Israel Horovitz has written over 70 plays. He's had some 50 of them produced in France, which bestowed on him its Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters.
Now he's directed his first feature film, "My Old Lady" based on his 2002 play. "My Old Lady" tells the story of Mathias, played by Kevin Kline, a down on his luck New Yorker who inherits an apartment in Paris from his father.
However his joy is short-lived because the apartment has a tenant, Mathilde, (played by Maggie Smith) who not only has the right to occupy the apartment until she dies, but who is due payment from Kline every month under the French system called viager. The film's initial comic tone soon darkens as family secrets are revealed.
As Israel Horovitz tells Here & Now's Robin Young, his plays always manage to surprise him, even though he's written so many.
"Every time I write a play, I start out thinking [I know] exactly where it's going," Horovitz said, "and midway through the writing I say 'Hmm, isn't it interesting where this play is taking me?'"
This segment aired on September 17, 2014.