look up and know that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. That’s how Niko is.

She knows what’s happening at home isn’t normal. Soccer is her happy place.” One of the most intriguing aspects of QOTW is how the love story is undeniably accepted and intricately woven into the plot, regardless of the fact that it involves two women. “I know how it feels to be attracted to someone when you are both training so hard for the same sport,” says Caster. “I love the love story and how two people come together because of the same passion.” “[It] might be my favorite thing about the film,” adds Pacent. “It’s not a coming-out story, there is no need for it. The fact that Maggie can just go through this comingof-age process without a huge magnifying glass on, it is fantastic. This story could have easily been about a guy and a girl, too. It’s treated with such normalcy.” That aspect of “normalcy” is also what attracted Clunie to the role of Maggie’s mom, Vicky. “I thought of it as a film about girls who want to play soccer, a mom who loves her daughter and a love story,” she says. “It’s so nice to see a mother portrayed in film or television where she finds out that her son or daughter is gay and that it’s not such a big deal. That was the moment that made me want to do the film, and that’s what I love about this film. It can be mainstream.” While QOTW has everything a classic mainstream sports movie should have (a love story, drama, the overcoming of obstacles, an underdog), some might still consider this a “lesbian film.” Robertson says they’d be mistaken. “I’m very adamant that this is not a lesbian film… this is a sports drama. It is very important, in my opinion, that we stop singling out films as gay or lesbian, because this creates the stereotype that gay people are still different than the rest of society. I am making a film about women’s soccer and one woman’s journey. Along the way, this woman falls in love. It shouldn’t really matter that she falls in love with another woman.” Robertson also hopes that QOTW will transcend both sexual and gender boundaries, and brings some much-needed attention to women’s soccer, which recently relaunched its professional league. “There are 30 million women who play soccer in the world,” says Robertson. “It’s time that a story truly represents all that we go through to make it to the professional arena.”n

Meeting Maxine Peake
Kicking off 2010’s Frameline Film Festival, The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister dazzled audiences with its sumptuous atmosphere and complex characters. Based on the real-life lesbian trailblazer who wrote her diaries in code, the film follows Lister as she takes a stand against society and battles through the pain of heartbreak, determined to live and love on her own terms. One of the many highlights of Diaries is the British actor Maxine Peake, who brings life and a boundless energy to her portrayal of Anne Lister. In addition to visiting Lister’s home at Shibden Hall, near Halifax in the to have this power over women.” One such woman is Mariana Belcombe (played by Anna Madeley), with whom Lister carries on a highly passionate and physical relationship. Sadly, matters of love come second to matters of finance, and Belcombe ends up marrying a much older man to secure her station in society. This is an accurate reflection of the economic realities of the 19th century. “You get the feeling that a lot of those marriages weren’t about love,” the actor laments. “Mariana is a case in point of how it seemed to work for a majority of women in those days.” Peake explains that this is part of what makes Lister such a unique and courageous individual. “I think Anne’s a role model for young lesbians—well, lesbians of any age, actually—and I think she’s a role model for anyone, really, because she lived her life as she wanted to. She was bullied for it, and she was persecuted for it, but she stuck true to who she was. She saw herself as a person. And I think that’s what we should all do. It shouldn’t have anything to do with your gender or sexuality.” As far as the way women are portrayed in film nowadays, Peake is less than enthusiastic. “I do think it’s funny how, when you read a lot of scripts, the woman often seems sort of like a pathetic, naggy ex-wife. And I think, Well, let’s look at why she’s a naggy ex-wife. I mean, it’s either the mistress or the wife— and I’ve been trying to stay away from those stereotypes. They say that sex sells, but it’s just so boring.” Peake got her start at 13, acting in plays for the Bolton Octagon Youth Theatre. At 21, she went to study drama at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, where she spent three years. She has been working regularly ever since, but only recently has she been able to spread her wings as an artist. “I’ve always worked, but it’s been sort of a gradual build-up of parts. I did a comedy called Dinnerladies, where I was this sort of monosyllabic character called Twinkle, and then I’ve done quite a bit of theater. In the last couple of years it’s shifted, really. The parts have started to get more diverse and interesting. And that includes strong women.” Peake’s current project involves playing another strong woman character—Martha Costello, a single and determined defense barrister in the six-part BBC series Silk. [Lisa Gunther]
November/December 2010 | 53

West of Yorkshire, Peake also geared up for the part by visiting Helena Whitbread, the editor who decoded the diaries and published them in the 1990s. Peake sought details from the editor and historian about Lister’s life.“I went over to see Helena, who lives not far from where Anne was born and brought up, and spent the day grilling her about who she thinks Anne was. She spent 20 years researching and deciphering Anne’s diary, so she seems to be the only person who really knows. And that really helped, actually. I mean, you’re so lucky with characters like that, who have diaries. You’ve got it all there.” Popular depictions of 19th-century England often rely on images of stuffy dresses and even stuffier tea parties, but according to Peake, things weren’t as different as we might think. “You’re used to the Jane Austen account of how things were,” Peake laughs. “You get the impression that it’s all very staid and very stiff and very prim—but reading Anne’s diaries, it seemed a lot freer in those days than I think we are used to. They seemed to have had a good time. After all, Anne seduced a lot of married women. And not necessarily lesbians—she just had seemed

Retts Wood

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