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The cast of Drive-Away Dolls on their film's 'revolutionary' & 'shameless' sex scenes

The cast of ‘Drive-Away Dolls’ on their film's 'revolutionary' & 'shameless' sex scenes

 Beanie Feldstein, Margaret Qualley, and Geraldine Viswanathan
Courtesy of Focus Features

PRIDE sits down with Beanie Feldstein, Margaret Qualley, and Geraldine Viswanathan to talk about Sapphic and sexual representation on screen.

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It remains painfully rare to sex sapphic sexuality represented well onscreen — or frankly at all. Last year the gays received an embarrassment of steamy riches with films like Saltburn, All of Us Strangers, Red, White and Royal Blue, Fellow Travelers, Rotting in the Sun, and Passages, honestly, the list goes on and on. Queer women, on the other hand, rarely get the same kind of tantalizing representation — which is just one of the many reasons why Drive-Away Dolls is, in its star Geraldine Viswanathan’s words, so “inadvertently revolutionary.”

The film comes from a collaboration between Ethan Coen and his wife Tricia Cooke, who identifies as queer and her gaze is extremely apparent in this film. It follows two young lesbians who strike out in a rented “drive-away” car following heartbreak for a road trip of silliness and queer hookups. Complicating the lesbian chaos further is that the car was not meant for them and holds some very, ahem, incendiary secrets in its trunk, which leads to a handful of inept criminals trying to track them down.

The film is whimsical, steamy, and utterly hilarious (read PRIDE’s full review here). It’s the queer Raising Arizona we never knew we always wanted. It's also extremely sex-positive and presents Sapphic sex as both pleasurable and sometimes a little bit silly. That's right, this isn't a swoon-over-the-brush-of-your-hand kind of movie. There are sex toys, there are orgasms, there is masturbation, and it's all very tongue in cheek (and, ahem, other places). It's exciting, cheeky, and affirming.

Margaret Qualley stars as Jamie, the lovable lesbian lothario of the film’s road trippin’ duo film. As the actor explains, Jamie offers a refreshing glimpse into the joy of lesbian sexuality. “One of my favorite parts about the movie is how shameless these girls are with sex,” she tells PRIDE. “From my personal experience, your late teens early ‘20s everything can feel so embarrassing and I think it's really awesome to have all those kinds of funny, ridiculous moments out there and celebrate it. It's not, it's not precious.”

From the start, the approach to these intimate scenes was very different, and a breath of fresh air for the actor. “I've never done a sex scene where the goal was just to be funny before and that was the case for this and it's, it's a huge relief and really fun,” she says.

Watch PRIDE’s full interview with Beanie Feldstein, Margaret Qualley, and Geraldine Viswanathan below.

The movie is breezy and delightful, but don’t mistake it as vapid, as Viswanathan explains there is something “inadvertently revolutionary” about the film. “It feels special that it's just so irreverent and so queer... but it's not the entire thing, and not that kind of usual heaviness to it,” she tells PRIDE. “Art is how we see ourselves. So I think it is meaningful to see this movie on screen now, in this moment, and in theaters across the country.”

For Feldstein, this role marked a first for the out actor in her already impressive career: The first time she played an explicitly queer character. “It was really empowering and delightful,” she tells PRIDE.

But what made it even more fulfilling is that while the film centers around three queer women, there is so much more to them than simply their identity. “In cinema, when we talk about [queerness], we can reduce people down to just identifying factors. And it's amazing to have all three of us sitting here, all playing queer women, and each of those women is entirely different and who they are, how they express themselves, how comfortable they are with their sexuality — not that they like women, but their own sexual-ness and sensuality,” says Feldstein. “Every human is different. So every queer person is different. The more differences we can see on screen, the better we are. Here you just get to watch three queer women have the best time. It's such a wild ride.”

Drive-Away Dolls is playing now in theaters. Watch the trailer below.

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Rachel Shatto

EIC of PRIDE.com

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.