Is he gay, or not gay? That is the question-- or is it? In “Dirty Weekend,” the Neil LaBute-directed film, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival Sunday, the main characters set out to find “something” to do in Albuquerque, New Mexico, while they wait for their connecting flight to take them to Dallas for a work event. Along the way, they develop a close friendship and embark on a journey of self-discovery.
Les Moore (Matthew Broderick) first comes across as a preppy, suburban husband who is as translucent as his vodka martinis. But his partner, Natalie Hamilton (Alice Eve), pries away at his uptight layers until his reveals a secret. In turn, Nat also shares there is more to her than her taut bun and turtleneck. Together, they try to find an answer to Les’ fuzzy memory and uncertain sexual identity.
LaBute’s cleverly written dialogue delivers a few punches and lighthearted laughs. And it’s a good thing, because there’s plenty of conversation in the director’s wordy film. “I like characters who express themselves through dialogue,” LaBute said at the Tribeca Film Festival, after the movie screened at Regal Cinemas in Battery Park Wednesday. “For me, I use dialogue to show actions and conflict.”
Though Broderick seems to perfectly embody Les, LaBute did not write the character with Broderick in mind. “I tend to not write for actors. It can bring you great unhappiness,” he said. “It’s better to write the character you have in your head.” LaBute said sometimes an actor won’t be able to do the role, or simply might not want it. But, what’s great about actors is they have the ability to help “mold” the character and create a “connection” once they start to film.
Something that Broderick brought to the film was the armsling. Though it seemed like it might have had cinematic symbolism, LaBute said Broderick had just had shoulder surgery. But when he saw the sling, he knew it would be perfect to incorporate into the film. He explained it went along with Natalie’s collar. They both had something that was binding to them. In the end, one of them removes their binding and the other chooses to stay with their restrictive accessory-- and the life they had before the “Dirty Weekend.”
Follow me on Twitter @mariamzzarella