If you were to tell people born after a certain year — let’s call that year 1990 – that there was once a movie starring Roseanne Barr as a devoted housewife and Meryl Streep as a lusty romance writer who steals Roseanne’s lousy husband, you’d be met with more disbelief than when you told them about growing up with a single landline. But it’s all true, kids! These are all things that existed! And in the case of She-Devil — the 1989 comedy directed by Susan Seidelman (Desperately Seeking Susan) starring Barr as the scorned Ruth, Streep as the vacuous Mary, and Ed Begley Jr. as dopey Bob — it will live again at the Castro Theatre on July 9.
After previously collaborating on movie tributes ranging from The Wizard of Oz to The Silence of the Lambs, Peaches Christ is once again reuniting with outrageous drag superstar Sharon Needles to celebrate this cult classic. And when better than the weekend after Independence Day to commemorate a movie about a woman systematically stripping a man of his freedom while reinventing herself? Costarring Heklina, Mario Diaz, and Tim Wagner, Peaches Christ’s all-new preshow parody “She”-Devil will be performed at the Castro Theatre on July 9 at 3pm and 8pm, with each performance followed by a rare screening of She-Devil. Tickets and more information are available at PeachesChrist.com. Below, we chat with Sharon and Peaches about revenge, Roseanne, and the real secret to destroying Heklina.
So, why She-Devil? What makes this a cult movie worth celebrating? Peaches Christ: Like most cult movies, She-Devil was another misunderstood masterpiece that the general public just didn’t “get”. It took its fans years to build the cult it deserves, but it definitely has one now. The film is hilarious! Meryl Streep is never given enough credit for her comedy chops, but films like She-Devil and Death Becomes Her have earned her credit as a great comedian. And of course Roseanne is just brilliant, a total legend.
Sharon Needles: Any film that second-bills Meryl Streep to Roseanne Barr is the poster child for risk on celluloid!
Meryl should really be prouder of She-Devil! SN: She isn’t?! Honey, in my opinion this was her audition for Death Becomes Her!
Peaches, how did you approach the casting? PC: Well, I love seeing Sharon play a villain and Mary is pretty villainous. I felt like it would be fun to see her remove all that goth exterior and put on some truly hideous, pink, ‘80s drag as a bitchy rich white woman. Of course Heklina as her mother is going to be hilarious, and Mario Diaz as Garcia was the perfect excuse to bring this legendary nightlife impresario up from LA to finally be in one of our shows.
Sharon, what appeals to you about the character of Mary? SN: She’s wrong in all the right ways! She’s everything I’m not, which is new for me in a Peaches Christ show. I’m usually a witch, or a…well, I’m always a witch! But this is a whole new witch for me. A “princess perfect” I have never been, but I’ve been around enough of them to understand the underlying sorrow beneath their visual perfection…and that’s hilarious!
And what do you think Peaches has in common with the character of Ruth? SN: Fat! Very fat… That’s it! Oh, and ugly. Did I say fat?
What do you love about Roseanne? Peaches, will you impersonate her voice? PC: I love Roseanne’s fearlessness. She has always been audacious and fearless and has paved the way for irreverent, politically incorrect comedy for years. I am such a fan. I don’t think I’ll do a straight-up impersonation of her voice, but will for sure try to incorporate some of its iconic nasal tone.
SN: The Roseanne we saw on her epic sitcom reminds me of my own mother! The dialogue, the resilience, the blend of crass and class. The love of her children, yet the refusal to suffer any fools…especially her children. The tenacity of a woman whose cards were stacked against her. The moral compass of a family unit who never forgot her humor in the darkest times.
She-Devil is all about revenge. Do you consider yourself a vengeful queen? PC: I don’t think so. I used to be, but I learned it’s really bad to hang onto stuff and want to get revenge on people. It’s hard though, because when someone horribly fucks you over, our humanity wants to see them harmed. I believe it’s just human to want that, but if you can rise above it you’ll save yourself lots of drama and time.
SN: Revenge is the glue to all great horror films: Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street. So I consider She-Devil a true horror movie! If Phi Phi had won RuPaul’s Drag Race, than yes, I would have been a vengeful queen. But let’s face it, who do I have to be vengeful towards? Other than Alaska’s divorce lawyer.
Ruth makes a hitlist of Bob’s assets, then destroys them one by one. What would be on a hitlist of, say, Heklina’s assets? PC: I’d have to blow up Oasis first and foremost, then take a blowtorch to that enormous and tragic wig collection. Finally, and most importantly, I’d steal all of the hidden cash she has buried around town. That’s right, IRS: hidden cash!
Sharon, what would be on Michelle Visage’s list? SN: Vegan, kosher, raw, gluten-free water. I’ve seen her rider. This is not an exaggeration.
In the film, Ruth and Hooper (Linda Hunt) start an employment agency for downtrodden women who have been rejected by society and need a second chance. Peaches, was that your inspiration in starting your production company? PC: Yes! I was staring in the faces of people like Martiny, Cousin Wonderlette, and Lady Bear and felt compelled to help them in any way I could. I began this production company so that they could be in shows and have jobs.
Finally, what excites you the most about doing this show? PC: Sharon! I love all of our collaborations together, and I know she’s gonna hit a home-run with this one.
SN: Spending time with my SF family that doesn’t judge me for my behavior, my mouth, my views, my sexual appetite, or my hygiene. Lord, it pays to be famous and an out-of-towner.
SHARON NEEDLES as Mary Fishy
PEACHES CHRIST as Ruth Ratchett
HEKLINA as Doris Fishy
TIM WAGNER as Bob the Husband
MARIO DIAZ as Garcia Diaz
HOLOTTA TYMES as Pooper
and many, many more of your SF-drag favorites…
Don’t miss the World Premiere of Peaches Christ’s latest movie send-up, taken from the wild, unabashed and take-no-prisoners cult film SHE-DEVIL, starring Meryl Streep, Rosanne Barr, Ed Begley Jr., Linda Hunt, and Sylvia Miles. The live show will precede a rare screening of the 1989 film SHE-DEVIL.
Tickets are available now at PeachesChrist.com