Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon recently sat down to revisit their 1996 lesbian neo-noir movie Bound. The movie was not a box office smash, but it quickly went on to gain cult status in the LGBTQ community. However, it could have gone a much different way had the Wachowskis taken the studio's advice when making their directorial debut. Gershon and Tilly are still friends after all of these years and went through the movie to give a unique behind-the-scenes perspective.
Bound was not something a lot of people were expecting in 1996, including big Hollywood studios. Gina Gershon was prepared to take on the masculine role of Corky after her performance in Showgirls and further prepared by watching Marlon Brando, Monty Clift, and Robert Mitchum. Her agents told her not to take the movie, but she liked the idea too much and ended up leaving them behind to take the role. Jennifer Tilly then revealed that the studio wanted a different kind of movie. She explains.
"It was a classic film noir, except instead of the lead being a male, it was Corky (Gershon). A studio offered the (Wachowskis) a lot more money to make the movie, but they said that they had to make Corky a man."
However, The Wachowskis did not take the studio's advice when they were trying to get Bound made. They stuck to their original vision and began looking to find someone to make their movie. "They were like, 'But Corky's a woman?!'" Jennifer Tilly remembers. She went on to say, "They walked out until they found a studio that wanted to make it the way they had written it." It was a bold maneuver, especially since it was the directing duo's debut, but, "they felt like it was really, really, important," according to Tilly.
In the years since Bound hit theaters, The Wachowskis have come out as transgender, adding a whole other level of resonance. Gina Gershon remembers at the time of making the movie wondering how the directors were able to tap into the story in an authentic way. She now looks back at the movie and sees that The Wachowskis were going through something much more. She had this to say.
"(When we were making it), I kept thinking, 'What do you guys (The Wachowskis) know about being women? How did you write this thing?' And little did I know, at the time, they were really feeling something. They really were feeling bound-up inside. So it became that the metaphor had a deeper meaning. It wasn't like, 'Oh, aren't they clever writers.' I thought, 'Wow, they were going through this, and the world didn't know.' It was their way of expressing that."
Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon also spoke about doing their love scenes in Bound, noting they had preconceived ideas about men writing love scenes for women in Hollywood. However, both actresses were pleasantly surprised to see that The Wachowskis had every little angle and cut mapped out ahead of time, along with choreography done in a tasteful way. "They wanted to be very respectful of the lesbian community," says Tilly, which they hoped would come across on the screen. In the end, Bound has become an LGBTQ cult classic, so they all must have done something right. You can check out the rest of the lengthy interview with Gershon and Tilly over at Entertainment Weekly.