I was thinking about making a more universal coming of age story that explored sexual awakening but ultimately the story for me is a lot about coming to terms with grief and loss. I thought that aspect of losing someone important to you was an element that everyone could relate to one way or another.
Van Sant’s career began in advertising and art house theaters. He directed television commercials in New York, while saving money to fund his creative projects. Often rejected by major motion picture studios, many of Van Sant’s early ideas eventually landed in art house films.