Rise of the Underdog: Kimberly Peirce and the Connection Between Carrie and Boys Don't Cry

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by Kerensa Cadenas
January 31, 2013 10:00 AM
1 Comment
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Director Kimberly Peirce
This month’s issue of The Advocate features an incredible interview, with Kimberly Peirce, talking at length about her upcoming remake of Carrie and its surprising linkage to Peirce’s first movie Boys Don’t Cry.

Peirce at first wasn’t sure about doing the Carrie remake and was unsure of why the studio even came to her in the first place, but after reading Stephen King’s novel, shewas sold. “They said it was because of Boys Don’t Cry, and I was even more confused because I thought, Boys Don’t Cry is so different from Carrie. But then when I read the book I was like, oh, my God, Boys Don’t Cry is Carrie.”

Peirce saw Carrie and Brandon Teena as kindred spirits—both of them misfits who wanted to be accepted in a world that wouldn’t allow them to be themselves. While Peirce doesn’t explicitly say so, viewers can seem to expect the film to have a queer take (the subtext of the original film is decidedly queer on its own), as she talked about how her own personal background helped her in developing the project.

I don’t think personal experience is the be-all, end-all of our interests. We were all raised straight, and look how queer we are. But I certainly think things do influence you, and I come from a very interesting background.

Peirce draws upon from the psychological and physical violence that was inflicted upon her father and then inflicted upon her.  A violence that Peirce says she was lucky enough to have the education to turn into stories.

After reading King’s novel (his 1974 debut) many times in preparation for the film, Peirce sees Carrie, as a feminist text—one that highlights men’s fear of women—a concept that today Peirce finds fascinating especially since the book was written by a man.

Culturally he lives in a world where women’s power can be threatening. I thought that was really interesting lens to look at it and then to say, ‘OK, what does this story mean now, 40 years later?’ Because it’s not the same. Women have had, certainly not enough, but women have had more power. Women’s lib happened. Women’s sexuality is out there. Some people might say it’s a stretch to say it’s a feminist text. But in a lot of ways it is. The central character is a woman, the central relationships are between women — between a mother and a daughter and between a girl and all these other girls.

Ultimately, Carrie comes down to the scenario—in which the bullied misfit gains power—one in which viewers of all genders and sexualities can relate to. “This is the story of the rise of the underdog. The person who gets pushed around ends up getting empowered. Well, what happens when they have that power?”

The entire interview is worth a read, be sure to check it out.

Carrie comes out on October 18.

Carrie: The Horror Classic Gets a Lesbian Reboot (The Advocate)

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1 Comment

  • grrljock | January 31, 2013 1:51 PMReply

    Carrie as a feminist text? Makes sense now. I have to pick it up again to reread it and see for myself.

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