’90s Gay Classic But I’m a Cheerleader Gets a Director’s Cut With New Scenes and Commentary
The 1999 film But I’m a Cheerleader is being rereleased with a special Director’s Cut and featurettes that will make your nostalgic gay heart flutter.
Directed by Jamie Babbit and written by Brian Wayne Peterson, But I’m a Cheerleader tells the story of Megan Bloomfield (Natasha Lyonne), a high school cheerleader whose parents send her to a conversion therapy camp to cure her lesbianism. Thankfully, the opposite happens, and Megan comes to embrace her sexual orientation, makes new friends, and ends up falling in love with Clea DuVall—which, you know, is relatable.
“I uncovered some amazing lost scenes that I wasn’t able to include in the original film and am so happy to see them added back into this cut. This film is so special to me and I can’t wait for everyone to fall in love with it all over again,” said director Jamie Babbit in a press release.
The But I’m a Cheerleader: Director’s Cut special features include an audio commentary, Jamie Babbit’s student film Discharge, and three new featurettes, including the “But I’m a Cheerleader Class Reunion,” reuniting the cast for the first time in 20 years.
I first watched But I’m a Cheerleader in college (a cliché, I know) and it was, without a doubt, a film that was part of me discovering who I was as a bisexual woman. The film also made Natasha Lyonne the queer icon she has been to so many of us over the years. The humor was spot on, and I remember quoting “I’m a homosexual” in jest before I ever actually came out.
Even though it’s a comedy, the romance in it is heartfelt, and the conversion therapy, while played for laughs in some ways, still speaks to the way in which gay kids were made to feel wrong and tormented into changing at the risk of losing their families.
Babbit, herself a gay woman, made this film with her then-girlfriend and worked hard to make it inclusive, as well. She spoke about how she tried to work against the usual whiteness of gay media:
“For my film, we always had RuPaul’s character as black, and the two boys at the camp as Asian and Latino. So I made an effort, and I do feel like you need to be responsible, as a filmmaker, to cast that way. There’s so much racism at every level of making movies. The casting directors don’t bring them in, the agents don’t sign them because there’s less work, so you have to look harder as a director, but I feel it’s your responsibility to do that. Fifty percent of my crew was African American, because I had an awesome line producer who hired them. […]. Actually, my first choice for Megan, before Natasha Lyonne, was Rosario Dawson, but my executive producer wouldn’t let me. He had a point, that I was creating this All-American character. And he said, “Jamie, she’s Puerto Rican,” and I said, “Yeah, but that’s American!” We have so many battles to fight.”
I look forward to rewatching this new release of But I’m a Cheerleader when it comes out on December 8th, this time as someone who is a proudly out bisexual woman.
1,2,3,4, I won’t take no anymore. 5,6,7,8, I want you to be my mate. 1,2,3,4, you’re the one that I adore. 5,6,7,8, don’t run from me cause this is fate.
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