"Feel-good lesbian movie" sounds like an oxymoron when you consider that most big "lesbian" movies end with people getting shot (Boys Don't Cry), dragged off by the Gestapo (Aimée & Jaguar), or watching their businesses burn to the ground (Better Than Chocolate). But Girl Play, which has its Valley première on Tuesday, August 23, ends on a happy note -- so far.
The film, based on a true story, revolves around two women -- actresses Robin Greenspan and Lacie Harmon -- who find themselves cast in a play by an eccentric director (played by Hollywood veteran Dom DeLuise). Robin and Lacie begin to fall for each other, but Robin's had a partner for six years, and Lacie vows not to break up the relationship. Since Greenspan and Harmon co-wrote the script and play themselves in the movie, you can imagine how it worked out.
"We wrote a play [Real Girls, which became the script for Girl Play] two years after we came together," Harmon tells New Times, speaking on a phone from the couple's home in Los Angeles. "It was a try at redemption. I couldn't believe I had fallen in love with someone who was already in love."
Harkins Fashion Square 7 theater, 7014 East Camelback Road in Scottsdale
Screens at 8 p.m. Tuesday, August 23. Tickets cost $9 at the door, but $8 advance tickets are available at Movies on Central, 4700 North Central Avenue, or at web link.
"Not in love. In a relationship," Greenspan says from a phone in the same room. "Let's clarify."
The couple's on-screen clarification includes some sex scenes, although not necessarily with each other.
"There is some hot humping between Robin and me," says Harmon. "But the hot, naked sex is with a character who's an ex-lover I had a last-ditch attempt with. And nobody decided to leave us alone when we taped it. Everybody was there, including Robin."
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While Greenspan admits the experience was "weird," the end product has garnered seven film-festival prizes, including multiple awards from both the Outfest Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and the Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. Amy Ettinger, organizer of the Phoenix OutFar! Gay and Lesbian Film Series, jumped at the chance to bring Girl Play to the Valley. "I've been trying to get this film since I heard about it last year," says Ettinger. "When something wins awards every place it goes, we've got to have it here."
We'll also have Greenspan and Harmon here, and they'll participate in a Q&A session after the showing. In celebration of the movie's DVD release, they'll also hand out DVDs and posters, signed by the whole cast, including Mink Stole (of Pink Flamingos fame) and DeLuise.
With the movie's increasing success, the actresses find that "baring it all" continually connects them with other people. "They can relate to the honesty of [the movie]," says Greenspan. "People say, 'You've lifted me up, you've torn me down, and I'm so grateful.'"
The movie's producers, Gina Goff and Laura Kellam, think a lot of people will also appreciate the film's lighthearted tone. "At the end of the day, it's about finding love," says Kellam. "It's a fun, uplifting movie with a tearful moment or two. It's a feel-good lesbian movie. There aren't too many of those out there."