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Giovanni Rufino/2022 FOCUS FEATURES, Michael Ausiello/Instagram Left: Jim Parsons and Ben Aldridge in Spoiler Alert; Right: The real-life Michael Ausiello and Kit Cowan
Jim Parsons' latest movie has a touching true story behind it.
Spoiler Alert is an adaptation of Michael Ausiello's 2017 memoir Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies about how the television journalist fell in love with photographer Kit Cowan in the early 2000s. They later married on March 21, 2014, and Cowan died at 43 of a rare form of neuroendocrine cancer on Feb. 5, 2015.
At the time, Ausiello wrote in a tribute to Cowan on TVLine (which he founded) that "as you can imagine, my heart is broken. But it's also filled with immeasurable gratitude for the 13-and-a-half years that I was lucky enough to spend with this extraordinarily loving, funny, talented, complicated man."
In the film, from The Big Sick director Michael Showalter, Parsons plays Ausiello, who, after the heartbreaking diagnosis, sets aside relationship issues with Cowan (played by Ben Aldridge) to help him in his final months. Sally Field and Bill Irwin star as Cowan's parents Marilyn and Robert.
Ausiello, 50, told Today.com about the similarities and differences from their real love story and the one depicted onscreen in Spoiler Alert.
"The movie is a version of my life story. It isn't my life. So that also makes it easier when I was on set every day. I was always aware that we were making a movie. I never felt like I was watching my life unfold again before my eyes," he said, adding, "Even though, yes, I knew we were making a movie, there absolutely were times where it took my breath away [with] how similar it felt the actual experience."
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He also confirmed that the Smurfs memorabilia collection shown in the film are his real-life treasures — and only a "fraction of the overall" haul.
Ausiello told Today.com that he's still close with Cowan's parents: "I do keep in touch with them. I visit. I'm not there nearly as much as I used to be because Kit's not here. But I love Bob and Marilyn. They're my family ... I adore them and in many ways, I see them as two of the heroes in this story."
And, the writer say he's "absolutely open" to finding love again today. He said, "Whether I will be lucky enough to find someone that I love as much as Kit, or half as much as I love Kit, I should be so lucky. But my heart is definitely open."
Parsons, 49, recently told Variety that his husband Todd Spiewak encouraged him to option the rights to Ausiello's memoir and make it into a movie. (The actor/producer and Ausiello were also acquaintances for years as the journalist covered him during his Big Bang Theory days.)
"My husband watched me read it, which means he watched me sob through it. And he said, 'Do you think it would make a good movie?' I said, 'I don't know.' And he read it, and he said, 'I think it would,' " said Parsons.
He also explained it was "really thrilling" to share a story that is "such a full view of a gay relationship." Said Parsons, "It was such a full view of two people who really love each other, two souls that come together and go on this journey together, the ups and downs of that, the coming apart and coming back together and, ultimately, being able to really get about as clear a view of another human being as you can possibly get."
Spoiler Alert is in select theaters Friday, then everywhere Dec. 9.