Jenn Harris slayed off-Broadway audiences with her clever parody of Jodi Foster in the musical spoof Silence!, and now the comedian is bringing her unique brand of comedy to the big screen in the indie film Gayby.
Harris plays Jenn, a 30-something New Yorker who fulfills a pact with her gay best friend Matt to have a baby together. The film reunites Harris with her real-life best friend (and Spider-Man cast member) Matt Wilkas and writer/director Jonathan Lisecki, with whom she became close while performing “really messed up, funny shit” on the Lower East Side back in 2002.
“Jonathan Lisecki had this idea of a straight girl and her gay best friend having a baby, but having it the old fashion way,” Harris told Broadway.com of the film’s origin. “Like why not just do it and have a baby? Who cares? It’s just a means to an end.”
Gayby began as a short starring Harris and Wilkas that went on to win Best Short Comedy at the Slamdance Film Festival. Lisecki then decided to expand the story into a feature film after continual requests from fans. In August 2011, he contacted Harris and Wilkas to reprise their roles and after a 19-day shoot, Gayby was born.
“It was really challenging and interesting,” Harris said of the grueling but rewarding shoot. “I had never been a lead. I normally, happily, play the funny girl who jumps on stage and then jumps off stage left. I’ve only done one or two days on a set before, so being there everyday from the crack of dawn until I had to do [Silence!] at night was crazy. [It was] really fun though —I loved it.”
With a quirky comedian like Harris, a dashing co-star in Wilkas and Lisecki’s “fast and furious dialogue,” audiences could expect Gayby to play as a typical straight girl/gay best friend comedy, but Harris insists the material is much deeper.
“It’s not just a funny idea,” Harris said. “There are great one liners, funny, funny moments, and that’s how we sell the film, but [Gayby’s] really a heartfelt film. People have genuinely cried —like straight men. And it isn’t over dramatic, we aren’t trying to fucking dig into anyone’s guts and pull them out. We are not trying to do some bullshit like, ‘This is how we are going to make you cry.’ I’m so sick of films that do that. There’s no shock value, no crap, just a straight up story. It’s a very touching, honest real film.”
In addition to Harris the movie also features theater vets Matt Wilkas, Dule Hill, Adam Driver, Zach Shaffer, Louis Cancelmi, Jack Ferver and Mike Doyle. Gayby opens in New York on October 12. Check out the movie's trailer below!