Guinevere Turner first made a name for herself with her debut film, Go Fish, cowritten with director and then-girlfriend (although they broke up mid-shooting) Rose Troche. Turner went on to direct many short films, wrote for The L Word (and played the elusive heartbreaker Gabby Deveaux), not to mention cowriting the scripts of American Psycho and The Notorious Bettie Page.
Turner is now working on her feature length directorial debut with Creeps, a film about a chosen family of somewhat aimless twenty and thirty-something friends living in L.A. in the nineties. I had the privilege of interviewing Turner about Creeps, and the ongoing Indiegogo campaign to crowd-fund the project—it's over in four days!
Marie-Hélène Westgate: Your new film is called Creeps. Who are the creeps in Creeps?
Guinevere Turner: The creeps in Creeps are in their late twenties to mid thirties—LGBT and two straight characters! They’re friends who go out a lot, hang out a lot, and sort of function as a dysfunctional family. To me, the creeps are perceived as lowlifes in the eyes of mainstream society. They have a lot of sex, and drink, do drugs, gossip, cruise, hang out. They’re night people; up to no good.
In your interview on Margaret Cho’s podcast, Monsters of Talk, you discuss how gay filmmakers are often expected to depict queer characters with some kind of politically correct affect or an activist bent. In Creeps though, the protagonists are total messes. Are you concerned people might accuse Creeps of depicting queers as negative stereotypes?
Lord, I hope not! I hope it’s clear I write these characters with affection, familiarity, and a faith that my audience will see flawed LGBT characters as a breath of fresh air rather than an affront.
Films like American Psycho and Go Fish have really stood the test of time. Have you ever felt like you were ahead of the zeitgeist somehow, when it comes to stories about sexuality and gender? Even with Creeps, you joked that you hope people don't hate it for depicting flawed queers.
Oh God, please don't ask that. What if it means that Creeps will be awesome but only have a lukewarm reception and then when I’m 65 people will suddenly think it’s great? Okay, I'm being a drama queen. I’m so lucky and grateful that movies I made ten and 20 years ago are still being talked about and referenced. I think that's the best you can hope for.
How do you choose your film projects, anyway?
I feel like they choose me. Go Fish was all about depicting the lesbian community as I knew it and never saw it on screen. The Notorious Bettie Page was about meeting the director in a bar and having her tell me I looked like Bettie. American Psycho was about that same director saying, "I know you hate gory stuff, but please read this book." Creeps comes out of the fact that my best friend was here in LA and we thought, "Let's mess around and tell a version of our 90s lives.”
Where are you in the production process with Creeps?
The script is written. I wrote it and will direct it. I’ve directed shorts before but this will be my first feature. The goal now is to raise the funds to shoot it. We’re in the process of crowd-funding with Indiegogo and the campaign ends November 24th!
It's a very modern and labor-intensive process: very exciting, and very much an emotional roller coaster. I’m lucky enough to have my producer Valeria Lopez by my side, and a team of hard working interns, so at least I don't feel alone in looking at the campaign page every day and biting my nails!
Do you have a projected completion or release date in mind?
I'd be foolish to say I do because anyone who works in film knows that you just never know—it can move very fast or very slow—but in my dream world it’s ready for its close up by the end of 2014!
Great! Anything else you would like to say to Bitch readers?
I love Bitch magazine. It makes me feel like I am actually a part of a target audience, and not necessarily a lesbian one!
Look for an extended interview with Turner in the Spring issue of Bitch!
Related Reading: Interview with the Creator of Queer Webseries Little Horribles.