The women in the new comedy Chick Fight — about an underground female fight club that features plenty of queer representation — kicked each other’s asses in the ring, but it was all about sisterhood on and off camera. It’s also a perfectly timely and funny movie in terms of finding ways to channel outside stressors.
The movie stars Malin Ackerman as Anna, a financially struggling small-business owner whose bills are due and whose Prius is about to be repossessed. As Anna’s woes mount, her lesbian best friend, Charleen (Dulcé Sloan), introduces her to a women-only fight club, refereed by Fortune Feimster’s Bear. It's there that Anna could possibly make a few bucks while pounding out her frustrations. Initially, Anna’s reluctant to get down and dirty, but after throwing down a bet that she can beat the undisputed champion, Olivia (Bella Thorne), she begins a peculiar training regimen with a haggard fight specialist played by Alec Baldwin, and she grows to love the fight club.
“I think we all need somewhere to take out all the anxiety and the stress of the world — the anger, the bitterness, whatever,” Ackerman tells The Advocate in a video interview. “It would be lovely to meet up with these ladies in an underground fight club and consensually just get it all out. And stick together and hold each other up as we do in our sisterhoods that we have. I think that’s so important to be there for each other.”
Chick Fight, directed by Paul Leyden, is ultimately about female solidarity and family (both the family you’re born with and the family you make). But it’s also incredibly queer while serving up lots of laughs, all without making a big deal that it’s an LGBTQ+ movie. In addition to Charleen, Anna’s dad (Kevin Nash) comes out as queer and introduces her to his new partner, Chuck (Alec Mapa). Additionally several of the actors, including Thorne, Feimster, Mapa, Dominique Jackson, and Nicole Paone (as one of the fighters), are out.
“Genuinely having a movie that is so diverse in this sense and isn’t trying to be diverse, it is just natural — that’s what I think is so fun is that we never make such a deal out of anyone’s sexuality like in most movies where they have a token gay character,” Thorne says. It’s really interesting, because [like] every third person I meet is gay. This is just the world. I think the film did such a great job of properly representing my community. It’s just good to see.”
“I think in the next few years, we’ll see that so much on-screen that it really will become a normality for us,” she adds.
In a dual interview, Feimster and Sloan corroborated their pleasure in working with the team of skilled actors, but they also shouted out to those who don’t get all of the glory.
“We were all so blown away by the stunt coordinators, the fighters that were doing the hard-core scenes,” Feimster says. “I think it makes us reappreciate women and our strengths. Like, “Look at them!’”
“We have to give credit to the extras in the movie — the women who were there as the other women in the fight club. The women who don’t have any speaking roles, who were there on the other side of the cage, because there were times where they had to be there just as long as we did or longer,” Sloan says.
“As a performer, you’re just exhausted. And they would start shaking the cage and yelling ‘go, go, go,’” Sloan says of how the women were up for anything and fed into the energy of those in the center of the ring, which ultimately made the movie a joy to work on.
Chick Fight is in theaters and on VOD now.