Christina Ricci, Martin Donovan, Lisa Kudrow, Lyle Lovett, Johnny Galecki and Ivan Sergei star in The Opposite of Sex, the story of a teenage girl who runs away from home one summer and wreaks havoc in the lives of everyone she encounters. The Opposite of Sex takes a humorous look at life and sex in the '90s, while telling a serious story about human values.
Don Roos, whose past screenplays include Single White Female, Love Field and Boys on the Side, makes his directorial debut from his own original screenplay. Working closely with producers David Kirkpatrick (The Brady Bunch, The Evening Star and Big Night) and Michael Besman (Seven Years in Tibet), he assembled a small but very talented group of actors and crew members to make this independent feature in the hot California sun.
It was a labor of love for everyone involved. Principal photography began on June 8, 1997. Filming took place over 40 days on many locations throughout Southern California, including Los Angeles, Ventura County, Big Bear and Palm Springs. These traditional Southwestern tourist spots were transformed into a small Louisiana township; South Bend, Indiana; and Canada; to name just a few of the territories covered in the film.
The production turned a very western looking ranch on the edge of Ventura County into a small town in Louisiana. Big Bear, known for its beautiful lake, forests and ski resorts, doubled as Canada. They also shot on location all over the city of Los Angeles, from Santa Monica to Hollywood to the San Fernando Valley, and on sound stages in Culver City.
The "most permanent" location was a beautiful home in Hancock Park near downtown Los Angeles, where the crew set up for 10 days. This set was Bill's home in South Bend, where Dedee arrives unannounced and proceeds to turn everyone's lives upside down.
Bill, played by Martin Donovan, is the character everyone looks up to in the film and the one who unites them all. "Ultimately, Bill's approval is sought by all," says Donovan. "I think that's because he's a decent guy; morally and ethically he's very right down the middle, very straight. He's the gay straight man."
Dedee, portrayed by 17-year-old Christina Ricci, is the catalyst, whose arrival forces everyone to reexamine their values and how they are living their lives. For her, playing a more grown-up role and a character many would describe as "white trash" offered Ricci the chance to show people they should not be so quick to make judgments.
Although Dedee is the character everyone loves to hate, Christina sees her differently, as a very smart girl underneath it all who is in the midst of a real-life adventure. "This is her year of firsts," says Ricci. "This is the first time she's ever rebelled and tried to change her life."
Lisa Kudrow portrays Lucia, the character who ultimately undergoes the greatest transformation in the film. Lucia is very angry with life when the film begins, a real change of pace for Kudrow, who is most well known for her light and happy character on the popular television show Friends. "Lucia would hate Phoebe, the character I play on Friends," says Kudrow.
"I loved having the opportunity to play such a different type of role than I usually do," says Kudrow. Lucia transforms herself in the film: "she is resisting, resisting, resisting the whole time and just when she feels like she's lost everything, she lets go and her life really begins."
Writer-director Roos describes The Opposite of Sex as a comedy about the consequences of sex. "The film is all about sex and the connections it makes in our lives, as well as the consequences of having sex with somebody -- good or bad."
The title, according to Roos, is drawn from the character of Dedee, who desires a life of complete freedom with no consequences for her actions or connections including relationships, friendships and babies.
Kudrow has another take on the title: "Sex is usually about the union between two people, but in this movie sex is dispersing everybody and driving them apart and making sure they are alone, which is the opposite of sex," she says, adding "I think Don has represented just about every attitude towards sex in this movie."
All of the actors agree that Roos has written a very smart and funny script which drew them to the material.
"It's one of the funniest scripts I've read in a long time and all of the humor comes out of the characters' needs," says Donovan. "It's a really biting satire on America's ignorance, there is a fear of sex and religion--the whole puritanical Calvanistic sexual mish-mash that is '9Os America, and that's what Don goes after in this film."
For Roos, who has watched his material wind up on the big screen through other directors' eyes, this was a chance to fully realize his own vision and an experience he found very exciting.
"It's like having a child and raising it yourself rather than having a child a letting someone raise it while you watch through a chain link fence," says Roos.