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Lost girls.

Straight actress Piper Perabo and lesbian director Lea Pool talk about coming of age, shooting love scenes, and the passionate boarding school romance of Lost and Delirious

With the rush of freshly brewed hormones pumping through our veins and the first potent feelings of love and desire oozing from every pore, we come of age. With such a universal experience, it is no wonder that stories of gay girls in boarding school have become such a time-honored tradition. Lost and Delirious is one such tale.

"I was a little afraid that it was a subject that was already too much explored," admits director Lea Pool in a charming French accent via telephone from Canada. Why, then, would the accomplished Swiss-born writer-director of Set Me Free choose Lost and Delirious for her English-language directorial debut? "For me, adolescence is a period of life when everything is so intense, where we are so vulnerable and courageous at the same time," she says. "I thought if I could find good actresses, this really can be something very authentic and very powerful."

Fortunately, she found an ace in the hole. Captivating newcomer Piper Perabo (Coyote Ugly) embraced the opportunity to portray a strong female character with heroic undertones. "I had wanted to play Joan of Arc for so long, and they made two Joan of Arc films," says the passionate performer. "And I thought, Fuck, I'll never play Joan of Arc. And Paulie came along. And I thought, All right, here we go."

Perabo's magnetic portrayal sets off sparks as she fully embodies the gallantry of the indomitable Paulie. "I try and prepare characters physically if I can," Perabo says. "Paulie is so great in that she's a fencer, which, for me, makes it an obvious place to start with how to build her, how she squares off her shoulders when she walks. So the way I started was to study fencing."

Based on the novel The Wives of Bath, which was inspired by the boarding school experiences of author Susan Swan, Lost and Delirious centers on the beautiful and popular Tory (Jessica Pare) and the spirited and brainy Paulie. Their new roommate, Mouse (Mischa Barton), soon becomes aware that Tory and Paulie's pillow fights are a kind of innocent foreplay. The erotic kisses and beautifully sensual love scenes between Pare and Perabo expose the pure and idealistic love shared by the two schoolgirls--until they get caught in the act. Tory cannot handle the stigma of being branded a lesbian, and she begins to date a student from the nearby boys' school. Grand romantic gestures follow as Paulie takes a stand--quite literally, while quoting Shakespeare atop a library table--when unbounded passion becomes unrequited love.

"I've never in my life loved like Paulie," Perabo admits. "I feel like Paulie loves and gives it all away. And it's only in literature that I have read, like Romeo and Juliet, that they do that. They give everything they have, so when they lose each other, it's just desolate. They don't even have themselves. They've given themselves away."

Perabo speaks of her role in terms of a love stow, ignoring the media attention that naturally follows when that love stow is between two women. "I remember [the two actresses] had some questions during the shooting," Pool says of Perabo's and Park's early interviews with the press. "`How does it feel to play a lesbian or to make a love scene with another girl?' They were yew surprised by the questions, because they are young. But I think they are beyond this. For them, this is a love stow. They cannot understand that we have such questions about such love. It's love."

Perabo talks candidly about the love scene. "First of ail, it's so hot--I mean temperature--hot in there, because of the lights," she says. "Unless you're from the Sahara, you can't be comfortable in that amount of heat. And then there's this loud crew and setting up and the camera and yada, yada, yada." Her voice becomes animated as she continues. "And then it's like, silence. And you're like, This is really intense."

How does Perabo feel about the possibility of becoming a lesbian love object? She pauses for a moment, then answers earnestly, "It's a little disconcerting, only for the fact that I personally believe that although you may find the character interesting and hopefully inspiring, it's yourself that you should look at. You don't really know me."

While novelist Swan says she has left her schoolgirl crushes behind and considers herself an "armchair bisexual," Pool, who is gay, sees Paulie's painful awakening as an opportunity to raise awareness. "I think it's important to open the minds of other people with this kind of subject," she says. "Even if it's easier for a lot of people, it's still difficult for a lot of people."

* Find the official Lost and Delirious Web site and other related sites at Kaye is a writer-producer for E! Entertainment Television and the Style Network.
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Title Annotation:actresses Piper Perabo, filmmaker Lea Pool, 'Lost and Delirious'
Author:Kaye, Lori
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 17, 2001
Previous Article:Out in Eden.
Next Article:The Closet (Le Placard).

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