Image Credit: ‘Bound,’ The Criterion Channel

Gina Gershon has given the community so much!

For starters, she’s the Cristal Conners in Showgirls, the camp classic to end all camp classics. And that alone should qualify her for some sort of honorary GLAAD award, right?

And then who could forget Gershon in the sapphic, S&M-friendly crime thriller Bound? Co-starring the great Jennifer Tilly, the ’90s flick is what put filmmakers Lana and Lilly Wachowski on the map and paved the way for The Matrix—which of course redefined the modern blockbuster.

In other words, without Gina Gershon in Bound, who knows? The entire course of cinema history could’ve been drastically different. And it almost didn’t happen—that is, if Gershon’s homophobic agents had their way.

In the most recent episode of The Hollywood Reporter‘s It Happened In Hollywood podcast, Gershon and Tilly reunited in celebration of the film’s release via The Criterion Collection to reflect on the legacy, which debute nearly 28 years ago and is still finding new fans today, especially among the LGBTQ+ community.

In the 1996 film, Gershon plays lesbian ex-con Corky, who begins a passionate affair with Violet (Tilly), and together the pair hatch a plan to steal mob money and pin the blame on Violet’s violent criminal boyfriend Caesar (Joe Pantoliano). It’s a blast, and if you haven’t watched it yet… what’re you waiting for?

Anyway, as Gershon reveals on the podcast, she was super excited when the opportunity to play Corky came her way, but her agents at the time advised her against taking on an openly queer role.

“It was a great script and I could tell they were incredible directors,” the actress shares, “but my agents were like, ‘We will not let you do this movie. You are ruining your career. We will not be able to let you represent. You will never work again.'”

Image Credit: ‘Bound,’ The Criterion Channel

As Gershon tells it, they were afraid that if she starred in a “lesbian movie,” she’d ruin her shot at any future film roles. Which… did they not see Showgirls a year earlier then? Because Cristal Connors is definitely bisexual, so it’s not like she hadn’t already played queer!

“I said, first of all, it’s so shortsighted to say, ‘Oh, this is a lesbian movie,'” Gershon continues on the podcast. “I mean, they happen to be lesbians—they happen to be into women—but it’s really a movie about trust. There’s a bigger issue, and I really hated that,’ she said. ‘I thought that was so small-minded and shortsighted. And if that’s what we were up against, I was in.”

So, she made it super easy for her agents: “I just said, ‘Oh, well, I guess if you can’t represent me, I’ll go somewhere else.’ You know? No hard feelings.”

And that is how you do it, folks! She shut them right up and went on to deliver one of the defining roles of her career!

Elsewhere in their conversation on It Happened In Hollywood, Tilly—a gay icon in her own right thanks to her ongoing role as Tiffany Valentine in the Chucky series—recalls similar sentiments around the “stigma” atatched to lesbian roles at the time.

“The Wachowskis said to me, ‘You would not believe how many actresses refused to come in and read for this,'” she shares.

“[They were] telling me the names and I was really puzzled,” Tilly continues. “I mean, I understood it, but they were people sort of in the same category as me… Two of the best female parts I ever read, I couldn’t believe that they wouldn’t come in and meet [for the parts.]”

Obviously, it worked out for the best, and Gershon and Tilly still have quite the bond thanks to their intimate work together on the set of Bound.

Tilly calls her co-star “the best person in the world” to work with, remembering how they were able to support one another while filming: “I could say to Gina, ‘Can you hold up my breast so it looks a little more juicy and perky?’ you know, or ‘Cover up this cellulite or this fat bit or whatever!’ We were really helping each other out, and she’s just the coolest person in the world.”

That chemistry definitely translates to the screen, because what these two bring to Bound? It’s electric! And to think a couple of wrong-headed agents almost kept the world from seeing it!

(By the way… it seems like these two are game, so we definitely wouldn’t say know to seeing Bound 2, and catching up with Corky and Violet’s kinky life together, 30 years on. Just a suggestion, Hollywood!)

Bound is now available via The Criterion Collection, is currently streaming via FuboTV and Paramount+, and is available for digital rental/purchase on Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV.

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