Stirring the Pot
BY Brandon Voss
August 07 2009 12:00 AM ET
Do you recall what the topic of your speech was going to be that night?I was probably just going to give my general "speech" -- whatever it was during that period. I don't even think it was particularly gay-themed or anything. But Larry's was. [ Laughs ]
To be fair, you also earned a place in gay film history for co-writing the screenplay of Silkwood, which earned Cher an Oscar nomination for playing Karen Silkwood's lesbian friend Dolly Pelliker. That I really do think was a breakthrough. I don't mean that she was the first gay character in a mainstream movie, but this was no joking, winking, interior decorator gay person; it was a person. That character was actually based on Karen's housemate [Sherri Ellis], who was gay, so we didn't make that up. We just made up all the plot points that went with it.
You definitely sexualized Dolly, giving her a girlfriend and an unrequited love for Karen Silkwood. As this was 1983, were you met with any concerns from studio bigwigs about fleshing out Dolly's lesbianism?Not at all. They were so busy worrying about the radiation business suing us that they didn't even care. The studio's fears were elsewhere.
Like many of your previous female-focused films, Julie & Julia is being labeled a "chick flick," but your romantic comedies have obviously resonated with the gay community as well. Do you ever have the gay audience in mind when you're making a film?People love to compartmentalize whom your movies are going to play with, but what you just want is for people to like them. So I don't ever think about whether or not the gay community is going to like something, because if it's all right, then of course they will.
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