Liz Garcia ’99 is the director, screenwriter, and co-producer of The Lifeguard (Focus World and Screen Media), in which a young woman (Kristen Bell, Veronica Mars) nearing 30 quits her Associated Press reporting job in New York and returns to her childhood home in Connecticut. She gets work as a lifeguard and has an affair with a troubled teenager (David Lambert), the son of a co-worker.
The film’s also stars Mamie Gummer, Martin Starr, Alex Shaffer, Adam LeFevre and Joshua Harto, who also is a co-producer (and Garcia’s husband).
The Lifeguard premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last January and was released in late July for viewers to rent on iTunes and a number of cable video-on-demand systems. The movie has its big screen release on Aug. 30 in 15 cities.
In this Q&A, Associate Director of Publications David Low interviews the multi-talented Garcia, who also has worked as a writer, director, and producer on several television series, including Cold Case and Memphis Beat, which she created with Harto.
Q: What inspired the script of The Lifeguard?
A: I worked as a lifeguard at a pool when I was in high school and on break from Wesleyan, and it was a job and environment I always wanted to tell stories about. I just wasn’t sure exactly how. But I loved the feeling of the quiet pool, and what it was like to observe peoples’ lives, families, and couples, while sitting in that chair. I noodled over the idea of a lifeguard who was an overachiever and thought she knew how life was to be lived intersecting with some lost teenage boys at the pool, and I let that idea grow. Then it converged with the idea of facing adulthood, of turning 30, and when I knew that this would be about a young woman returning to the dream job of her youth, the story came together quickly.