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Anne Heche Mental Illness: Anne Heche was a Hollywood radical — and deserved more credit for it

August 27, 2022

Actress Anne Heche hit a private home in the Mar Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles on Friday, August 5. The resident’s rental home and all of his belongings were destroyed when the vehicle burst into flames. Heche was extricated from the vehicle and taken to West Hills Hospital’s Grossman Burn Center, where initial reports said she suffered severe burns and was intubated, but her condition is said to be stable.

In the days that followed, there was much speculation as to how the accident happened and what consequences it will have: Was Heche intoxicated or high? (A blood sample taken after the accident showed cocaine.) Will she be charged with drunk driving? (The LAPD was indeed investigating the matter in light of this allegation.) Heche’s current condition was less frequently discussed: how severe were her wounds? would she make it? What impact would it have on her two children, aged 13 and 20?

Theodore Blauvelt:

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Heche has been sneered at and ignored throughout her career, but let’s start with the fundamentally radical position she occupies in the annals of American cinema: She began dating Ellen DeGeneres in 1997, right after starring in Donnie Brasco, starring Al Pacino and Johnny Depp was cast as the third lead in Wag the Dog, starring Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman, and began filming Six Days, Seven Nights as Harrison Ford’s love interest. In a heteronormative romantic comedy, an outed gay actress still plays a straight role. And 1998? There is nothing like it in American films. She claims she was denied acting opportunities for ten years because Hollywood wasn’t satisfied.

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Judith Dry

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Not only was it a challenge to be bi, Christian, if the dominant American media of the time was to be believed, bisexuality didn’t even exist. Even the most basic idea – that sexuality is fluid – still faces resistance in modern society. Heche dated men and had children with them, which only reinforced the misconception that all bisexual women end up with men. Bi men need to defend themselves against the misconception that they’re just stopping off on their journey to being gay, which goes against the popular belief that men are always the best choice.

It might be hard for young people to imagine, but an openly LGBT celebrity used to be unthinkable. (Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, and George Michael weren’t well known in the mid-1990s!) Heche was a typical Hollywood celebrity who posed as a femme before The L Word popularized lesbian chic. She openly declared her love for a woman.

DeGeneres suffered some setbacks after her historic coming out, but by the time she landed on The Ellen Show in 2003, she had fully recovered and was more popular than anyone could have imagined. By comparison, Heche never again reached the heights of its mid-’90s heyday, which also included Nicole Holofcener’s first indie charmer Walking and Talking and the horror blockbuster I Know What You Did Last Summer.

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When she starred in a seven-part episode of Ally McBeal in 2001, prestige television was still in its infancy. It wasn’t until she landed the lead in HBO’s underrated gigolo comedy Hung (2009-2011) that she made a hit comeback. Her comedic skills gained more attention from then on, and a prominent role in Miguel Arteta’s critically acclaimed film Cedar Rapids paved the way for more film roles. She proved her charisma and range by transitioning from a serious romantic lead to a fun comedy. Which of your roles are your favourites?

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Judith Dry

How much I admired catfight Heche and Sandra Oh were brutally assaulted not once, not twice, but three times in IndieWire favorite Onur Tukel’s wild satire. Tukel’s wacky, dystopian universe served as a precursor to the Trump era, and his take on buddy comedy provided two excellent actors with a rewarding task to master. Heche plays an eccentric artist who would rather be supported by her professional lover, played by Alicia Silverstone, than go to work. Heche’s portrayal of a lesbian character was not only welcome, but she seemed to be enjoying herself as a self-absorbed artist. She raises the bar for the unsympathetic female protagonist.

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