Anne Heche Was a Hollywood Radical and Deserved of More Credit

Anne Heche Was a Hollywood Radical and Deserved of More Credit ...

Anne Heche threw her Mini Cooper into a private residence in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles on Friday, August 5. The vehicle exploded in flames and destroyed the occupants' rented house and a lifetime's worth of possessions. She was taken to the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital, where she was initially diagnosed with severe burns and was declared to be in excellent condition.

Was Heche drunk or on narcotics before she crashed? (A blood test taken after the accident revealed the presence of cocaine.) Would she face felony DUI? (The LAPD is certainly investigating this issue with that motive in mind.) What would her impact be on her two sons, aged 13 and 20,?

Heche's family learned that a lack of oxygen to her brain during the fire had had an enormous impact, and they were preparing for her end of life. On Friday, August 12, she was declared legally dead in the state of California, her brain function deteriorating, but her body was kept on life support for her organs for donation, as was her longtime desire.

Her agony has faced as much criticism as empathy, which is normal for her tense Hollywood career. Christian Blauvelt and associate editor Jude Dry discuss the mix of homophobia, misogyny, and mental-health mockery that dominated much media coverage of Heche since she began her career in the 1990s, and highlight the legacy she leaves behind.

CHRISTIAN BLAUVELT: Sheche was dismissed and marginalized throughout her career, but lets start with the inherently radical place she holds in American movie history: She began dating Ellen DeGeneres in 1997, at the time she had just played the third lead opposite Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman in Wag the Dog; and she was hired as the lead actress in the adventure comedy Six Days, Seven Nights as Harrison Ford's love interest? In 1998, Hollywood was dissatisfied, and

The Collection of New Line Cinema/Courtesy Everett

When Heches' relationship with DeGeneres became public, those films were in the works, if not already completed and released, as in the case of Donnie Brasco. They were out and proud, even appearing together during the 1997 White House Correspondents Dinner.

Marion Crane was cast as Marion in the shady remake of Psycho by Gus Van Sants in December 1998, but roles were scarce for most of the following decade. DeGeneres' decision to end her relationship with him in late 1999 prompted her to avoid being embraced by the LGBTQ community.

JUDE DRY: Bisexuality is difficult to be bisexual or Christian, yet if one were to believe mainstream American media at the time, bisexuality simply did not exist. Even this simplest of concepts that sexuality is fluid today, meets some resistance. Heche subsequently partnered and had children with men only served to underscore the harmful assumption that all bi women will eventually meet a man. (Bi men must fight the reverse assumption that men are always the preferred option.)

There was a time when an out-right queer celebrity was unimaginable (George Michael, Nathan Lane, and Rosie ODonnell weren't out in the mid-90s!) Heche was a femme-presenting, typical Hollywood starlet who professed her love for a woman.

Collection of Courtesy Everett

DeGeneres experienced some of the consequences of her historic comeback, but she landed the Ellen Show in 2003, bouncing back with avengeance and becoming more successful than she had anticipated. Heche, by contrast, never reached the heights of her mid-90s career, which included the blockbuster horror film I Know What You Did Last Summer and Nicole Holofceners' indie charmer Walking and Talking.

Although she starred in HBO's little-seen gigolo comedy Hung in 2001, prestige television was still in its early stages. From then on, she was more recognized for her comedic talents, and a prominent role in Miguel Artetas well-received Cedar Rapids paved the way for other movie roles.

CHRISTIAN BLAUVELT: I would also praise her ABC sitcom Men in Trees (2006-2008), a kind of quirky Northern Exposure meets Desperate Housewives series that really helped her to establish herself as a comic talent. At least for those who hadn't already been tickled by her in Six Days, Seven Nights. Of which I am certain.

Jude, each of us knows a film that we like more than literally anyone else on earth. For me, it's probably Six Days, Seven Nights, a movie I watch each year to kick off my summer, and on VHS no less. (I have two VCRs.) This is the sort of adventure rom-com in a tropical locale that used to be almost a sub-genre, pioneered by Romancing the Stone.

In Six Days, she is an entertainment journalist who goes on a vacation to the Polynesian island of Makatea with her boyfriend, David Schwimmer, before crashing on a desert island with irascible pilot Harrison Ford. (It's not that she's just there to fight off the threats), but she's the real protagonist. (The plane?) Where's my mommy? Pirates? As in Arrgh? Two. Boats. Ow! Who stole the peninsula

Six Days, Seven Nights was a mixed to mixed reception upon its release, but was a moderate box office success: the one time I saw her, at the premiere party for Catfight at the Toronto Film Festival in 2016, she wanted to have a 45-minute conversation with me about it right there as the party exploded around us.

JUDE DRY: Oh, how I loved Catfight. From Onur Tukel's crazy mind, the nutty satire saw Heche and Sandra Oh beat each other out of the living daylights not one, but three times. Heche plays an eccentric artist who doesnt want to work, played by Alicia Silverstone, and she takes the irritating female protagonist to a whole new level.

Heche said in 2017, that she and Oh were having so much fun playing along over some of their more controversial credits. (Oh: What was the one in the plane?)

The Courtesy Everett Collection

She explained that she realizes that you have forged a foundation for who you are. For better or worse, some people like me, others dont. I'm 50/50, and that's okay, but my career starts as a 50 percent.

I feel like if she saw the way the media was covering her accident, shed would immediately dismiss them. We now have a different understanding of mental health problems and addiction than we did back then, but none of that appears to be present in the way this tragedy is discussed.

CHRISTIAN BLAUVELT: A lot of peoples conception of mental health neglect the fact that other people often get hurt as a result of mental illness. True empathy can recognize both parties, for the victims of someone's actions and for the circumstances that may have prompted the person with mental illness to take the steps they have taken.

DUI is undoubtedly a crime. That doesn't mean that addiction isn't a problem that should be treated with compassion and tenderness. Heche should be punished, and those who empathize with her are accused of neglecting her. We can care for both.

Anne Heche was sexually molested by her father almost from the start of her life. Her mother, a Christian therapist who advocated for overcoming homosexuality, shunned her a mutual decision. Call Me Crazy was a title that demonstrates that self-deprecation and public self-flagellation were the only acceptable ways to talk about one's own mental illness for a long time. In fact, Jay Leno declared that making fun of Anne Heche was the ideal solution for

Catfight seemed to be unwelcome at the start of her career, while I asked her why she loved her work and her director, Ivan Reitman, as part of a non-threatening but equally passionate tap-dance. She then asked me why I found her funny; I wanted her to know why she was so special in this industry.