Quite possibly the generation gap that will save or doom us all, the cultural divide between Baby Boomers and Post-Millennials serves as the foundation for a sweet, odd-couple tale of two drag queens in writer-director Jamie Patterson’s heartwarming new film Tucked. Screening as the April selection in Reel Affirmations’ Xtra monthly film series, Tucked marks the return of D.C.’s LGBT film festival to Landmark’s E Street Cinema.
The film, set in the English seaside town of Brighton, finds octogenarian nightclub performer Jackie Collins taking under her wing the 21-year old and homeless fledgling queen Faith. Jackie — a.k.a. Jack — has her own burdens but still finds time to teach her young charge plenty about life, including how to tell a good dirty joke.
The queens’ friendly onscreen rapport, in and out of drag, comes as the by-product of the real-life intergenerational exchange between the film’s two co-stars, Derren Nesbitt as Jackie and Jordan Stephens as Faith. The casting of Nesbitt, best known for supporting roles in macho ’60s war epics The Blue Max and Where Eagles Dare, and Stephens, formerly one-half of the platinum-selling British rap duo Rizzle Kicks, echoes the onscreen interplay of Jackie’s old-school comic persona and Faith’s contemporary musical style. According to filmmaker Patterson, the serendipitous pairing almost didn’t come to pass.
“I didn’t even know that Jordan was doing acting,” says Patterson. “He was in a very small part in Rogue One, and was doing bits and bobs. We actually had another actor lined up on this, who, for one reason or another, fell through, about a week before we started filming. And we were looking around at young actors we thought could do it, and, randomly, one night, about one o’clock in the morning, there was this TV show called Glue, which Jordan was doing.
“He came on, and he had this great energy and a great look, and had this incredible screen presence. That was probably on a Tuesday. On Wednesday, we went to his agent. Jordan and Derren didn’t meet until the first day of shooting, where they shot the scene where Derren’s in the bath. It all kind of happened a bit last minute, which tends to happen an awful lot with indie films. But it worked, and they’re still really good friends now. So, we had a bit of luck on our side as well.”
Tucked screens on Thursday, April 18, at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. at Landmark’s E Street Cinema. Tickets are $14. Visit www.thedccenter.org/events/tucked.