‘Boy Meets Girl,” a very lauded film at last year’s GLBT film festivals, has snuck into your on-demand systems last week and a DVD will follow April 28.
Aside from the winning and natural performance from lead Michelle Hendley, I am reminded on how wonderful this film when I talked to the star and writer/director Eric Schaeffer.
Schaeffer, whose had other successes in front of and behind the camera, constructed a deeply, rich and nuanced film about young love in Kentucky.
The edge to this film, besides exploring topics of lesbian attraction in a rural town, is one of the characters (and the actress as well) is a trans woman.
Hendley is perfectly cast in the role and, in many ways, she has gone through the same changes and developments herself.
Hendley is from Columbia, Missouri, which isn’t a far cry from life in Kentucky. “The good thing,” she says, “that at least Columbia is fairly liberal as it’s a college town.” But unlike her character Ricky in the film, Hendley’s life growing up was pretty much like every other gay kid – facing some discrimination and being bullied. But fortunately for Hendley, her parents were quite accepting. “They knew I was actually a female in a boy’s body before I did,” she said. “When I told them I was gay, they thought I was going to tell them I was female trapped in a boy’s body.” In time, Hendley knew they were right.
Hendley documented her transition in a video blog, which caught the eye of writer/director Schaeffer, who says he had googled for the longest time “transgender woman” and “transgender actress” so he can find the perfect person to take on the role of Ricky, who coincidentally blogs about her transition as well.
“Her blogs were amazing,” Schaeffer says, making him suspect that Hendley have some raw talent as an actress. While she had a great presence, it didn’t mean she could act. So the two of them meet, rehearsed for a year before moving forward to making the film, which filming itself took less time then ensuring Hendley was right for the role.
The universal story of coming out and acceptance may be a familiar one and while Schaeffer is a New Yorker, he choose to film in Kentucky as he wanted to show that it’s more tough to be gay or trans in a more Southern area, where bigotry is more prevalent.
The reception of the final film has been overwhelming for both director and star. Besides having won over 14 major film festival awards across the country, Schaeffer has been approached by many transwomen in their 40s-60s that thanked him for shedding some light on the process of transition. “One time I spoke to a room of over 700 older transwomen and many of them said that when they were younger they didn’t have such positive messages available to them.”
The success of the film has also help newcomer Hendley’s career as well. She shot a TV pilot with Wesley Snipes recently and hopes to move to New York this summer to pursue acting full time. While she will focus on TV and movies, she feels that New York “is a more closely knit community than LA and will likely have more opportunities for her.”
The only thing about Missouri she will miss is her family. As a college town, she hasn’t had many chances to date since the town is mostly “a bunch of drunk frat boys.” While “hook-ups are easy,” she prefers dating and has found some of her best connections are with men from out of town.”
Schaeffer will continue to enjoy his successes in life and work in New York and hopes to turn “Boy Meets Girl” into a series “like I’ve done with other movies I’ve made in the past.”
So seems like the story of “Boy Meets Girl” and of Schaeffer and Hendley is to be continued.
But for now, check out the movie at www.boymeetsgirlmovie.com and find it on most VOD platforms. The DVD is available April 28 at www.wolfevideo.com.