When actress Polly Draper, who played the wry city bureaucrat Ellyn Warren on the 1987-91 yuppie TV drama thirtysomething, started to write her first screenplay, The Tic Code, her husband vehemently objected. The story explores the friendship between a young jazz-piano prodigy (Christopher George Marquette) and an older jazz saxophonist (Gregory Hines), both of whom suffer from Tourette's syndrome, a neurological disorder that can trigger nervous tics and inappropriate outbursts. "He was very embarrassed about it," says Draper, 45, of her husband, jazz musician Michael Wolff, 48, who has a mild case of Tourette's. "He didn't want me to tell anyone he was the one who had inspired the movie."
Ultimately Wolff relented. Tic, which Draper produced and performed in (as the prodigy's mom), has since won awards at film festivals in Vancouver and Berlin and praise from the Tourette Syndrome Association. "We're all trying to hide from something about ourselves," says Draper, who lives with Wolff and their sons Nat, 5, and Alex, 2, in New York City. "By bringing that out in the open, we can learn to love or accept ourselves."