What Happened Was This
BY Ari Karpel
February 26 2011 1:00 PM ET
You’ve both said that you hesitated to make this movie. Why?
Weber: David’s a big pain in the ass to work with.
Weissman: Please say that he said that ironically.
The story scared me. It’s too big. It’s this monster story. I thought,
It’s bound to piss people off. As soon as you start telling the story,
people are going to say, “Where’s my part of the story you left out?”
And there were so many beautiful things that happened in San Francisco
that we don’t even talk about: the [AIDS Memorial] Quilt gets a minute,
ACT Up gets 45 seconds, Ward 5A gets two minutes, when it should be a
miniseries. The AIDS Foundation gets a float in the parade, when it’s a
huge story right there. So it was like, How can we do this?!
It seemed like a such a minefield, but I can’t tell you how many people
who lived through it have come up to me and said, “Thank you, you’ve
Weber: I’m doing more celebrity spotting. Who’s the guy who was in The Devil Wears Prada?
Weber: Yes, he just walked in.
So, what was your experience at the time?
Weissman: I’m probably in the middle range between the people who lost everybody they knew and the people who didn’t lose anybody. But I lived in San Francisco through the entire thing. All of us were confronted on a regular basis with what to do when someone we knew got sick. You have to make a choice. Do you choose to become closer to them and get more involved as their needs become greater, or do you say, “I can’t, because it’s too much and I wasn’t close enough to them”? That’s a decision fraught with self-doubt and “Am I being selfish?” “Am I being a coward?” “What will the person think?” At the same time to have 20 of those in your memory – “Did I make the right choice?” And I want us to forgive ourselves. I hope the film can help people with that. I think that by forgiving ourselves we can give ourselves permission to be caregivers now, in whatever context.