MCA via Everett Collection
To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar was ahead of its time. Audiences can easily take for granted the immense importance of this film. It’s a high profile film in the 1990s that features three high profile actors, Patrick Swayze, John Leguizamo, and Wesley Snipes playing gay men. Granted, they spend 99 percent of the movie in drag, but the film is monumental for the community. There’s wider acceptance of the gay community, appreciation for the art form of drag due to RuPaul’s Drag Race, and education about the clear distinctions between drag performers and trans women. But in 1995 this wasn’t the case. Sadly, this film is considered more of a cult classic than a major motion picture. All the same, the film is hilarious, quotable, and politically responsible. Here are some fun facts about the film:
Wesley Snipes and Jennifer Garner got to second base with the same man.Before he found success on Alias, Garner’s ex Michael Vartan had a major role in this film. In one scene, he antagonizes the ladies and Snipes grabs his privates and drags him by his member for an extended period of time.
Queen of 30 Rock You might think that Tracy Morgan and Snipes look equally bad in drag, but the real connection is Kathy Geiss. The nonverbal, unicorn loving CEO of GE was played by Marceline Hugot. She plays Katina one of the town’s residents in the film.
One Degree from Mindy Kaling As great as it would be to imagine Kaling playing a character named Noxema Jackson, the real connection is Beth Grant who plays The Mindy Project’s irate nurse Beverly also played irate townsperson Loretta.
Catwoman Connection Not only did the three leads all star with notable Catwoman Newmar in this film, all three have also starred with the most infamous Catwoman Halle Berry. Leguizamo in Executive Decision, Swayze in Father Hood, and Snipes in Jungle Fever. Snipes even dated Berry.
Start Your Engines, May the Best Woman Live Leguizamo has not been shy about his major friction with the late Swayze on set. Swayze was method and Leguizamo was improvising and making jokes to get more screen time. He says the two physically got into a fight until it was broken up by production. ChiChi, you in danger, girl!
A Cavalcade of Drag Stars This film was one of the first major motion pictures about drag. It gave early acting credits to RuPaul, Lady Bunny, Coco Peru, Laritza Dumount, and Flotilla DeBarge. It also was a major credit for the first transwoman on television Candis Cayne. Talk about helping to define the stars of tomorrow.
Work it Out! David Barton the founder of the popular New York City gym franchise has an early role as a muscle boy.
Drag is Leguizamo’s Bread and Butta’ By the time he did To Wong Foo, Leguizamo had already becoming accustomed to acting in drag. He played female roles in his one-man shows Mambo Mouth, Spic-O-Rama, and on his Fox series House of Buggin’.
Robin Williams: The Drag Years Although uncredited with his hilarious cameo, this film is sandwiched between Williams other two drag movies. In 1993, he gave old lady realness in Mrs. Doubtfire. In 1996, he played husband to a drag performer in The Birdcage.
Thanks for Everything, Carol Lynley! Before the producers secured the rights to Newmar’s name their alternate actress for the iconic photo that inspired the queens was Fantasy Island star Lynley. It doesn’t have the same ring to it, and she isn’t quite as statuesque.
It all goes back to Chinese Food. The name of the film was taken from a photo at a Times Square Chinese Restaurant that was later seen in the film where the ladies find the photo.
Curse of Wong Foo? Both Mel Gibson and Gary Oldman were in talks to potentially play drag queens in the film.
Is that a corn cob in your pocket, ma’am? Swayze surprised Chris Penn during the scene where he discovers Vida Boheme is a man. He hid a corn cob in his dress. Way to commit.
Star Trek actor George Takei had high praise for the organisation which honoured him with a top award for his gay rights activism on Saturday (03May14), insisting officials have given young homosexuals role models and hope. Takei received the Vito Russo Award at the 25th annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York and used his acceptance speech to shine the light on the work of the group.
The openly gay star said, "In the 25 years since its founding, GLAAD has dramatically changed American society for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people. I know, because as a closeted kid growing up in Los Angeles... all I saw of gays and lesbians in movies and television, or heard on radio, were caricatures of people who were mocked and laughed at, or pitied, or hated. "The media stripped us of all humanity and made us into pathetic stereotypes. The media then was a soul-crushing monster. GLAAD took on this formidable beast with its media savvy, political acumen and the power of its advocacy and transformed the media into a powerful force for change."
But he insisted the fight is not over yet - and GLAAD bosses still have a lot of work to do: "As long as LGBT people can be fired from their job for simply being who they are, our work isn’t done yet. As long as young people are kicked out of their families just for being who they are, our work is not done yet. As long as people are being bullied into feeling that their lives are so hopeless that they are driven to self-destructive acts, our work is not done."
Naomi Watts, Kylie Minogue, Emmy Rossum, Boy George, Laura Prepon, Laverne Cox, Swoosie Kurtz and country star Kacey Musgraves were among the special guests who joined Takei at the Waldorf Astoria New York for the gala. Boy George introduced Minogue, who performed Can't Get You Out of My Head, while Grammy Award winner Kacey Musgraves played her LGBT-empowerment anthem Follow Your Arrow, and became the first country act to perform at the GLAAD Media Awards.
Winners included Orange Is the New Black (Outstanding Comedy Series) and Philomena (Outstanding Film), while transgender actress Candis Cayne took the stage to accept the Outstanding Individual Episode award on behalf of U.S. TV drama Elementary. Cayne portrayed Sherlock Holmes' housekeeper Ms. Hudson in the episode, titled Snow Angels.
The movie, starring Colin Firth, was named Outstanding Wide Release Film by officials at the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
But Ford's partner Richard Buckley had to take the stage at the annual gay honours ceremony in Los Angeles to pick up the prize, as the star was stuck in the U.K. because of the travel chaos across Europe which has grounded almost every flight out of the continent.
Hit U.S. show Glee landed the top TV trophy - the musical was named Outstanding Comedy Series, and creator Ryan Murphy praised lesbian actress Jane Lynch and gay actor Chris Colfer for their involvement in the popular programme.
Murphy told the audience at the glitzy gala, "We have a great responsibility with the show," and vowed Colfer's character, Kurt Hummel "would never be the victim".
Drew Barrymore received the Vanguard Award for her continued gay rights activism.
Accepting the honour, she said, "The thing that means the most to me about an evening like this, and why I want to fight and be outspoken about this is because there are so many people who are in desperate need of families."
Gay comedienne Wanda Sykes was handed the Stephen F. Kolzak Award, and Adam Lambert performed at the ceremony, which was hosted by transgender actress Candis Cayne and gay actor Wilson Cruz.