Barbara Neri’s LGBTQIA+ play about a woman who claims to be Tennessee Williams heroine Blanche DuBois is set to be adapted as a feature film, with sales launching at Cannes.
Neri has partnered with Ango-American filmmaker Jaclyn Bethany’s BKE Productions for the adaptation.
According to the logline, “Unlocking Desire” tells the story of “an institutionalized woman who claims to be Tennessee Williams’ iconic heroine Blanche DuBois and must unravel the tragic circumstances that brought her there.”
Nancy Oswein (“Betrayed”) is on board to produce the feature, which is set to shoot on location in New Orleans and Detroit later this summer.
The play, part of a trilogy of diverse love stories, originally debuted in Detroit in 2011 before it was adapted into an award-winning screenplay, scooping the top prize at 2017’s Marfa Film Festival.
“I immediately responded to Barbara’s moving script,” said Bethany. “‘Unlocking Desire’ tackles the complexity of humanity, mental illness, trauma and femininity through the unique setting of post-Katrina New Orleans. I am excited to help her bring the film to life.”
Neri said: “Jaclyn is a brilliant young filmmaker, an original voice, and I’m excited to be working with her on ‘Unlocking Desire.’ It is both a love story and a story about love, one that we believe will find audiences in huge numbers today that like powerful stories about struggles with mental illness, post-traumatic stress, identity, and the wonder of finding your true family in the most unlikely places.”
Bethany is also selling three other films at this year’s market: teen romance “Tell That to the Winter Sea,” which was co-written with and stars Greta Bellamacina, “Before the World Set on Fire,” about a professor dealing with an unidentified virus on campus, and “The Invisible Girl,” a queer re-telling of Mary Shelley’s gothic short story.