The New Adventures of Old Coward
BY Brandon Voss
May 20 2009 12:00 AM ET
Priscilla made you a star in 1994 and certainly raised expectations for your career. Do you still feel pigeonholed as a gay director who can only make gay movies?
Totally. I built the big stiletto and I couldn't get from under its shadow. You don't know how difficult that is. All I ever get is "It's not Priscilla , it's not Priscilla ," and that's another reason I pulled out of the industry. I just couldn't top it, couldn't deal with the weight of it anymore, and it was stopping me from growing. But Richard O'Brien, who wrote The Rocky Horror Show , gave me a slap across the face one day and said, "Steph, no matter how big their resumés, very few directors have a Priscilla . So stop hating it and start looking at it as a gift." That really resonated with me. Then the accident pushed me further, and that's when I agreed to co-write the book for the Priscilla stage musical.
After being a huge hit in Australia, Priscilla Queen of the Desert -- the Musical finally opened on London's West End in March. Are audiences there reacting the way you'd expected?
The film did really good business when it first came out, but its DVD life gets bigger every year. There's a big difference between seeing a movie like Priscilla at home and physically going out and paying one of the most expensive ticket prices in town to see a gay show. I didn't think it was ever going to work, but I could not be more thrilled to have been wrong, because it's going through the fucking roof. It's totally and utterly infectious, and there's nothing more fabulous than watching the audience's reaction. We've had people up dancing within the first five minutes. It's like being in mosh pit at a concert. So once they're through the door, people absolutely love it.
Is America ready for the return of Priscilla ?
Oh, yeah, we're on a roll now. A lot of producers and investors are flying in to see it now, and they're loving it. We're going to Toronto with it next, and we'll bring it to Broadway when the timing's right.
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