Why You Should Go See Carrie Tonight

Fourteen years after Boys Don’t Cry, director Kimberly Peirce tells the tale of another outcast, this time with telekinetic powers.


  UPDATED: October 18 2013 9:40 PM ET

Pierce with some of her Stop-Loss actors, Ryan Phillippe and Abbie Cornish.


At the heart of the film, for Peirce, is the “beat-by-beat escalation” of the bullying Carrie is subjected to and the difference between how girls bully and how boys bully. “Boy bullying is physical,” Peirce says. “I hate to centralize gender, because that’s the last thing, as queer people, we want to do, but let’s just say on some level, there is some truth to this. That with girls it’s less physical, but it’s relentless, it’s verbal. That’s how girls attack one another.”

“With bullying now, it never goes away,” she adds. “Once you put it on a tape, once you put it on the Internet, if you’re the kid who’s bullied — it used to be you could go home, shut the door, and the bullying went away. It’s like a glass house; you can never get away from it now.”

Many young LGBT viewers will likely see themselves as walking in Carrie’s shoes. “This is the story of the rise of the underdog,” Peirce says. “The person who gets pushed around ends up getting empowered. Well, what happens when they have that power?”

But for a filmmaker who loves to explore the darkness and violence, will we ever see a comedy?

“Oh, God, yes,” she says through a chortle. “There is humor in this movie, it’s very dark. I scream with laughter whenever [Julianne Moore] is on-screen because I just think she’s hilarious. There is a lot of dark humor in this. But I have a really great butch-femme romantic sex comedy that I’ve been writing. It’s just a question of timing — is the world ready for it? It’s kind of in the Woody Allen, Judd Apatow mode. Because, you know, butches, right? Butches face a lot of the same challenges that Jewish guys face.”

Also in the works now is a story about her father, involving a girl like herself who leaves Miami only to come back and help her father at the end of his life. “[My father] got very rich and had a lot of power and really destroyed himself. And at the very end of his life, I came back and helped him die. It may sound depressing, but it’s actually very funny because all the women that he ever loved — and he was very charismatic — they all came back too. And so it was me kind of navigating through this.”

Just getting a film made is an accomplishment for a woman these days, she says.

“We need more women directing. It’s heartbreaking. And you look at the television statistics [of female directors], and it’s heartbreaking. I mean, they say it’s 6%, I think it’s 2%. It should be 50-50, right?”

Tags: film