Jennifer Fox Interview: ‘The Tale’ producer/director
“I hope and feel that it’s a work of art and craft, but it’s also a film that is really meant to change the world,” says Jennifer Fox, the director/writer/producer of “The Tale,” which dramatizes sexual abuse that she experienced — and how she finally identified it as such 35 years later. Speaking to Gold Derby (watch the exclusive video above) after receiving an Emmy nomination for Best TV Movie, Fox continues, “I hope [it] will change a dialogue of a culture that’s much bigger than any television program.”
The impetus for “The Tale” was Fox’s rediscovery of a piece of writing from her childhood about her sexual relationship with her adult coach. Fox explains, “When I read it as an adult with adult eyes, I saw abuse all over it and so I began to question, ‘What had I done with my memory and why had I never used those words on myself’?” Deliberate not to call her abuser a rapist, Fox explains, “The reason why it’s so important — language — is that we have to talk about how child sexual abuse happens and it happens through collusion and through really, really working on a child’s psyche to bring them into a feeling that this is someone who cares about you and loves you. It isn’t done by violence at all and that’s what’s so difficult about child sexual abuse.”
Independently financed as a feature, “The Tale” premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival. “HBO was in the audience and they literally called our team during the credits and began bidding,” Fox recounts. “It just so happens that because of these ground-breaking events that have opened the whole issue of sexual assault and sexual violence, suddenly, HBO really realized, ‘This is the film we need now’ and it’s amazing, but the film was ready.” She adds, “This film was ten years in the making.” HBO aired “The Tale” in May in the last weekend of Emmy eligibility; Laura Dern scored a Best Movie/Limited Actress nomination for her portrayal of Fox.