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All I’ve ever wanted is for Alia Shawkat to come out as queer and for someone to ask anyone in a serious interview if Portia de Rossi made them gay, and today I got both of those wishes! Out interviewed Shawkat about her new film, Paint it Black, which apparently has some super weird queer overtones, and since they were talking about queerness anyway Shawkat just went right ahead and came out. She says she was a tomboy growing up and her mom asked her if she was into girls or boys and she just didn’t know yet. But hey: “Now I consider myself bisexual, and I think balancing my male and female energies has been a big part of me growing as an actor.”
This is my favorite question, though.
Did working with Portia de Rossi on Arrested Development help shape your identity?
Portia started dating Ellen DeGeneres during the show’s first three seasons, and I’d met her previous girlfriend, but I think my influences are more from growing up in Los Angeles and being exposed to lots of gay artists.
But that doesn’t mean Arrested Development didn’t shape her queer career! This new movie she’s in, Paint It Black, is about the wackadoodle relationship Shawkat gets into with her dead mother’s boyfriend. The film is Amber Tamblyn’s directorial debut, and Tamblyn met Shawkat through her husband, David “Tobias Funke” Cross. I’m only telling you this so I can relay the anecdote Tamblyn gave Refinery 29 about casting Shawkat in the Paint It Black.
“I went to a Korean spa in Los Angeles, and I saw her there, butt naked, and I was butt naked, and she was like, ‘Hey, I read the script [you sent me]!’ And I was like, ‘Hey, let’s have a general meeting together, naked, in a hot tub. So it was kind of love after that point.”
Stars! They’re just like us!
Paint It Black brings the number of Shawkat’s queer roles to six. She played Ilana Glazer’s doppelganger lover on Broad City. She played gender-flipped Alexander Hamilton on Drunk History. She played gay in Clea DuVall’s The Intervention. She played gay in May in the Summer. And she was obviously in love with Ellen Page’s character in Whip It.
It’s always very heartening when celebrities come out. Visibility is endlessly important.