Coronavirus

‘Willy’s Wonderland’ Director Kevin Lewis on Surviving COVID-19

He writes about combating for his life simply weeks earlier than his Nicolas Cage-starring movie hits VOD.

Kevin Lewis is the director of “Willys Wonderland” starring Nicolas Cage as The Janitor, which is on the market right now on VOD.

Who’s The Janitor? Is he a quiet drifter who stumbles upon a band of murderous, satanic-possessed animatronics? Sure. Is he Nicolas Cage, who is just not solely one of the vital superb actors, however a beautiful companion to make a film with? Completely sure. Is he G.O. Parsons, who wrote a completely unique script? one hundred pc sure. Is he Jeremy Daniel Davis, who labored tirelessly daily for years to see “Willy’s Wonderland” lastly get to the end line? A powerful sure.

Is he the producers who pushed relentlessly onerous to see this film get made? Little question sure. Is he Emoi, who not solely gave Willy a voice that wasn’t written on the web page, but in addition composed a pulse-pounding soundtrack that’s the coronary heart and soul of “Willy’s Wonderland?” Undoubtedly sure. Is he three-time Academy Award winner Paul N.J. Ottosson, who did the sound design/combine for me as favor to a good friend? Oh sure. Is he Dave Newbert, the unimaginable DP, and all of the solid and crew who made “Willy’s” what it’s right now? Assuredly sure. Is he me? The director of “Willy’s” who, as a director to inform the right narrative, you need to see via the eyes of the characters in your story? Sure.

However I’m additionally The Janitor as a result of I’m a survivor of COVID-19.

Two weeks in the past I used to be rushed into the ER with COVID-19 viral bilateral pneumonia and two blood clots in my lungs. My world had modified. I used to be not staring into the abyss, I used to be dwelling it. Blood polyps surrounded my coronary heart and I used to be in huge ache as a result of I couldn’t breathe. My oxygen stage was at 82 and a fireplace was in my coronary heart that I couldn’t extinguish. After spending a number of days in full agony with an oxygen masks blowing into my lungs at 100 mph and blocking my imaginative and prescient, I used to be not getting higher — I used to be getting worse. It was determined by my physician that I used to be to be admitted to the ICU for 24-hour monitoring. I used to be poked and prodded with needles and tubes, wheeled via CAT scans and X-rays, and heard muffled conversations of lung transplants, by no means to train once more, and, after all, demise.

The times ticked by slowly as I struggled day and evening with the ache of not having the ability to breathe. With an oxygen masks jammed up my nostrils, making my nostril drip with blood, and being wired up like some Frankenstein monster, the thoughts can play methods on you. The isolation, loneliness, and being probably the most susceptible in your life can have lasting impact.

The nights are the place the demons come out. Your thoughts can go to locations you by no means thought it might go. Self-doubt creeps up on you want a monster in the dead of night filling your head, making you are feeling weak, afraid, and susceptible. Susceptible Susceptible Susceptible. That’s what they inform you to do. That was the primary recommendation I received from the IV specialist whose father-in-law handed away this December of COVID. He didn’t take heed to the medical doctors and nurses, and now he’s gone. The IV specialist requested to wish for me, and I used to be so grateful that he did. Prayer is a strong factor, and I knew I wanted something on my facet at this level in my life if I had been actually going to make it. Texts from my mates and family members received me by. Feebly, I’d have the ability to kind one factor that jogged my memory of my family and friends and I instructed them that and that I cherished them. That was my Punch Pop that received me via the day: the sincerity to inform the individuals that really mattered in my life how a lot they’ve meant to me all these years.

As I laid there, I pictured my desk. It was messy and it wanted to be organized. Cleansing it up would entail telling my soon-to-be 16-year-old son that he’s now the person of the home, saying to my 15-year-old daughter to care for her mom and little brothers, telling my 5- and 7-year-old sons that “Daddy will all the time be with them of their hearts” and telling my 90-year-old mom who survived a hit-and-run automotive accident once I was 10 years outdated, had her face clear wiped off, and had 50-or-some surgical procedures via 40 years that her inspiration was the battery that powered me via my life. Determining how my spouse might promote a few of my pop-culture film memorabilia that may give her some additional monetary respiratory room, and naturally telling her what a wonderful human being and unbelievable spouse of 20 years she has been to me. She is and all the time might be my finest good friend.

