Equal marriage has been a huge part of the discussion on LGBTQ rights for the last decade, and while we’ve made progress in several states, a much-less talked about issue remains. You may be able to get married to your same-sex partner now, but just try getting divorced.
Wedlocked, a new project from creator/director Puppett and writer Guinevere Turner, is the story of a lesbian couple, Lisa and Sydney, who were married but have since split up and moved on. When Sydney’s new girlfriend, Cameron, pops the question, Sydney has to come clean: She’s still legally bound to Lisa, and the only way they can dissolve their marriage is if they live in the state they were married in for six months, as the law dictates.
Just like with marriage, divorce laws differ in every state, but are even more complicated, which is why Wedlocked is a comedy based in reality.
“I believe in equality for all, but I don’t really believe in marriage, I have to say,” Guinevere said. “If it would have just been about marriage equality, I would have probably said ‘You know, there’s someone else that’s more passionate about this.’ But gay divorce equality? I can get my head around that.”
“I was like ‘You’re perfect for writing it,'” Puppett said about Guinevere. “You’ll make it more interesting because you don’t care about marriage.'”
Guinevere clarified she believes in marriage—”I just don’t want to ever get married. And also, I thought, when you start to try to explain the gay divorce laws, it can get a little boring because it’s so complicated that the complication is what’s silly about it. This really needs to be a ludicrous, ridiculous comedy that thematically mirrors the ridiculousness of the law. To try and make something straight forward and serious gets a little clunky, but to be like ‘What if you just tried to just really get around this law by doing all this crazy shit?’ It’s so silly that it’s so hard to wrap your head around exactly what the parameters are of the law.”
Puppett came up with the concept (based on a friend’s true story) and early drafts were written by producers Ally Iseman and Christine Moore, but found it was too dramatic.
“The laws are that ridiculous and that’s what we’re drawing attention to,” Puppett said, and she connected with Guinevere through mutual friends. Guinevere, who has written several films including American Psycho and Breaking the Girl, said it was a fun project for her, as her other work tends to be more “sardonic, ironic and dark.”
“[This is] the kind of comedy I’ve never written before, like screwball comedy almost. Straight up goofy in a good way,” Guinevere said. “Right now I’m working on a project about women who killed for Charles Manson so, needless to say, it’s totally very different and so for me it’s the equivalent of jumping up from my desk and taking a walk in the park and then coming bak to my reality because writing comedy and being playful is just so much easier and I feel less pressure, I can just be as silly as I want.”
Puppett said Guinevere “finessed” the script, adding in several new characters, including the part of a cat-obsessed vet Guinevere will play. (“She’ll do anything to make sure the cat won’t leave,” Puppett said.) Also confirmed for a role is Drew Droege, but the rest of the casting will be done in the next few weeks, with shooting scheduled for early next month. It’s important to them to hire actors from within the LGBTQ community, which means sending the script to big names and also auditioning lesser-knowns.
Wedlocked is currently running a Seed & Spark campaign in hopes of funding the short so that it can be sent to festivals and then made into a feature. There are 18 days left for them to meet their $30,000 mark, and perks include a “personalized digital invitation to your own divorce party” featuring the celebrity spouse of your choice. Seed & Spark is a women-ran crowdfunding platform that encourages users to donate to specific parts of a project, so if it’s most important for you to see that the VW Bus that’s a part of a huge scene gets rented, you can make sure your money goes to that exact part of production.
Because filming begins right after the United States Supreme Court begins to hear arguments for marriage equality, and a June ruling will ultimately affect how both equal marriage and divorce is handled throughout the country, Wedlocked could face some issues with being outdated by the time it’s ready to hit the festival circuit.
“It’s a happy problem,” Guinevere said.
“As long as we set it in the last year or two, I think we’re safe,” Puppett said.
Because the characters live in Texas, where equal marriage is illegal, they have to move to and reside in California for six months before they can get divorced. That means the exes and their new partners are forced to change their lives in a huge way.
“I mean it’s hard which is why it needs to be a feature because it’s really about the ripple effect uprooting yourself would have on anyone, any individuals, leaving for six months isn’t even financially an option for most people.” Guinevere said. For the film, she said she wanted to “crank it up to ridiculous,” because these laws truly are.
Visit Wedlocked‘s Seed & Spark campaign page for more on the film.