SALEM, Mass. —
O’Brien was 4-foot-7 and weighed about 70 pounds, she said. He was paralyzed from the neck down and capable of only minimal movements. Cohen Greene had seen several disabled clients, but none as severely disabled as O’Brien.
“He told me he felt like he was looking through the window of a restaurant where everybody on the other side was having a huge feast that he would never be able to take part in,” she said.
They had six sessions. She lay next to his twisted body on a bed and engaged in body awareness exercises.
Eventually, they had intercourse.
“The sessions were difficult because he was so fragile,” she said.
O’Brien went to a sex surrogate in the hope of meeting a woman and having a relationship.
“My major concern was that he would never find somebody because of how profoundly disabled he was,” Cohen Greene said.
It took several years, but O’Brien eventually met a woman with whom he co-founded a small press. He also stayed in touch with his surrogate.
“Mark and I remained friends until his death,” Cohen Greene said.
Before the movie was made, Cohen Greene talked at length with the director and met several times with Hunt.
“Oh, God, I love her,” she said. “I wouldn’t say we’re best friends by any means, but we like each other.”
One day, Cohen Greene demonstrated something she calls sensual touch on Hunt’s boyfriend while the actress watched. “We were all fully clothed,” she said, laughing.
Another time, they adjourned to Hunt’s car, where the actress had her read from the script and taped her Boston accent.
“When I heard her dialogue, I said, ‘Oh, my God, she really has listened to me — not just my accent, but what I was saying.”
Cohen Greene, a grandmother, is busier than ever with the release of the movie and publication of the book.
And although she is winding down a little, she still finds time for the day job.
“I just started working with a 92-year-old man,” she said. “He’s wonderful.”
Tom Dalton is a reporter for The Salem (Mass.) News. Contact him at email@example.com.