Actress Anne Heche struck a private home in the Mar Vista district of Los Angeles on Friday, August 5. The occupant’s rental home and a lifetime’s worth of belongings were destroyed when the vehicle burst into flames. Heche was extricated from the collision and transferred to West Hills Hospital’s Grossman Burn Center, where she was initially reported to have sustained severe burns and been intubated but was believed to be in stable condition.
In the days to come, there was a tonne of speculative talk about what caused the accident and what its effects will be: Was Heche intoxicated or high? (The presence of cocaine was discovered in a blood sample after the accident.) Felony DUI charges against her? (The LAPD was indeed looking into this with that accusation in mind.) Heche’s current state was less commonly discussed: How bad were her wounds? Would she make it? What effect would it have on her two kids, who are 13 and 20 years old?
Heche was ridiculed and ignored during her whole career, but let’s start with the fundamentally radical position she occupies in the annals of American cinema: She began dating Ellen DeGeneres in 1997, right after she had starred in “Donnie Brasco” with Al Pacino and Johnny Depp, had been cast as the third lead in “Wag the Dog” with Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman, and had begun filming “Six Days, Seven Nights” as Harrison Ford’s love interest. In a heteronormative rom-com, an out gay actress is still playing a heterosexual role. In 1998? Nothing similar is available in American movies. She alleges that she was refused acting possibilities for ten years because Hollywood was not happy.
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In addition to being challenging to be bi, Christian, if one were to believe the dominant American media of the era, bisexuality did not even exist. Even the most basic idea—that sexuality is fluid—still encounters some opposition in modern society. Heche went on to date and have children with men, which only helped to support the false belief that all bi women “end up” with men. Bi guys must resist the misconception that they are merely stopping in on their way to being gay, which is the popular belief that men are always the best choice.
Young people may find it difficult to imagine, but an openly LGBT celebrity was once unthinkable. (Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, and George Michael weren’t well-known in the middle of the 1990s!) Heche was a typical Hollywood celebrity who presented herself as a femme before “The L Word” popularised “lesbian chic.” She openly declared her love for a woman.
DeGeneres experienced her fair share of backlash after her historic coming out, but by the time she landed “The Ellen Show” in 2003, she had recovered completely and was more popular than anyone could have imagined. Heche, in comparison, never again achieved the heights of her mid-’90s peak, which also featured Nicole Holofcener’s first indie charmer “Walking and Talking” and the blockbuster horror hit “I Know What You Did Last Summer.”
While she was cast in a seven-episode arc on “Ally McBeal” in 2001, prestige television was still in its infancy. She didn’t make a comeback in anything like a hit until she landed the lead in HBO’s underappreciated gem of a gigolo comedy “Hung” (2009-2011). Her comedic abilities gained more attention from that point on, and a prominent role in Miguel Arteta’s well-received film “Cedar Rapids” paved the way for other film roles. She demonstrated her charisma and range by switching from a serious romantic lead to a funny comedy one. Which of her roles are your favorites?
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How much I adored “Catfight” Heche and Sandra Oh were brutally attacked by each other not once, not twice, but three times in the wild satire by IndieWire fave Onur Tukel. Tukel’s weird, dystopian universe served as a forerunner to the Trump era, and his take on the buddy comedy provided two excellent actors with a worthwhile task to tackle. Heche portrays an eccentric artist who prefers to leech off her professional lover, who is portrayed by Alicia Silverstone, rather to go to work. Heche’s portrayal of a lesbian character was not only welcome, but she also seemed to enjoy herself immensely as a self-absorbed artist. She raises the bar for the “unlikable female protagonist” significantly.
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