Jamie Babbit’s 1999 lesbotic comedy But I’m A Cheerleader is hitting the big screen once more at Queer Screen’s Retrospective series later this month.
With more than a nod to John Waters’s Cry Baby and Tim Burton’s EdwardScissorhands, Babbit’s Cheerleader charmed many. An irreverent camp satire, it follows a group of teenagers banished by their families to be de-gayed at the crimson-coloured gay rehab centre True Directions run by Cathy Moriarty and sometime drag queen RuPaul Charles.
Of course, no one ends up straight at True Directions -“ not least the cheerleader of the title. Megan, played by Natasha Lyonne, may have an appetite for tofu and Melissa Etheridge but she’s oblivious to what is so obvious to her parents and boyfriend. Megan is a H-O-M-O.
At True Directions, Megan is assigned to share a room with a gruff tattooed tomboy played by Clea DuVall. And, well, you can imagine what happens, can’t you?
Despite Jamie Babbit’s promising feature debut, she threw herself into steadier, better paid gigs directing television shows including Nip/Tuck and Gilmore Girls until early this year when her new feature project was given a green light.
Itty Bitty Titty Committee brings Cheerleader cast members Clea DuVall and Melanie (Heavenly Creatures) Lynskey together again.
The comedy, about an all-American high school graduate who joins a radical feminist collective, is currently in production. The project is the first feature film for the non-profit gay film production company POWER UP. Elisha Cuthbert and dykon Guin Turner are also rumoured to be in the cast.
Clea DuVall has had some plum roles since Cheerleader including playing a compulsive liar in Girl, Interrupted alongside Winona Rider and Oscar-winning babe Angelina Jolie.
More recently, Clea was seen in the highly regarded The Laramie Project and 21 Grams. She also had a lesbian-tinged role as a tarot card reader in the confusing ABC series Carnivale. All we need now is for her to turn up in The L Word.
Michelle Williams, who has a bit role in Cheerleader, has gone on to A-level status as an Academy Award-nominated star of Brokeback Mountain -“ and fallen in love and made a baby with Heath Ledger.
The handsome blond Kip Pardue went on to roles in Remember The Titans, The Rules Of Attraction and Loggerheads, which was screened at this year’s Mardi Gras Film Festival.
He is currently filming Bobby about the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy and should score the lead in Bret Easton Ellis’ Glamorama.
But whatever happened to Cheerleader’s leading girl?
Sadly, Natasha Lyonne’s career hasn’t been all that spectacular since she starred as Megan in Cheerleader. The American Pie star has been in the media more in recent years for her off-screen antics.
She was arrested for drink driving in 2001. More charges followed in 2004 when she allegedly threatened to abuse a neighbour’s pooch. Lyonne scored an arrest warrant for failing to turn up for her court hearing and it has been reported that she signed up for a stint of drug rehab last year.
Her ups and downs were enough to inspire former neighbour Rufus Wainwright to write a song Natasha about the actress.
But I’m A Cheerleader screens at Dendy Newtown on 29 March at 6:30pm as part of Queer Screen’s Retrospective series. Tickets are $13.50/ $11.50. Bookings 1300 306 776 or at the Queer Screen website.