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Art imitates life for Brian Goodman

<i>Variety</i> screens drama 'What Doesn't Kill You'

First time helmer Brian Goodman had a tremendous amount of input while shooting “What Doesn’t Kill You,” which screened at the ArcLight on Wednesday as part of the Variety Screening Series. Not only did Goodman write and direct the Boston crime saga, but the lead role of Brian (played by Mark Ruffalo) is based on his real life.

“It’s strange sitting here in front of an audience after all of this,” admits the director.

Goodman, who was jailed for grand theft during the late ’80s, has seen it all: Drug-addiction, poverty, severed family ties and a near-fatal shooting which left him with a small caliber bullet lodged in the back of his head.

“I think 85% of us walking the earth have a movie in their mind. I certainly don’t think I lived the life of Mandela or anything, but still, it was a good story.”

“What Doesn’t Kill You” tells the tale of two friends (Ruffalo and Ethan Hawke) growing up on the mean streets of south Boston in the ’70s and ’80s. Goodman said he started writing the movie out of pure boredom while incarcerated.

“There was a lot of paper involved. Anyhow, once I got out (of prison), I had my sister type up all of the notes for me. I still don’t use typewriters to this day.”

After meeting Donnie Wahlberg at a high-stakes poker game and presenting him with the script, Goodman and Wahlberg hit it off, exchanging phone calls and ideas until eventually finding the right financier in the Bob Yari Group.

Wahlberg, who is credited with co-writing the drama, also acts in the pic as well.

“I’ve been sober now for 14 years,” says Goodman. Asked how he manages to do so, especially in Hollywood, Goodman replies, “Golf. A lot of golf.”

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