- The “Last Letter From Your Lover” director said the script reminded her of her own love story.
- Augustine Frizzell briefly dated her now-husband before they went their separate ways.
- They reunited eight years later and began handwriting letters to each other.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
For director Augustine Frizzell, “The Last Letter From Your Lover” felt personal.
The Netflix movie, released Friday, follows journalist Ellie Haworth (Felicity Jones) as she uncovers letters from the 1960s written by illicit lovers Jennifer Stirling, an American expat stuck in an uninspired marriage, and Anthony O’Hare, a divorced foreign correspondent.
Heartbroken from the loss of her own eight-year relationship, Ellie finds renewed hope in the pages in front of her. After learning that Jennifer (Shailene Woodley) and Anthony (Callum Turner) never found their way back to each other, she grows determined to orchestrate their reunion – 40 years later.
When producer Pete Czernin sent the project to Frizzell to gauge her interest, the 41-year-old Texan was taken aback by the parallels between the dual-narrative story and her own relationship with filmmaker David Lowery, now her husband of 11 years.
“When I read the script, I was like, ‘Oh my God, it’s us!'” she told Insider.
Frizzell and Lowery briefly dated before parting ways
Frizzell and Lowery first met in 2001 after she appeared in his short film “Still.” They briefly dated but went their separate ways not long after. In the eight years that followed, they lost touch.
“I never, ever wished that we would have been together those eight years because we had so much growing to do and so much learning and life to live,” Frizzell told Insider.
The couple’s hiatus put Jennifer and Anthony’s four decades without communication into perspective for the director.
“If it had been 40 years and I reacquainted with him, I probably would have been like, ‘Oh god what have I done? I wish you would have been here all this time,'” she said.
When their paths crossed 8 years later, they began writing letters to each other
Nearly a decade later, Frizzell and Lowery’s paths crossed again. He invited her to a showing of his film “St. Nick” at the 2009 AFI Dallas International Film Festival, she previously told D Magazine. Frizzell accepted, and they met in person “one time.”
“We went and had dinner just as friends,” she told Insider.
After that night, they began swapping messages over email.
“We didn’t talk for months,” Frizzell recalled. “We just wrote letters.”
Emails came first, followed by mixtapes, which eventually led to handwritten letters and care packages filled with “little things that made us think of each other.” These exchanges were all happening “under the guise of friendship,” Frizzell said with a laugh.
Unsure how their relationship would play out, the director remembers telling herself: “I’m 100% in love with him, like desperately in love with him. I can’t tell if he just thinks of me as a friend, but I just don’t even care. I’m going to go for it. It’s going to either destroy me, or I’m going to meet the love of my life when we reunite in person.”
Lowery flew to Dallas to visit Frizzell, and they got engaged two weeks later, she told D Magazine. They were married the following year.
Frizzell, like Ellie, fell in love while reading about another couple
Her story coincidentally ties back to Ellie. Like the features writer, who grows fond of an archivist named Rory (Nabhaan Rizwan) as they sift through Jennifer and Anthony’s letters, both Frizzell and Lowery fell in love while reading about another couple: Edward Cullen and Bella Swan.
“When he and I were writing letters to each other over the course of those months we were coreading the ‘Twilight’ series,” she said, joking that she and Lowery “love all types of books” and aren’t embarrassed by it.
The experience of reading Stephenie Meyer’s “gothy,” “romantic” novel with Lowery connected her to Ellie, who becomes entranced by Jennifer and Anthony’s passionate affair and, as a result, opens herself up to a future connection with Rory.
“It felt very much like the way that the letters had influenced Ellie,” she said. “We had had a similar thing where we were reading these books about love and falling in love.”