On any given day, Lifetime Movie Network might be airing The Truth About Jane. The 2000 made-for-TV film was about a teenage girl coming to terms with her sexuality, and her mother’s struggle to understand it herself. Stockard Channing boosted the film’s star power and it was a touching portrait of how a family works together in coming out, acceptance and realizing that unconditional love is what’s most important.
So, whatever happened to Stockard and the women of The Truth About Jane?
Stockard Channing (Jane’s homophobic-turned-understanding mother)
Although her most famous role will always be Rizzo in Grease, Stockard has worked in both TV and film since 1971. After a starring role on The West Wing, she appeared in Multiple Sarcasms, lent her voice to The Cleveland Show and is now working on a new film (A Fonder Heart) with Daryl Hannah and Rebecca De Mornay.
Ellen Muth (Jane, a 16-year-old lesbian)
Ellen played Georgia “George” Lass on Dead Like Me, which was a counter-cultural hit until it was cancelled in 2004. She reprised her role in the 2009 film based on the show. Next up she’s starring in a film adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s Mark of the Beast and a hippie-themed comedy called Margarine Wars.
Kelly Rowan (Ms. Walcott, Jane’s lesbian teacher)
After playing hot mom Kristen Cohen on The O.C. for five years, Kelly Rowan was on one episode of CSI: Miami, starred in a TV movie called The Good Times are Killing Me, and played Emily Osment‘s mom in a film called Cyberbully.
Alicia Lagano (Taylor, a gay girl at Jane’s school)
After playing gay in The Truth About Jane, Alicia went on to do episodes of several TV shows, including Dexter, Lie to Me and Bones. Next up is the film The Stone Pony with Scott Caan and James Woods.
Lee Rose (writer and director)
The out director was behind the films A Girl Thing and Unexpected Love, and has been a part of several lesbian-themed shows, including Cashmere Mafia, Lincoln Heights and Lost Girl. Since then, she’s worked on Weeds, Greek and In Plain Sight. Most recently, she’s worked on the SyFy series Haven.
As Lee Rose told AfterEllen.com in 2009, Lifetime was not thrilled about the idea of The Truth About Jane. It would be the first movie on television focused on a lesbian teenager coming out and the network was concerned it would be too taboo for viewers. But when Stockard Channing said she would play the pivotal role of Jane’s mother, they agreed to let Lee to go for it. Considering how often they replay the film now, and that they went on to make the similar-themed Prayers for Bobby with Sigourney Weaver in 2009, they are likely happy with their decision.
Because it aired on a basic cable TV station and boasted some star power, The Truth About Jane was a success. Despite its after school-specialness, it helped to educate a lot of viewers and reach young women who were privately struggling with their sexuality and coming out to their families and friends. With Lee Rose at the helm, stereotypes were dispelled. Jane tells her dad, “Don’t think I all of a sudden like sports because I’m gay” and Kelly Rowan as the lesbian teacher gets through to Jane’s parents that by shunning her sexuality, they are pushing their daughter into a deep depression that could result in her tragically taking her own life. By offering their support by the end of the film, Jane’s parents move toward acceptance and making sure that their daughter’s happiness and health are first priority.
Did you see The Truth About Jane? Did it move you?