Spielberg's star pupil: after soaking up the art of film at Steven Spielberg's side for 14 years, out producer Bonnie Curtis flies solo with a new indie film, The Chumscrubber.
Curtis knew she wanted to make the film as soon as she read the script. "It was politically incorrect, and I liked that a lot," she says of the story, which profiles a group of prescription pill-addled teens who kidnap a boy they mistake for the younger brother of a loner (Jamie Bell) they are blackmailing for drugs.
Curtis, a native Texan, was particularly drawn to conversations in Chumscrubber where parents (played by Carrie-Anne Moss, Allison Janney, and Glenn Close, among others) don't want to hear what children are saying. "Each teenager tells their parents exactly what's happening," Curtis explains. "One parent thinks they are joking, another moans about how terrible his life is, and the third says, 'Oh, no, not you--you're the perfect kid.'"
Although none of the characters are gay, that scenario was similar to Curtis's coming-out experience years ago with her parents, who denied her sexuality.
"I experienced 'Oh, no, you're not gay,'" she says, "even when I'm saying from the depths of my soul that I am and I have accepted it myself."
One of the first people she came out to was her then-boss Spielberg. "I needed him," she said. "He was absolutely wonderful."
Curtis was also present when Spielberg resigned from the national advisory board of the Boy Scouts of America to protest the organization's discriminatory policies toward gays. "I broke down," she remembers. "I was so touched."
Curtis credits her boss's altruism for inspiring her fund-raising work for the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network. "They treat the reality of homosexuality as [it relates to] all of us, not just as an issue for gay people," she says.
Curtis feels she's coming out as a politically involved member of the gay community when many gays and lesbians, particularly those who work in creative fields, are pressured to be cautious. "I'm thrilled to be in such a vibrant, passionate, important chapter in the history of this country," she says. "I have been waiting my entire life to have a cause."
Lisotta also writes for L.A. Weekly.
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|Title Annotation:||ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT|
|Publication:||The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)|
|Date:||Aug 30, 2005|
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