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Gina Gershon and  Jennifer Tilly on Bound's Landmark Lesbian Sex Scenes

Gina Gershon and  Jennifer Tilly on Bound's Landmark Lesbian Sex Scenes

Bound

The actresses reminisce about how it was easy to "objectify" one another and how the ratings board forced the Wachowskis to deromanticize the film's big sex scene. 

The Wachowski siblings' first feature, the lesbian-themed neo-noir Bound, was a quiet sensation for queer women when it landed in theaters in late 1997. Its stars Jennifer Tilly (Child's Play) and Gina Gershon (Showgirls, Riverdale) recently reunited in a piece in Entertainment Weekly to discuss the landmark film and how it was easy to play lovers although it was a project Gershon was warned against joining.

Commemorating the film about an ex-con (Gershon's Corky) and a mobster's girlfriend and femme fatale, Violet (Tilly), who fall in love and outsmart the mob, the actresses spoke at length about their love scenes. Meanwhile, Gershon talked about her working with the Wachowski siblings on a project about women long before they came out as transgender.

"My agents didn't want me to do it. Literally, I was told, 'You are ruining your career doing this movie. We will not let you do this movie,'" Gershon said about playing a lesbian at a time when it was considered a career killer to play gay.

"I never get to play the hero and to get the chick. I mean, it's the typical part that I've watched my whole life, and it's never been a woman. I left my agents over it," she said, adding that she modeled some of her physicality on silver screen heavyweights like Robert Mitchum and Marlon Brando.

The actresses remarked that they've stayed friends throughout the intervening 22 years since Bound was released and shared what ran through their minds when they first met.

"As soon as I met Jen, I thought, Oh, my God, all I have to do is watch her. She was so amusing and so fun. It's just so easy to watch her, like her butt and her legs. It made my job easy to kind of objectify her," Gershon said. "We liked each other as soon as we met."

"Once they got the two of us in the room, I thought, This is a girl that I can really see being in a relationship with," Tilly said of Gershon.

Gershon also shared that to prep for the role she was under the advisement of Susie Bright, who wrote (among other things) 1990's Susie Sexpert's Lesbian Sex World.

Regarding the film's big sex scene, the actresses spoke about how the ratings board forced the Wachowskis to cut it in a way that depicted them as more sexual than in love.

"God forbid we have these two women actually in love. We had to go with the 'fucking' scene. In the 'fucking' scene, they were really going at it, and it wasn't as emotional. They were OK with that, which is bullshit," Gershon said.

Tilly added, "The Wachowskis said, 'It's homophobia, pure and simple.' The shot that we used was so much more elegant. This one's a lot more graphic."

When Lilly and Lana Wachowski (The Matrix) shot Bound, it was not known that they were transgender, and Gershon admitted to wondering at the time how they could write so convincingly about women's relationships.

"I kept thinking [at the time], What do you guys [the Wachowskis] know about being women? How did you write this thing? And little did I know, at the time, they were really feeling something," Gershon told EW. "They really were feeling bound up inside. So, it became that the metaphor had a deeper meaning. It wasn't like, 'Oh, aren't they clever writers.' I thought, Wow, they were going through this, and the world didn't know."

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Tracy E. Gilchrist