Gay Iconography: Flipping Our Wigs For ‘Hedwig’ Creator John Cameron Mitchell


Hedwig and the Angry Inch first debuted off-Broadway in 1998, with Mitchell in the starring role. Written by Mitchell and composed by Stephen Trask, the story follows the titular character (a German, transgender glam rocker) on a quest to track down the ex-lover that stole her songs. (Mitchell has said he and Trask are currently working on a sequel though the Broadway show may be that sequel – as it contains the same songs but an updated plot that has been moved forward in time from the show's original setting).



The stage show was made into a movie in 2001, also starring Mitchell. He received a Golden Globe nomination for the part.

There was much ado about the unsimulated sex in Mitchell’s 2006 spectacular film, Shortbus. Yes, there’s lots of graphic scenes, but it’s the beautiful spirit the film captures that makes it worth the watch. One favorite scene is when Ceth (musician Jay Brannan) chats with a fictitious former mayor of New York about the AIDS crisis (allusions to Ed Koch are hard to miss). The scene does cutaway to some bare breasts, so you can find the NSFW clip here. The film won awards at film festivals in Athens, Gijón and Zurish, as well as an Independent Spirit Award.



Before NPH slipped into Hedwig’s blonde wig, Mitchell worked with A-list stars Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart when he directed the 2010 film, Rabbit Hole. The drama follows two parents grieving the loss of their son. “Sometimes with American awards I feel like instead of Best Acting they’re going for Most Acting of the Year. Most Directing. Americans like excess,” he told Next Magazine. “We were trying to get back to the Hollywood dramas that were restrained.”



Recently, Mitchell appeared as Hannah (Lena Dunham)’s manic e-book editor on the HBO series Girls. You can catch a glimpse of his character in the beginning of the clip above.

What’s been your favorite piece of Mitchell’s work?