The Kids Are All Right landed lesbian director and screenwriter Lisa Cholodenko on Hollywood’s A-List (and on Out Magazine’s Top 50 Power List). After a whirlwind year of premieres, nominations and awards ceremonies, she’s currently preparing to direct The Abstinence Teacher, based on the wryly comic novel by Tom Perrotta. Steve Carell is in talks to play the born-again Christian love interest to the film’s titular (but yet un-cast) heroine.
This past year was indeed a banner one for Cholodenko, whose film The Kids Are All Right earned a slew of major film awards, including four Oscar nominations and the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Film – Wide Release.
For the three of you who may not have seen the film, it’s the story of two lesbian moms (played by Annette Bening and Julianne Moore) whose lives are thrown into turmoil when their two teenage children find and meet their sperm donor father.
“When making this film I felt like, in depicting this world, I’m depicting a two-mom family,” says Cholodenko. “I wanted to do it in a way that feels authentic and lived in, and really kind of pushes beyond what we’d expect.” She’s no stranger to pushing the boundaries of conventionality and white picket fences with her previous films including Laurel Canyon and High Art.
On her process of creating flawed but fascinating characters she says, “I really try, when I’m writing them, to write for as long as it takes until I find the real humanness in the characters.”
While many filmmakers cite classic films as their primary inspiration, it was a little known film from 1987 that most inspired Cholodenko. “I remember seeing a movie called I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing. It’s a Canadian film and I saw it right at the brink of when I decided to become a film maker. It’s kind of an off-beat, quirky film, and it kind of got out in the mainstream a little bit for a minute, and that had a big impact on me.”