Clea DuVall, who plays Graham in “But I’m a Cheerleader,” has just revealed how working on the film affected her own coming out process. “But I’m a Cheerleader,” a comedic lesbian film about conversion therapy, celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.
DuVall first spoke publicly about her sexuality in 2016, just before the premiere of her feature film “The Intervention.” DuVall — who wrote, directed, and starred in the movie — said it finally allowed her to play a role that is “the gay that I feel like I am” (via The Advocate). The actress had starred in a range of lesbian roles over the years, leading to much speculation about her identity. But it all started with “But I’m a Cheerleader.”
In honor of the 20th anniversary of “But I’m a Cheerleader,” DuVall and co-star Natasha Lyonne gave an interview about the film. In a tweet about the interview, DuVall revealed how the movie helped her come out.
I was very closeted when we made this film. Countless people over the years have told me how this movie made them feel seen and helped them come out. I want them to know their words and strength did the same for me. Thank you.
— Clea DuVall (@cleaduvall) June 20, 2020
“I was very closeted when we made this film,” DuVall wrote. “Countless people over the years have told me how this movie made them feel seen and helped them come out. I want them to know their words and strength did the same for me. Thank you.”
In the interview with Lyonne, DuVall also revealed how her own experiences played into the role. “The script changed a lot after I first read it, and [Jamie Babbitt] let me bring a lot of myself into the part,” she said. “It was something I’d never seen before. There were similar kinds of girls in other lesbian stories, and I’d tried to connect with them before, but I hadn’t felt like my experience was authentically represented. Jamie was very generous and collaborative and allowed me to write my own lines and wear the clothes I wanted to wear and have my hair how I wanted it—to just be me.”
DuVall just wrapped up her second feature film, the lesbian holiday rom-com “Happiest Season,” featuring Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis.