Leslye Headland talks “Bachelorette” at the Provincetown International Film Festival

Bachelorette: Not Your Norman Rockwell Wedding

Bachelorette was dubbed the “indie Bridesmaids” at Sundance. OK, maybe there are some similarities. There are females and there’s a pending wedding and the proverbial “shit hits the fan,” but that’s about it. Based on a play of the same name by Leslye Headland who directed the screen version, the story is quite frankly not going to be a hit with everyone. But for the segment of the population that gets a thrill off of bad ass humor, Bachelorette offers up a load of laughs. John Waters appeared to enjoy himself at the screening of the film, which opened up the Provincetown International Film Festival this week, so that is a stamp of some sort of approval, right?

“It was incredible to see it with that audience. There’s something about the [crowd] here that has the exact correct taste for this movie,” Leslye Headland said to ML with a big smile and laughs at the festival. “To have an audience that’s on the same page from the opening jokes right on through the final scenes was great. They accepted these characters. It wasn’t just affirmation with their laughter, but there was good will toward them too.” Starring a rabble rousing Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher and Lizzy Caplan, the trio hit New York to help their friend Becky (Rebel Wilson) prepare for her wedding. But these women are anything but prissy debutantes. Booze, drugs, blow jobs, foul mouths – it’s all there and it keeps coming for more. Becky is the only one who seems to have cleaned up her act, and the bad ass trio get into more trouble when they accidentally tear the wedding dress the night before the ceremony.

“Kirsten, Isla and Lizzy never thought they should tone down their characters,” offered Headland. “They even improved stuff where where even I didn’t know if we could use some of the things they did. When you watch it, you can see that they’re having fun. I think they were excited to play women they had never met before.”

Headland made the Black List for her script back in 2008, but had to go the independent route when studios shied away from the material Bachelorette had played off-Broadway and she was encouraged by a friend to make the screen version her way. “The idea was that could I make a romantic comedy that I would want to see. It’s not overly dire, but it’s dramatic and they’re acting like people. They’re making mistakes and they’re learning from them…” she said. “I wanted to make a film about women that treated them like people and not paper dolls that act all in the way we wish we acted.”

The Weinstein Company’s new label Radius picked up the film after it debuted at Sundance. The film has since been re-edited and its pace is absolute killer. The earlier version was more melancholy and the moments of hilarity were buffered with some slow parts. But the version that is presumably the final one that will be released in theaters in early fall had the audience in stitches here in Provincetown. Still there are dissenters and Headland said she expects there to be people who won’t like it. “I’d be more worried if there was [indifferent] reaction to it,” she said. The women in this film are dealing with their inner-demons and resolution does not come in the course of one day as it might in other movies. Noted Headland: “People don’t change in one night, but one night can change people.”


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