Is 'Other People' Based On A True Story? The Molly Shannon Film Has A Heartbreaking Inspiration

It's been a big summer for Chris Kelly. The comedy writer, who cut his teeth at New York's venerated UCB Theatre, was named the new co-head writer of Saturday Night Live (with Sarah Schneider) on August 12, and now is set to see his feature film debut as a director and screenwriter, Other People, hit theaters on September 9. The movie tells the story of a 29-year-old comedy writer who leaves New York and returns to Sacramento to care for his mother, who's dying of cancer. The film is a mix of comedy and heartfelt drama, but is Other People based on a true story?

Actually, the film is based upon Kelly's own life, as he is also a comedy writer who, while living in New York, temporarily moved back to his hometown of Sacramento to spend time with his mother during her fight against cancer. "The time I spent living with her and my family while she was sick had such an enormous impact on me, that it just felt like that's what I should write about," the director told Alamin Yohannes of NBC News. "Anytime I thought, 'What do I want to say in a movie? What do I care about?,' it always came back to my mother and my family and that time in my life."

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He shared more specifics about the story's inspiration in an interview with Indiewire's Kate Erbland. "My mom passed away in September 2009 and I wrote the first draft of this in the summer of 2012. It didn’t just happen and instantly I was like, 'I’m going to write a movie about this.' It was when I decided I wanted to try to write a feature. I wanted to write something I felt I could do in a truthful way," he said. He also states that, while his and most of his family's surrogate characters in the film aren't 100 percent true-to-life, his mother, played by Molly Shannon, pretty much is.

"It’s loosely autobiographical, but I don’t look at the movie and see my dad as that, or myself, or my sisters, but I do see my mom, and it was kind of accidental," he said. "[Shannon]’s very similar to my mom and so funny and a smartass and very strong. It was hard to direct her, because I do feel like I’m with my mom a bit now."

Chris Kelly may be known for comedy, but by using the most heartbreaking event in his life as inspiration, he's shown that he knows a thing or two about the other side of human emotion as well.

Images: Vertical Entertainment