Apparently producing on Broadway and acting in two regular television gigs didn’t slow Tamara Tunie down one bit. This Sunday, the
Law & Order: SVU talent stepped behind the camera
to start direction on her first feature, See You in September. I don’t care about September — Tunie can see me whenever she wants.
The indie romantic comedy is about a successful Manhattanite who organizes a support group for abandoned therapy patients when her own analyst takes an unexpected month of vacation;
Estella Warren and Justin Kirk (Weeds) star.
Although movies about therapy aren’t always as good as they should be (think Prime, when Uma Thurman
fell for Meryl Streep‘s bland son instead of for Streep herself), I’m excited about this news. I
can’t imagine that As the World Turns allowed Tunie to shine in her recently completed, twenty-year stint as Jessica
Griffin, and she has definitely been underused as SVU medical examiner Dr. Melinda Warner.
It’s great that she’s doing a comedy, even if we won’t get to see her laugh on camera — Dr. Warner is so very serious.
Sadly, Tunie isn’t the power lesbian she played with understated cheek during a Sex
and the City guest spot,
but she’s quickly becoming a force in entertainment: she is co-producer of the Tony Award-winning
musical Spring Awakening, and was instrumental in bringing late playwright and fellow Pittsburgh native August Wilson‘s
Radio Golf to Broadway, where it won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for
and received a few Tony nominations of its own. Not bad for her first two producing gigs.
Up until Wendell Pierce joined her as partner for Radio Golf, Tunie was reportedly the
only active African-American producer on Broadway. With See You,
she joins Kasi Lemmons (Talk to Me, Eve’s Bayou) and AfterEllen.com favorite Angela Robinson
in a small field of African-American female film directors
and an even smaller field getting mainstream press attention.
Tunie seems to have a great attitude about her absurdly busy schedule. In an interview with CNN when she was starring in a stage production of
Julius Caesar while both ATWT and SVU were filming, she remarked, “I’m working hard. It’s an embarrassment of riches. It’s
fantastic.” (Scroll halfway down this page to read the transcript.)
I think Tunie is quite fantastic herself, and I hope her move to the director’s chair is a successful one. As
Ace recently mentioned, there are increasing numbers of female directors with talent
— now they just need more (and lasting) recognition.