Guinevere Turner: Accidental champion of LGBT cinema
Guinevere Turner is more known as Gabby from The L Word. She was the bad apple, user, and ex-girlfriend of Alice (played by Leisha Hailey) who got her all twisted up every time she popped back into Alice’s life.
Turner didn’t mind being cast in a really nasty role. Prior to this show, she’d already gained much respect in the lesbian community that just playing the character gave it credence.
Likewise, she also did a number of episodes of the show as both writer and story editor.
Guinevere Turner: The accidental screenwriter
Here’s what we know of Turner: she’s the eldest in a brood of five and an aunt to one niece and nephew. She grew up in Boston and went to Sarah Lawrence for college.
While living in Chicago with her girlfriend, she thought she’d become a novelist. During that time, they went for lesbian films and proper lesbian cinema.
She told her then-girlfriend, Rose Troche, a graduate of film school: “Well, I’m a writer. I’ll write a script. You’re a filmmaker, so you’ll make a movie.”
Guinevere Turner and Go Fish
This was how the seminal film, Go Fish, was made and how Turner and Troche became part of LGBT cinema history.
Originally titled “Ely and Max,” Go Fish was about the pair’s personal experiences and that of their lesbian friends in Chicago. It was filmed on a budget of $15,000 but grossed to almost $2.5 million in the US alone.
Go Fish also won awards left and right, from prestigious award-giving bodies such as the Berlin International Film Festival, the GLAAD Media Awards, and Gotham Awards.
Although the film was a success, the relationship of Turner and Troche went downhill. The two broke up after and both went on to have separate successful careers in the film industry.
Guinevere Turner and American Psycho
Another feather in Turner’s cap was her foray into the grisly world of Bret Easton Ellis’ novel American Psycho. To this day, not much many people know she wrote the script for its movie version.
Turner wrote it with Mary Harron, who directed the movie I Shot Andy Warhol. (Later on, both would work again on the movie The Notorious Bettie Page.)
This screenplay was chosen as the final film version of the novel. Part of her reason for signing up for American Psycho was because it was very different from Go Fish.
“That was a huge part of why I was excited when Mary Harron asked me to do American Psycho with her– and Bettie Page,” Turner said in an interview with No Film School.
“You know, Go Fish was such an anomaly, and we were so young, and we knew we’d have to work hard to get real credibility– not just be those cute girls from Go Fish,” she added.
Guinevere Turner and LGBT cinema
At the start of the year, Turner began work on The Family— based on the Charles Manson murders– together with Harron. She’s also been dating the singer Tracy Chapman since 2010.
More than 20 years after she created Go Fish, Turner isn’t worried about “the burden of representation” of lesbian women in movies.
“I really felt that when we made Go Fish— we just want to be happy and perfect. But now I feel the opposite pressure, which is to show we’re also human, we’re also assholes, we’re also messes and all of that,” she told After Ellen.
“We can all relax now– everybody’s cool with the fact that we’re people,” she added.