Hurricane Bianca swept into NYC last week for a gala premiere, and it proved to be just the jolt of wry insouciance we needed. In the Matt Kugelman-written and directed film, Drag Race winner Bianca Del Rio gets to play both ends of the gender spectrum, conveniently enough. As his birth persona, Roy Haylock, he’s a New York guy who sweeps into a teaching job in a small Texas town, only to lose it for being gay. Well, the guy comes back—as a vindictive, angry woman—to teach them a thing or two, Bianca-style. The crowd at the DGA Theater screamed with laughter at the cleverly devised film (which is available to be streamed), especially at exchanges like “Student: My parents are lawyers. Bianca: Your parents are siblings.”; and Bianca to her nemesis, played by Rachel Dratch: “Let me make one thing clear, Debbie. I’m fucking this cat. You just hold the legs!”
I hosted a Q&A after the first screening and an introductory discussion before the second one, and here are some of the naughty nuggets that popped out of them as I chatted with Bianca and cohorts (who included Bianca Leigh, Shangela, and Willam Belli):
*Matt Kugelman said the movie was born when he was drunk in a bar watching Bianca perform, and he found her so hilarious he wanted to write something for her. Bianca Del Rio added that she wasn’t 100% sure she would get the part—it could have been a “Patti LuPone/Glenn Close” situation.
*I asked Bianca if Violet Chachki was waiting in the wings, hoping for the part. Bianca said yes, Violet has plenty of available time to do that.
*Bianca said she doesn’t want to record a CD because there are enough drag queens out there doing bad music. When I humorously asked if any of the queens on Drag Race have made her skin crawl, she sardonically gestured to some of the people onstage.
*I asked Bianca if her she feels more comfortable doing her insult humor by hiding behind a drag character, “whereas if you were a gay guy being bitchy…” “I’d be you,” she replied without pause. “An old, bitter fag in a sequined blouse. I think you got that down pat.”
*When an African American man in the audience stood up to ask a question, Bianca introduced him as RuPaul. Some in the audience got excited, but Bianca said, “It was a joke. RuPaul isn’t that black.”
*Bianca got outspoken and political about the theme of the film—the horror that gays can be fired in 28 states for their sexuality. The movie shows the absurdity of that and provides a wonderful fictional recourse.
Backstage, I asked Kugelman what the budget for Hurricane Bianca was and he said, “more than Tangerine and less than Avatar.”
He also said there will be a sequel! The title? From Russia with Hate. The plot? “I’ve got some business to do there,” Bianca said, mischievously.
HURRICANE FAYE IS STILL MAD AT THE DIRT
There’s never been a sequel to that other campfest, the 1981 biodrama Mommie Dearest, but that’s OK, since the movie’s ability to affect people in various extreme ways has lasted for decades. Faye Dunaway (who played the complicated movie star Joan Crawford) recently went on record as saying the film destroyed her career, but at an event for the new movie Christine, I ran into Rutanya Alda—who played Crawford’s loyal assistant Carol Ann—and she said, “I think by being bitchy about how Mommie Dearest ruined her career, Faye doesn’t look at how she’s done like 80 movies since then, including the notoriously awful Supergirl and The Wicked Lady. She’s worked. It’s PR. She must need the PR.”
At the same event, I found out that Dennis Christopher (Breaking Away, Django Unchained) truly keeps working, and he doesn’t complain about it. Dennis is in an imminent Epix comedy called Graves, which he told me has Nick Nolte playing a fictional former President who was a bad boy, rose to power, became conservative, “and has a denouement and later realizes he’s fucked everything up,” quixotically trying to rectify things. Christopher didn’t want to say what part he plays, since it would be plot-revealing, but he did explain, “I stir things up.”
Paul Haggis (Crash) was there too, and Dennis went up to him to say he really appreciated his 2013 movie Third Person, a trio of love stories, which starred Liam Neeson. “You’re one of four people,” laughed Haggis.
And finally, I met Rebecca Hall, who very effectively plays suicidal TV reporter Christine Chubbuck in Christine, and had spoken eloquently about the woman’s strivings and disappointments in a Q&A earlier. She, I, and our mutual friend Rob Roth had a lighter time discussing the too casual way the world “legend” is thrown around these days, moving on to an even more hilarious discussion of the classic bad movie The Room. A sequel set in Russia (but filmed in Canada) might be just the ticket.