Image: The Everett Collection
By 1990, Diane Keaton had proven herself as an actress who could handle any role you threw at her. She was Hollywood's favorite actress, but she had already begun inching toward directing, starting with her 1987 documentary Heaven. After that, she moved over to music videos, giving us that great colorful video for Belinda Carlisle's "Heaven Is a Place on Earth." The woman was oozing talent, but it would take until 1995 for her to direct her first feature film, Unstrung Heroes.
Until that movie premiered in theaters, Keaton warmed up by directing for television, and the very first episode of television she directed was an after-school special for CBS called "The Girl with the Crazy Brother." It was about a teen girl who learns to cope after her brother is diagnosed as schizophrenic. Cast in that lead role was a young Patricia Arquette, just three years into her career and ready to become to subject of Keaton's first TV closeup as director.
"The Girl with the Crazy Brother" stood out among the rest of the CBS Schoolbreak Specials series. It won a daytime Emmy and got Keaton nominated for her first Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Directing. Talk about a strong start for the next phase in Keaton's multidimensional career.
After the special, Keaton went on to direct episodes of China Beach and Twin Peaks, but even including popular films like Hanging Up later in her career, the after-school special would remain the only directing project that Keaton was recognized for by the Academys that be. And apparently Keaton liked working with Arquette so much that she cast her in her next directing project, a Humanitas Prize-winning TV movie called Wildflower.
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