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Drive-Away Dolls Trailer Reveals the Authentic Lesbian Road Trip We Crave

Drive-Away Dolls Trailer Reveals the Authentic Lesbian Road Trip We Crave

The stars of 'Drive-Away Dolls'
Wilson Webb / Working Title / Focus Features

Filmmakers Ethan Coen and Tricia Cooke tell us that their wild ride of a lesbian road movie that stars Margaret Qualley, Geraldine Viswanathan, and Beanie Feldstein is a passion project to which Cooke brings her queer identity.

For those craving a wild ride of a lesbian road trip, look no further than the Drive-Away Dolls from filmmakers Ethan Coen and Tricia Cooke. The trailer for the film, out September 23, promises good old-fashioned lesbian bar scenes, queer actors, bad guys, intrigue, and an epic car ride all wrapped up with Coen’s signature wackiness. An Oscar winner for No Country for Old Men with his brother, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen credits cowriter Cooke as the film’s “de facto co-director.” It’s a passion project that began years ago and stars Margaret Qualley, Geraldine Viswanathan, Beanie Feldstein, Colman Domingo, Matt Damon, and Pedro Pascal. And while the characters exist happily in their queer identities without a major meal made of it, with Cooke as a co-creator, queerness is a part of the film's DNA.

“The movie started when a friend and I came up with the movie title Drive-Away Dykes. Ethan and I thought it was too good a title to waste by not making whatever movie would go along with it,” Cooke, an editor and producer on many Coen Brothers films, tells The Advocate.

“I’m a queer filmmaker, so having queer characters as leads in a film felt both natural and important to me. I’d grown up seeing gay characters in movies, but rarely did the movies have happy endings, and they were never irreverent or lighthearted.”

“It was important to me to tell a story where the character’s sexuality, though important, wasn’t the whole point of the narrative,” she adds.

The trailer teases just enough of the plot to have lesbian fans already frothing over Drive-Away Dolls’ bar scenes and the premise of Qualley (Jamie) Viswanathan (Marian) hauling ass to Tallahassee with a briefcase of some precious cargo that belongs to Domingo’s character. Feldstein as a soft-butch cop, Sukie, is icing after that.

“We wrote the movie way back when, 20 years ago, but couldn't get it made then, because then it was hard to get a movie about two lesbians made, and especially hard if it was a movie about two lesbians but was deficient in the kind of 'importance' that those movies were supposed to have,” Cooke and Coen say. “Now it's easier to make a movie where having two lesbian main characters doesn't have to mean the movie is ‘important.’ There's now room for absurdity in a gay movie — room which we desperately needed. We used every inch of it.”

Still, Drive-Away Dolls, with all its exuberant absurdity and nods to action-packed road trips, has moments of prescience, says Coen.

“As for the political significance of the movie: you'll see, when you see it, that the movie says something about the issues [of LGBTQ+ erasure]. Being the kind of movie it is, it says it in a lighthearted way, but sometimes when you're just kidding, you aren't kidding,” Coen says.

“We don’t want our identities erased, or stereotyped, or beat up on. It’s important to represent in every way possible — lesbian, bisexual, trans, gay, gender fluid, nonbinary — and having the opportunity to make a movie that let us put queer characters at the forefront gives visibility to our community. Since Ethan has an audience outside of that community, we hope to speak to a larger demographic,” Cooke adds.

Watch the trailer for Drive-Away Dolls below. The film is in theaters September 23.

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