Clea DuVall: Making the stories that you want
Actress Clea DuVall has had a few roles in movies that showed her being openly gay. Wanting to see more LGBTQ stories on-screen, she decided to create her own.
Her recent one will be the upcoming holiday comedy starring Kristen Stewart, “Happiest Season,” from TriStar Pictures.
Stewart stars as a young woman who’s planning a surprise marriage proposal to her girlfriend while home for the holidays. However, she discovers that her girlfriend hasn’t come out to her conservative family.
Prior to this movie, Clea had written, produced, directed, and starred in “The Intervention,” in 2016.
In that movie, Clea played the partner of a gay couple who find out their weekend getaway is actually an intervention for their marriage.
Clea DuVall: Shy girl goes into acting
Born on 25 September 1977 in Los Angeles, California, Clea Helen D’Etienne DuVall was the only child of Rosemary Hatch and Stephen “Steph” DuVall.
His father was also an actor, having guest-starred in TV shows like “Ray Donovan” (2014) and “The Guardian” (2002). He also appeared in movies like “Woodshock” and “The Keeper” opposite Steven Seagal.
(Both father and daughter would later appear in guest roles in the same 2005 TV series, “Carnivàle.”)
When she was twelve years old, Clea’s parents divorced. As an only child, she moved out and dropped out of high school when her mother remarried.
She worked for a coffee shop for a while, and because of her shyness, she decided she wanted to become an actress.
Thus, she enrolled at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. But because she was working to support herself, she did poorly in school.
Despite so many hurdles, she managed to graduate in June 1995.
Clea DuVall: Making friends, taking roles
After school, Clea went on to take supporting roles in various movies, from her debut in “Little Witches” (1996) to the cult teen comedy “Can’t Hardly Wait” (1998).
She also had guest appearances and recurring roles on TV series episodes of “ER,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “Carnivale,” “Heroes,” “American Horror Story,” “Veep,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and “Better Call Saul.”
In 1997, she became friends with Rachael Leigh Cook on the set of “The Defenders: Payback” and went on to support Cook in her first leading movie role in “She’s All That” in 1999.
Likewise, she became friends with Katharine Towne in “Girl” (1998), and appeared with her in “She’s All That” and in the indie lesbian movie, “But I’m a Cheerleader” (1999).
That was also where she met Natasha Lyonne, who she later cast in “The Intervention”.
Eventually, she had her breakthrough role as a goth high school student in Robert Rodriguez’s “The Faculty” in 1998.
She became part of other movies like “The Astronaut’s Wife” (with Johnny Dep and Charlize Theron), “Girl Interrupted” (with Angelina Jolie), “21 Grams” (with Sean Penn), “The Grudge” (with Sarah Michelle Gellar), and “Argo” (with Ben Affleck).
However, she continued to do roles in indie features, like the lesbian cult favorite, “Wildflowers,” which she received rave reviews from critics.
Clea DuVall: Creating movies that she wants
In 2016, Clea made her feature debut with the comedy-drama, “The Intervention.” Sara Quin of Tegan and Sara also scored the movie.
While Clea was doing the publicity rounds for this movie, she came out to the public on her sexuality.
Speaking to Bustle after making “The Intervention,” Clea admitted that outing herself took a toll on her: “I’ve worked through whatever issues I have with myself internally.”
“I think we’re all always a work in progress, hopefully, but I definitely had some stuff to sort through when I was younger,” she said.
During a panel hosted by the Writers Guild of America’s LGBT committee in LA, she said that she was partially inspired to write “The Intervention” to show her sexuality in a way that felt authentic to her own.
“I haven’t really played a gay character that is gay in a way that I feel like I am, if that makes sense,” she said.
She added that “when I tried to find someone to direct it, it just didn’t feel like anybody would be able to tell that story the way I wanted it told, and if I wanted to have that much control over it, I should just do it myself.”