Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

IT'S IMPORTANT THAT THERE'S A GAY HAND AT THE WHEEL... Hot on the Heels of Her Movie the Miseducation of Cameron Post, Desiree Akhavan Is Back with the Bisexual - a Comedy Drama about the 'Last Taboo'. Gemma Dunn Finds out More

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

IT'S IMPORTANT THAT THERE'S A GAY HAND AT THE WHEEL... Hot on the Heels of Her Movie the Miseducation of Cameron Post, Desiree Akhavan Is Back with the Bisexual - a Comedy Drama about the 'Last Taboo'. Gemma Dunn Finds out More

Article excerpt

Byline: Gemma Dunn

IT HAS been a stellar year for Desiree Akhavan. The writer-director, who until now was best known for her 2014 feature film debut Appropriate Behaviour, not only scooped the Grand Jury prize at Sundance for her retelling of gay re-education comedydrama, The Miseducation Of Cameron Post, but more importantly started a frank and much-needed discussion about female sexuality.

ON SMALL SCREEN She simply wanted to see people like herself on screen, she protested. To wrestle "queer female stories back from male film-makers".

Well, her next project - her first television directorial, no less - does just that.

The Bisexual - a Londonbased sitcom which has already drawn comparisons to groundbreaking programmes such as Cucumber and Queer As Folk - explores the differences between dating men and women from the perspective of a person who finds herself doing both.

THE It was an idea that Desiree, who openly identifies as a bisexual woman, conceived when she was completing press for her first movie.

"During that period, every time that I did anything, it was 'Bisexual Iranian-American filmmaker', 'Bisexual director', 'Bisexual Lena Dunham'," remembers the star, 34, who co-wrote the script with long-term collaborator, Cecilia Frugiuele.

"And I wondered, 'Well, it's technically true, I am bisexual. So why is it such an embarrassing thing? If they'd said, 'Lesbian Desiree Akhavan', I would have been like, 'F*** yeah'. But bisexual? So that was just the thesis statement: why does this make me so uncomfortable?" The result: a brilliant six-part comedy series for Channel 4, directed by and starring Desiree herself.

The New Yorker plays Leila, who, feeling lost in London having just left a 10-year relationship with girlfriend and business partner Sadie (Maxine Peake), ends up renting a room from neurotic novelist Gabe (Brian Gleeson), an eventual wingman. …

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