Alexis Bledel on playing gay in “Jenny’s Wedding”

Jenny’s Wedding is different than most other lesbian-themed films. First, it’s made by a Hollywood cast and crew, but it’s not made by the Hollywood machine. Instead it’s a passion project headed by Mary Agnes Donoghue, the writer, director and co-producer of Jenny’s Wedding. Donoghue also wrote the screenplays for Beaches and White Oleander, and she has a penchant for capturing the human experience and portraying stories about ordinary individual’s struggles with personal courage.

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Donoghue didn’t make Jenny’s Wedding with the intention of it being a blockbuster hit. She’s telling the story of her niece, also named Jenny, who came out to her sister and told her that she wanted to marry a woman. This film is chronicling the journey that they went through together as a family and the personal courage it took Jenny, as well as each of her family members, to live outside of their comfort zone and explore a new world together in order to come back together as a family.

Bringing the niece of Donoghue’s story to life is an incredible ensemble cast: Katherine Heigl (Grey’s Anatomy), Alexis Bledel (Gilmore Girls), Tom Wilkinson (In the Bedroom), Linda Emond (Julie & Julia) and Grace Gummer (Zero Hour).

MAD & KH Photo Credit Marcy Ronen

Since Jenny’s Wedding isn’t part of the Hollywood machine, it was made independently and with a low budget. The filmmakers came together and are running an Indiegogo campaign to raise money for the soundtrack, which is an essential part of any film. They are finished with production, are finishing up post-production and expect the film to release theatrically this fall. Their Indiegogo campaign ends on Saturday, April 12 at 11:59 pm PT, and any donation you make is tax-deductable.

Alexis Bledel talked to us about her role as Kitty, what drew her to the film and her thoughts on same-sex marriage. I hope you enjoy it and consider sharing and donating to Jenny’s Wedding Indiegogo campaign.

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AfterEllen.com: We were talking about the challenges in relationships earlier. What are the daily challenges in Kitty and Jenny’s relationship?
Alexis Bledel:
They’ve been together for more than a few years. They’re comfortable around each other. They’re very much in love, but they’ve lived together for a while. They might get on each other’s nerves in little ways, or make comments that maybe aren’t necessarily appreciated [laughs] by the other one. Those are the kind of small things, but I think that those little things make the relationship seem more real to me, because it’s not like this perfect glossy [relationship]. You see them together at home and it’s like looking at people you would know.

AE: Realness, that’s something that has drawn you to previous works. What are the real, human aspects in Jenny’s Wedding?
AB:
Just the relatability of the story. I think most people who see the film will be able to relate to it, at least from the point of view of one of the characters, whether they’re a parent of a daughter who just got married or a young person who’s trying to start their life with someone. It’s a story about a family.

AE: A lot of the conflict in the film revolves around Jenny’s relationship with her family. Can you tell me more about that?
AB:
When Jenny tells her family that she’s planning to get married, she’s also coming out and telling her family that she’s a lesbian. I think both pieces of information at the same time are a lot for them [her family] to process, and each of them has a different reaction, to both how she says it and whatever it brings up for them. They [Jenny and Kitty] begin to move forward together and they get some unexpected reactions from Jenny’s family members. Some are hurtful, some are confusing, some are emotional. In addition to already what it is to plan a wedding together, they have this additional stress. I think it’s something that Jenny doesn’t necessarily expect. She’s just basically going to her family and expressing how she feels and she gets all this blow back. It would be a lot when you’re in their situation. I think Jenny is the type if she’s going to do something, she’s going to do it big [laughs]. She’s not just going to have this little wedding, she’s going to go all out [laughs] and really celebrate.

AE: You said that your character Kitty was surprised when Jenny told her she wanted to get married. Why was that surprising to Kitty?
AB:
She thinks her partner is limited in terms of how far she can take her relationship, and she loves her and she’s okay with it. That’s how Mary Agnes described it to me, with where they are at the beginning of the film. And then Jenny literally comes home one day and makes an announcement about how she sees her future, and it’s definitely–it’s exciting and surprising. It’s a lot of mixed things. Jenny is inviting her to feel hopeful about something that she hasn’t allowed herself to feel hopeful about. The more measured part of her personality is wanting to be sure that this is really a possibility before getting her hopes up all the way.

And then it brings up so many questions. Like first thing you need to do is tell your family that we’re a couple. That’s the first thing, and then also that you want to get married. That’s just how Jenny operates. She feels something and she acts on it, and Kitty is the one who kind of–she’s a little more measured.

AE: Jenny’s Wedding will be the first theatrically released film highlighting a lesbian wedding. How was that for you to be a part of such an important film for the LGBT community?
AB:
It’s something that I really believe in. I believe that same-sex couples should be able to marry everywhere. It’s a human right. I hope that it [the film] only helps to see that happen. It is a political issue, and I know that we have more states on board over time, but it would be incredible if our whole country could allow it. It would be a beautiful thing. I don’t think Mary Agnes made the film in a political spirit. I think it was a story that was very personal to her and an experience that moved her, but I could safely say that everybody on the film firmly believes in gay marriage. It was definitely satisfying to be part of this shoot.

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AE: How will it feel for you when you start to hear stories of how people were impacted by the film?
AB:
It is incredible when a fan is excited to meet you because they have some personal connection to a story that you were part of telling. It’s incredible. That’s the most satisfying part of doing this job, to know that somebody gets to see something reflected that they didn’t think anybody else was going through–to be able to identify with a story, especially one that’s told from a personal point of view, [like] the way Mary Agnes wrote this one.

Check out the IndieGoGo campaign for Jenny’s Wedding and contribute if you can.

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