For the upcoming issue of AutumnPlay, I spoke with Thom Fitzgerald who was in LA working on his upcoming film, Stage Mother, which stars Jacki Weaver, Lucy Liu, and Adrian Grenier among others. The plot follows a conservative church choir director who inherits a drag club in San Francisco started by her deceased son, from whom she was estranged after he came out as gay.

“Even as recently as ten years ago, funding agencies would tell me there’s no audience for an LGBTQ romance. I don’t think they would say that now.” -Thom Fitzgerald

As a creative powerhouse, Thom has attracted the attention of some influential collaborators including Brad Hennig (The Hot Flashes) who came up for the idea for Stage Mother after being on Facebook. He explains, “I grew up in rural Texas so I have many Facebook friends from my hometown who are quite conservative. I now live in San Francisco and most of my Facebook friends from here are very liberal. I noticed back-to-back posts in my Facebook feed showing gay male friends at drag shows and very religious folks at their church and I just thought it’d be great to marry those two worlds in a script” adding that “the idea formed in about five minutes after I got the notion.”

Brad had met Thom fifteen years earlier at Sundance and having seen all of his films noticed that he “almost always directed female protagonists of a certain age, and directed them well so I thought he might be a fit. And he definitely was. He was fantastic with all our actors and especially with our lead actress Jacki Weaver”

“When I met in New York with Jacki Weaver, she referred to herself as “the smallest fag hag in Australia,” and I knew we’d work well together.” -Thom Fitzgerald describing a favourite memory from Stage Mother

Stage Mother is expected to debut in early 2020. For the full interview with Thom Fitzgerald, look out for the upcoming issue of AutumPlay magazine. available here mid-September 2019.

About the Author

Raymond Helkio is an author, director and award-winning filmmaker. As a graduate from the Ontario College of Art & Design he cofounded The Reading Salon and is a Canadian Ambassador for the Moral Courage Project. Find him on Facebook.