For all of you out there waiting for Mariska Hargitay’s Det. Olivia Benson to finally come out, or new fave female cop star Maria Bello to join the team, let us introduce you to a really fun and creative attempt to fill that gay lady cop void we’re always complaining about. “Lesbian Cops” is the intentionally basic name for a new film project that’s anything but. Inspired by his 80-year-old grandmother’s coming out story – and their shared penchant for the buddy-cop movie format – Writer/Director Firouz Farhang set out to tell a story of strong, gun-wielding women who happen to like women. Together with his leading ladies, Gena Shaw and Krystal Marshall, Farhang has created several web episodes airing now that he hopes will drive interest in and financial support to his truly funny upcoming feature. Check out the sneak peaks over at http://www.lesbiancopsmovie.com/ and read below where we chat with Farhang, Shaw, and Marshall to learn more.
CherryGRRL (CG): Firouz, first we just have to know – did your grandmother truly just come out on her 80th birthday? Please tell us more about that…
Firouz Farhang (FF): Yes. I won’t get into the specifics of the story but my family discovered that Nana was a lesbian when we found out she had been in a romantic relationship with another woman for many years. Being from a conservative Persian family, you can imagine that this was not received well by everyone. It was quite shocking to all of us.
CG: How did your grandmother influence or inspire you to create this project?
FF: Moving to America was very difficult for me, because I was only a boy. I did not know English, and children were mean. They called me an evil Arab, even though I am clearly Persian, and they blamed me for the hostage crisis, even though my own family was running away from the same people who did these vile things. Many days I came home from school crying to my nana. To cheer me up, she would take me to see all the finest American movies. Death Wish, Death Wish II, Dirty Harry, Murphy’s Law, Lethal Weapon, Death Wish III, Serpico… We loved cop movies and learned a lot of English watching them. We both agree Charles Bronson is by far the finest actor ever the U.S. produced.
I decided there could be no better way to show my love and appreciation than to make a movie in her honor.
CG: Lesbians absolutely love female cops and seeing female cops on TV and in film. Did you know this going into the project – that there was a heavy interest there?
FF: No. I had no idea about anything in the lesbian culture. But I think that cops are generally quite strong, active characters and they are forced to deal with a lot of problems and sometimes are acting in very aggressive manners. If they are detectives, then they are usually on a case and that means they are working to achieve something – catch the bad guys or what have you. This makes them fun characters to watch. It is a little bit the American dream, don’t you think?
CG: How did you come up with the idea of a comedy about lesbian cops? Why was this a subject that you felt would work well in the comedic format?
FF: In this matter, I struggled a great deal. I had no desire when I began my journey to put my hands in such a movie that is making comedy from what I consider to be very serious issues and circumstance. Drugs are nothing to laugh at. Violence is nothing to laugh at. I wrote with passion and heartache. I wanted to change the world, so that people would accept my nana.
But when people were reading my script, they were laughing in parts they were not supposed to laugh. Some friends helped me understand why they thought it would work better in a comedy format. I also learned that with much of the lesbian-themed productions in the world, many are already drama, and there are not enough lesbian comedies, so since I am not a comedian, I worked with my cast and my co-producers to help make it more light-hearted.
CG: Did you have any concerns that the lesbian community would criticize you or be offended by you since you’re a man and here you are (all in good fun) depicting some lesbian stereotypes for laughs? If so how did you go about addressing that potential issue?
FF: Yes, of course. My friends at Pelican Boss Films were very concerned about that issue, but we thought pushing the comedy over the top would make it easy to understand that we aren’t making fun of anyone but instead we are having fun with everyone. Nobody is off limits. Everyone is fair game. Given the resources to make more Lesbian Cops, I am sure we will get to offend everybody eventually. But it is all in good fun. Laughter is the best medicine.
The response we have gotten from the lesbian community has been better than we could have hoped for. I’ve read the comments online and received several emails and people really seem to get it. The fact that the lesbian community not only enjoys Lesbian Cops but seems really excited and supportive of it is a great thing. We are very happy to have such a vocal group of fans and hope we continue to entertain them and earn their support. (continued on next page)