever done. It was just devastating. I was blown out, totally traumatized. Totally heartbroken.”
Maron never took a break from his podcast, even after his producer floated that as a possibility. “I said, I have no control over these feelings. They’re monstrous. But they’re real,” he said. They posted his 2015 interview with Shelton, and then he spoke bluntly about what he was going through. He thought it would be good for him and for his audience, some of whom may have been going through pandemic-related grief of their own:
That’s one of the reasons I thought it was good to do it. There’s nothing but grief around. It’s a tough emotion for people to sit in and accept. The one thing the pandemic has given me is time to process and sit with the feelings. I cry every day. The shock and the trauma have dissipated a little bit, so now I deal with the loss. I have her jacket that she always wore, and her hat and boots. I have the shirt that I met her in. I touch these things when I can and try to keep her with me.
At the time of her death, Maron and Shelton were working on a screenplay, which just happened to be about someone who dies of cancer. He said he’s not sure what he will do with it. He said he’s considered finishing it and giving it to another female director, but he’s not sure if that’s the right thing to do.
“I don’t know that it would honor her,” Maron said. “Because this was always the thing that she was going to direct me in. That was the whole idea of it. It would be upsetting.”
But Maron’s been taking it one day at a time. “It’s a terrible experience but it is a fundamental human experience,” he said. “It’s as common as love. It’s devastating, but we are built to carry it, for ourselves and for others.”
(Via The New York Times)