You have a one-night stand with your ex and you both get pregnant. Not your typical lesbian problem, but Two 4 One is not your typical romantic comedy.
Two 4 One tells the story of transgender lead Adam and his ex-girlfriend Miriam, who is obsessed with getting pregnant and enlists Adam’s help. A DIY pregnancy kit disaster means both of them winding up pregnant and having to deal with the consequences of this.
We spoke with writer/director Maureen Bradley ahead of her appearance at the Inside Out Film Festival in Toronto. Polyamory, trans masculinity and her characters’ futures (including a possible series) were just some of the topics we covered.
Warning: spoilers ahead
AfterEllen.com: The subject matter in this movie is definitely different than what a lot of people are probably used to seeing. Why did you want to make this film?
Maureen Bradley: I’m part of the queer baby boom, and I’ve seen some really wonderful movies about even artificial insemination. But I haven’t seen anything that just jumps way ahead into “Let’s look at a really complex situation and let’s not start with the basics.”
My life though, is pretty boring. My story isn’t that interesting. But when my partner was trying to get pregnant we were reading a book called The New Essential Guide to Lesbian Conception, Pregnancy, and Birth by Stephanie Brill. And there was one short paragraph with a warning: be careful if you’re doing home insemination. Wash your hands. Don’t share sex toys. Put underwear on afterwards if you’re going to be snuggling. And there was a line where she said, “If you’re inseminating with a trans man who isn’t on hormones or with another woman, be careful.” And I thought, “Whoa, wouldn’t that be a great storyline?”
I’ve seen a lot of really great films with trans characters. I’ve seen a lot of horrible ones. Hollywood has a horrific tradition. Things are finally changing in the last few years and we’re seeing amazing movies and amazing TV shows. But trans masculinity is really underrepresented. Generally when we see great content it’s trans women, which is fantastic, but I wanted to tell a story with a trans guy and a lesbian and a family.
AE: Your choice of comedy–why that genre to tell this story?
MB: I’ve made a lot of dramatic films and they flop. They don’t do well. When I make comedic films, they screen at 40, 50 festivals.
However, I was concerned, because there are big tropes with trans representation. It’s either the psychopath in Hollywood or the butt of the joke. So it’s not territory that I went into lightly. You can just be slightly off and offend people. You could nail it, or not. I had my concerns going into it because I don’t want to be offensive, but I also don’t want to be safe. Why make a safe story?
I was very concerned with getting the line just right so that it was funny, but we’re laughing with and not at. Because I have a trans lead. I didn’t want to make a remake of Junior with a trans guy. I did not want to go there. At all.
I had complete creative control over the project. We didn’t get a broadcaster until very late in the game, and we didn’t have a distributor. Nobody was telling me what to do. But the few times I did talk to potential stakeholders like the broadcasters and distributors–they give you money, they have input in the process and casting and scripts–I did get some feedback from industry folks that I thought was not quite right, where I felt there was a desire to push it more into goofy, screwball humor that can be potentially offensive.
Comedy is subversive. I think when people can laugh, they’re more receptive and they’re more open, and they’re more willing to hear an opinion or see someone’s life that’s slightly different from theirs.