Cape Cod Family Secret Movie Gets National Release 12 Years Late – todayssnews

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Cape Cod Family Secret Movie Gets National Release 12 Years Late
Cape Cod Family Secret Movie Gets National Release 12 Years Late

People kept saying that the “Wild About Harry” movie was ahead of its time. But perhaps the time is now right.

At least that’s what co-writer/director Gwen Wynne and producer James Egan hope when their 2009 film — based on Wynne’s real life in Dennis and filmed on Cape Cod in 2007 — gets a relaunch. And the story can be turned into a television series.

The new road kicks off Saturday at 6 p.m. with a “sneak premiere” as part of the Hyannis Film Festival’s two-day “Movies on Main” event before “Wild About Harry” debuts on Video on Demand on December 17. The film will then move to an undisclosed major movie streaming service.

So what’s different 12 years after the film’s original release? Greater adoption of gay-themed movies, growing support for female directors and women’s stories, and a pandemic that has left streaming services short of content, Wynne and Egan say.

Director Gwen Wynne at the beach house in Dennis where she filmed the 2007 movie "Wild About Harry" (then known as "American Primitive"), which was based on her own adolescence. Her sister painted the mural on the wall for the film.

What’s not different? That the story of two teenage girls in 1973 who realized their widowed father is gay, and what might happen if it gets out, still resonates, they say — especially given the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June to to confirm that the Catholic Church could refuse LGBTQ couples as adoptive parents.

“The story is timeless, it’s entertaining, it’s still relevant,” says Egan.

It is also largely true.

“Wild About Harry” has “always been an outsider’s movie, because there’s never been such a gay family movie,” Egan said in a joint telephone interview with Wynne. “There has never been a story told by the children of gay parents. … That’s what drew me to the project from the start – that this was a fresh new attitude to a problem we’ve never seen before. And who better to tell than someone who grew up like that?”

The true story

Wynne says her mother died when she was 11, and Mr. Phipps — her widowed father’s lover, named Mr. Gibbs in the film — moved in with the family in the mid-1970s when they lived in New Jersey. The family was exiled there, Wynne says she has since realized, so they moved to Route 6A in Dennis in 1976.

There, Mr. Phipps had a shop at the back of the house and a separate bedroom, just like in her screenplay, and the men befriended many Cape artists, including Richard Howard. Her father helped out part-time in the store so he could be home when his daughters got home from school and no one could accuse him of being a neglectful parent, Wynne says.

Cape Cod Family Secret Movie Gets National Release 12 Years Late

“He was very afraid that my mother’s parents would take us,” she says. “I know they were thinking about it.”

Unlike in the film, Wynne – a 1980 graduate of Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School – and her younger sister did not reveal their father’s unusual living situation or talk to their father about his homosexuality when he was a teenager.

“When we played[the film]at festivals, it was like coming out because I was scared, during my young adulthood,” Wynne says, revealing the family secret. “Nobody knew my father was gay.” She remembers the fundraiser she did for the movie at Cape Cinema in Dennis where high school friends went.

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