A friend and I were recently discussing which movie stars we think are hot. Lest this sound vapid, let me clarify: it was a genuine challenge, due to the queer factor, or maybe it's the punk factor, or the andro factor, or whatever. We honestly couldn't really think of any. Most actors and actresses are obviously beautiful, but they're mainstream-hot, straight-hot, facialist-and-stylist hot. I can objectively appreciate their appeal, but they lack the scuffed-up edges and androgynous streak that I find genuinely foxy. It's strangely easier for me to identify boy actors with a kind of femme sensitivity (early Johnny Depp, River Phoenix) that translates to my sensibility.
Last year I went to a pre-release screening of I'm Not There at the Portland Art Museum. While we were shuffling in, I was captivated by The Cutest Girl I'd Ever Seen in Portland, standing in front of me in line, apparently with Gus Van Sant. She was tiny, with this wispy chocolate-brown hair curling toward her cheeks, wearing a little cotton shirt and short shorts and tall flat-soled elfin boots, and had her arms folded over her chest in a modest rather than defiant way. Dude, why have I never seen her around? I wondered. Portland is a pretty small town. I figured she must be straight. And maybe reclusive too. Sigh. I had never seen anyone So Cute.
But actually, I found out later, this is who it was.
She was in town making Wendy and Lucy with Kelly Reichardt.
Of course the movie star I end up finding completely irresistible is one in total Northwest mode, un-made-up and tousled and plaid-clad, accompanied by a mutt. Type runs deep, I guess. But I wish more actors looked like this, in life or on screen. Even in movies and series designed to appeal to lesbians, the actors tend to be either styled to the max (the L Word cast glossy-maned and eyelinered within an inch of their lives, even the supposed drag-king character unveils Rapunzel-length tresses), low-budget mulleted and hideous, or mining the dusty ruts of James Dean derivative, Dinah Shore Weekender, and B-list boring femme.
Wendy and Lucy has nothing to do with the gays, it's just good art with an appealing and real-looking protagonist (inasmuch as an actor is designed to look "real"), and I guess that follows with the rest of my taste too, which is that most music and literature and movies that are meant to be Filed Under Gay/Lesbian feel crappy and contrived to me, and the things I love most may or may not be gay-authored or -themed but speak to a sensibility, aesthetic and story-wise, that often has to do with being an outsider or misfit in some way.
Beyond Michelle Williams, the movie looks beautiful. (And parts of it were filmed in my neighborhood, which I miss.) I can't wait to see it, though I know it is going to break my heart. Jon Raymond read from the short story upon which it's based at Loggernaut and already said heart was sinking in just fifteen minutes. Even the trailer, at the point where she begins to cry--agh, I unfortunately know why, and the mere two seconds of it sprung tears to my eyes. Its prescience re: hard luck and broke-ness is intense. Sadly to say, it couldn't be more timely.