Evanston-raised director Shira Piven discusses new movie 'Welcome to Me'

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Shira Piven, who's from a Chicago showbiz family, directed "Welcome to Me" with Kristen Wiig. (WLS)

The new movie "Welcome to Me" with Kristen Wiig, Tim Robbins and Joan Cusack is now playing at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago. It's directed by Shira Piven, who's from a Chicago showbiz family.

Alice is a quirky young woman with a mental condition. She wins a lottery jackpot and follows her dream of becoming Lady O - and Alice has the money that can make it happen.

"The first day of shooting was Tim Robbins and Kristen Wiig and so I got it all over with at once all - my nerves," Piven said. "Tim I've known for 25 years but he's still an intimidating dude. Joan Cusack and Kristin Wiig together is kind of just a dream I also feel that they're both these comic actresses with a really vulnerable and sort of tragic side to them."

Shira's parents founded the acclaimed Piven Theatre Workshop in Evanston. Her younger brother is actor Jeremy Piven.

"When we were kids we were barely aware - my brother literally thought my parents sold shoes because my mom didn't throw away old shoes and had a lot of shoes collecting in her closet," Piven said.

Showbiz is tough, but the Midwest is tougher.

"The Chicago winters prepare you for anything, for sure. I was born in New York lived there until I was 6. Most of my childhood was in Chicago - makes you a little bit tougher," Piven said.

Shira continues the family business. She's married to actor-filmmaker Adam McKay, of the "Anchorman" movies.

"Adam is definitely funny a lot of the times and so we laugh a lot and that's the best," Piven said. "All I can hope that if I keep following my passion and doing projects I love hopefully they'll get made."

So after "Welcome to Me," what's up for Shira? Well, she's planning on co-writing a screenplay, directing it, and it will star brother Jeremy.
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