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MOVIES Classic lesbian film stages re-'Bound,'and the stars weigh in
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times
2019-04-17

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The popular 1996 film Bound is a lesbian centered crime thriller written and directed by the Wachowskis in their feature film debut. Jennifer Tilly plays Violet who is a relationship with a member of the mafia named Caesar. Gina Gershon as Corky works next door and changes their lives by planning to steal Caesar's money together with Violet.

The Wachowskis went from Bound to big success with The Matrix franchise and Lana Wachowski was the first major film director to come out as transgender, with Lily following in March 2016.

Ebertfest was founded just three years after Bound in 1999 by the late Roger Ebert and takes place in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois every April. The concept behind the movie festival is to screen films that are deserving more recognition than their initial run.

On April 11, Chaz Ebert, Roger's wife and festival co-founder, introduced two of the stars from Bound. Actresses Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon arrived at Champaign's Virginia Theatre to watch Bound with the audience and answer questions afterward.

Tilly stated that she originally wanted to play the part of Corky, saying, "I was tired of playing the same roles and wanted to kick ass. Hand to hand contact is sexy. Every time Gina got a new bruise on her face, I felt a little more turned on!"

Both actresses were thrilled to see the movie projected in a theater once again and Gershon apologized for talking so much throughout the film, adding, "The sound for Bound is so much better on the big screen."

Panel moderator Chuck Koplinski, from Reel Honest Reviews, asked about the sex scenes in Bound. Gershon explained that it was very technical and the Wachowskis knew every single shot. Tilly said, "When it is men in Hollywood writing sex scenes, then it's just pages of porn. This script was different —just said a bed somewhere and they have sex—so we were not alarmed. Gina brought tequila for the first time we kissed."

Gershon added, "I knew she was nervous so it was like a first date. I brought tequila and chocolate. I knew it would be fine." Tilly exclaimed, "She bought me snacks and alcohol! It was the story of my dating life, really…"

The directors hired feminist Susie Bright to choreograph the sex scenes, which were filmed on a closed set. Tilly joked, "Me and Gina like to make out in private." They had footage that the Motion Picture Association of America deemed to be rated NC-17. "The Wachowskis said it was homophobia plain and simple. Maybe they will put it in the 25th anniversary of the deleted scenes.They should include all eight takes. That will really sell it," Tilly said to laughter from the audience.

Reel Honest Reviews' Pamela Kammer Powell questioned the actresses about how their perspectives of lesbian relationships have changed with the times. Tilly poked fun at Gina by saying, "Gina did lots of research for this role. She was in San Francisco with Susie Bright going around to all of the gay bars. She was trying out lines from the movie on girls to see if they worked."

Gershon stated that was made up, but after working on the Riverdale TV series, she has seen the LGBT community depicted in many ways—including references to Bound on the show. She was originally advised to not accept the role in Bound and was told it would ruin her career.

Tilly stated, "People don't know how far the LGBT community has come since we filmed this. The Wachowskis said many actresses refused to read for it. Two of the best female parts I had ever read and people didn't want to come in? I was just astonished. Back then, all we had was Red Shoe Diaries that made lesbians very titillating. Gina and I were concerned about being like that, but the script was so amazing. Gina and I were a team. We looked after each other. It was a story about two women that happened to be in love. Warner Bros. offered $10 million to make Corky a man. The Wachowskis went to Dino De Laurentiis instead, who gave them $3 million to make Bound."

Gershon followed that with thoughts about directors being transgender, which she said "is so interesting. There was dialogue saying I want to get out of my body. I wondered if they were thinking about that then. They were incredible directors who knew what they wanted. It was a well-oiled machine."

The two stars were both presented with golden thumbs-up statues ( reflecting how Roger Ebert rated movies ) after the screening.


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