Saturday, July 9, 2011

Not Afraid to Mess with Thirteen Oscar Nominations

For her fictional feature directorial debut, Cuban-American documentary maker and journalist Anna Margarita Albelo has made a bold choice: a lesbian romantic comedy-drama titled Who's Afraid of Vagina Wolf?

I'm not sure if 83-year-old playwright Edward Albee, author of the basis of the classic 1966 Richard Burton-Elizabeth Taylor original film adaptation, is aware of this new project, which is aiming  for a fall 2011 shoot in Los Angeles and is still a long way off its current fundraising goal of $25,000.

The gist of the movie is that female filmmaker protagonist Penelope, after turning 40, decides to shoot a parody version of the Mike Nichols classic. There's a section of Albelo's website, VaginaSpotting!, that really gives the logline pun a workout. The grassroots movement outlined on this page encourages people to become “Vagina Elves” and promises upcoming instructions on how to make a homemade vagina costume.

Taylor's favorite of her films

Albelo has some pretty high-profile actors attached to her project, including Guinevere Turner (The L Word, pictured), Tammy Lynn Michaels (Popular), and Whitney Mixter (The Real L Word). In her Director's Statement, she explains how the Mike Nichols original got her thinking (and drinking), leading eventually to the weirdly named script fleshed out by Michael Urban (Saved!):

The first time I saw Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf? I’d pause the VCR and run to the kitchen to make jugs of ice tea so I could follow George and Martha, gulp by gulp, as they drank, fought and articulately tore their guests and each other apart. I loved the film because I thought it was about failure. It reassured me that even if I turned out to be the biggest loser in the world, there would still be someone who, despite it all, would love me. More than twenty years later I realized that love starts with ourselves, our family, our friends, our passions…

We have crafted a heart-felt, dark comedy that recounts the personal yet outrageous coming of age of a 40 year-old woman.

At the current Outfest film festival in LA, Albelo is busy pounding the pavement. You can follow the fortunes of her goofy flick on Twitter @VaginaWolfWho's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? received 13 Oscar nominations and won five: Best Actress (Elizabeth Taylor), Best Supporting Actress (Sandy Dennis), Best Cinematography (Haskell Wexler), Best Art Direction (Richard Sylbert, George James Hopkins), and Best Costume Design (Irene Sharaff).

[Who's Afraid of Vagina Wolf?]

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