Stone in love

The director of Big Eden is back—and gay icon Sarah Jessica Parker’s got him—with the holiday comedy The Family Stone

BY Alonso Duralde

December 05 2005 1:00 AM ET

Four years after
Big Eden enchanted queer and straight audiences
alike, writer-director Thomas Bezucha returns with another
ensemble piece about love and family. Only this time,
the central character is a straight woman
trying—and failing—to make a good impression
on her fiancé’s family. But since the
fiancé has a gay sib and since the woman is
played by comedy diva Sarah Jessica Parker, gay audiences
are guaranteed to descend on The Family Stone
in hordes when it hits theaters December 16. The
Advocate
listened in on a conference call between
Parker (in Manhattan) and Bezucha (in Los Angeles), as they
both enthusiastically discussed working together.

Sarah Jessica, I’m curious: What did you think of
Big Eden?
Sarah Jessica Parker: It’s my awful confession…
Thomas Bezucha: You’ve never seen it.
SJP: [Apologetic] I never saw it.
TB: Well, that’s OK.
SJP: But I have a feeling it’s going to
be in my Christmas stocking!

Tom, you have a huge, adoring following from Big
Eden,
and we’ve all been waiting for
the follow-up. What accounted for the lag time?

TB: [Laughs] You tell me. I don’t
know. I set out after Big Eden—I
thought, Well, what was successful in that that I can
extrapolate? I figured, Ensemble. And boy, they really
don’t like ’em out here. And while
people have always loved the script of The Family
Stone,
you put it in front of executives, and
there’s this need to categorize everything. Is
it a comedy? Is it a drama? And I think maybe there
was a “feathered fish” aspect that caused some
of the delay.

For both of you: Why do you think Sarah Jessica has such
a rabid following among gay men?

SJP: I think my lawyer has advised me not to
answer. [Laughs] It would be unsightly of me to
ponder that out loud.
TB: It’s her strength as a woman. She is
that delicious combination of extremely ladylike but
there’s a tomboy element. Where you know she’s
just ready to roll up her sleeves and get in there. I think
that’s got a lot to do with it.

Tom, you have a background in the fashion industry. Was
that a bonding thing for you two?

SJP: I wouldn’t say there was a lot of
time spent on that conversation, but it was wonderful
to have Tom’s extraordinary eye for detail—not
just his aesthetic, which is impeccable—but his
desire to be part of every detail of the set and the
costumes and the hair and the makeup, because
it’s all one, it’s all part of the same story.
The details on the set were so unbelievable that they
could only have come from somebody who has either
learned or developed a desire and interest for detail.

TB: Some reporter
asked me recently about dressing [Parker] and Diane
[Keaton], these two fashion icons. And it wasn’t
until someone actually articulated the question to me
that it occurred to me—I am amazed how little
conversation there was about it. You know what I mean? It
could have been a total disaster, but I remember how
we just saw things the same way.

SJP: This was one
of those experiences where everything was so right, and
every day you feel like it’s going to be the hardest
day, but every day you feel good. Tom had to wait for
this movie to be made, and the people he surrounded
himself with and the enthusiasm that surrounded him, these
experiences are so rare, it’s an impossible thing to
plan.

TB: Which I wish
people would stop saying, because it’s scaring the
shit out of me.

Tags: Commentary

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