Day by day I labored at getting higher. Retraining myself to breathe once more was the toughest half. Pushing the blood out of my lungs by making myself cough till I gagged got here a detailed second. The spotlight of the day was speaking to the nurses and medical doctors, discovering out about their lives and the way sort and particular they really are. Via the week I’d do no matter it took to heal my lungs. I assumed making motion pictures was onerous; this was making motion pictures occasions 10. Being in a room with the fluorescent mild beaming down on you and no home windows can eat away at your soul, particularly if you find yourself combating to your very life. It’s a must to situation the thoughts to dam it out, rather a lot tougher to do than it sounds. I’d all the time watch the door, imagining it bursting open with the physician telling me I used to be free to go. That by no means got here, however a minimum of it was a constructive thought, and I wanted numerous constructive ideas to get by.

Lastly, after inhaling the hospital meals, “inclined”-ing my life away and pushing the poison out of my physique, I might slowly really feel my power creep again into my bones. My urge for food grew stronger, my ideas grew to become extra constructive, the music from my iPhone from — The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” to Nick Cave’s “Jesus Alone” — grew to become clearer and my will grew to become like metal, decided in any respect prices to remain alive. Day and evening, I labored my thoughts and physique desirous about the desk. However now the desk was cleaner, my targets clearer, and my thoughts and physique as one. The constructive visions began to grow to be a actuality because the physician did burst into the door and inform me that “Kevin, you received the Tremendous Bowl.” I used to be being transported out of the ICU after per week right into a step-down unit. My oxygen had elevated and I used to be now not depending on 95 p.c, I solely want 6 p.c to get by, and I used to be going decrease by the day. Tears flooded down my face like they did usually on the hour of each hour — particularly once I considered how I missed my household and mates — solely this time they had been tears of pleasure. Actual, pure pleasure.

After I was wheeled away in my mattress, claps and cheers erupted from the entire employees. These individuals saved my life and in a brief week all of them grew to become my mates. “That is why we do what we do,” they instructed me, to see individuals like me transfer on out of the ICU and make it to the subsequent stage.

To dwell.

After two days within the step-down unit and dealing PT, it was time to lastly go residence. The doc was proper, I did win the Tremendous Bowl.

As I write this I’m in my residence. The solar is shining brighter, the apples that I crunch in my mouth style sweeter, my youngsters are extra angelic, and my spouse is much more stunning than she has ever been earlier than.

So, I’m The Janitor. I beat COVID just like the nine-foot Orange Weasel and I’m alive.

And you might be The Janitor too. The human spirit is a tremendous factor, and all of us have it in us to soar to nice heights, obtain unimaginable issues, and to dwell our lives serving to and caring for each other.

Whether or not it’s the weasel and all his mates, a virus, or evil across the nook, we now have the braveness as mankind to face up and do what is correct. Now we have the desire and dedication to wash our personal tables at our private Willy’s Wonderland.

Sure, we’re The Janitor.

“Willy’s Wonderland” is on the market on VOD.

Initially from Denver, Lewis’ early movie efforts earned a scholarship to the college of cinema at USC, the place he studied beneath administrators John McTiernan and Renny Harlin and producer Lynda Obst. His first characteristic, “The Methodology” (starring Sean Patrick Flanery, Robert Forster, and Natasha Gregson Wagner), was acquired for distribution after its premiere on the 1996 Slamdance Movie Competition. Different credit embody “The Drop,” “Darkish Coronary heart,” “Downward Angel,” and “The Third Nail,” starring Chloe Grace Moretz, Charles S. Dutton, Jonathan Banks, John Savage, and Sean Younger.

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