JT Leroy, for the uninitiated, was a super-hip trans teen novelist who CONQUERED the literary world in the early 2000s. Later, it came to light that JT was actually two women; writer Laura Albert who wrote under the pseudonym and Savannah Knoop who portrayed him for public appearances. LeRoy was the “author” of the novel which based a film Winona did in 2004, The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, but before the movie was released, it emerged that “she” didn’t exist. You can read a lot more about such events in this Guardian article.
Earlier this year a documentary –Author: The J.T. Leroy Story – premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. It showed how Albert, a San Francisco punk rocker and phone sex operator, created created the character and managed to build such a celebrity following. Winona has a scene in the documentary since she was one of the artists that admired LeRoy and also did an appearance, in 2003, to a Public Theater event in their honor.
Check the documentary synopsis:
On January 9, 2006, The New York Times sent shockwaves through the literary world when it unmasked “it boy” wunderkind JT LeRoy, whose tough prose about a sordid childhood had captivated icons and luminaries internationally. It turned out LeRoy didn’t actually exist. He was the creative expression of 40-year-old San Francisco former phone-sex operator turned housewife, Laura Albert. Author: The JT LeRoy Story takes us down the infinitely fascinating rabbit hole of how Laura Albert—like a Cyrano de Bergerac on steroids—breathed not only words, but life, into her avatar for a decade. Albert’s epic and entertaining account plunges us into a glittery world of rock shows, fashion events, and the Cannes red carpet where LeRoy becomes a mysterious sensation. As she recounts this astonishing odyssey, Albert also reveals the intricate web spun by irrepressible creative forces within her. Her extended and layered JT LeRoy performance still infuriates many; but according to Albert, channeling her brilliant fiction through another identity was the only possible path to self-expression. JTLeroyStory.com
My friend Mariana sent me screen captures of Winona’s scene in the documentary. Check it below:
A day before presenting Hawke with a special tribute at 2016 Gotham Independent Film Awards, Winona attended a special screening of his film “Born to Be Blue” in New York. To Variety, she gushed about being proud of him, and about presenting him the award.
He is unparalleled in his vulnerability and intimacy as an actor, and it’s his performance in this film that is honestly, truly mind-blowing. It’s incredibly special to me because he means a lot to me as a friend and an actor. These are things that are often said about actors when they’re praising actors, but I really, honestly, from the bottom of my heart mean it. I just love him in a very, very deep way and I’m very excited for him.
Last night we had a lovely Reality Bites reunion, Winona was chosen to introduce Ethan Hawke on his tribute at the Gotham Awards in New York. IFP has posted a video with the highlights on their facebook, you can check Winona at 3:36 mark, and also posted her full speech which you can watch below:
Last Wednesday (28) Winona was one of several stars on hand at the PEN Center Literary Awards Festival in Beverly Hills. The event was held at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel and honored the bestselling author Isabel Allende, who is considered the world’s most widely read Spanish-language author.
The 74-year-old’s first book, La Casa De Los Espíritus, was rejected by a number of publishers, before it was finally published in Buenos Aires in 1982. It became an immediate best-seller, won critical acclaim and Chile’s Novel of the Year, and was translated into 37 languages.
The story details the life of a single family, spanning four generations, tracing the post-colonial social and political upheavals of Chile — even though the country is never specifically named.
In 1993 it became the basis of the film The House Of The Spirits, boasting a star-crammed cast of Jeremy Irons, Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Antonio Banderas and Vanessa Redgrave, as well as a 22-year-old Ryder.
Check in our gallery pictures of Winona presenting Allende with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Winona attended today the Coach 1941 show during the New York Fashion Week, and she was joined by her Stranger Things co-star Millie Bobby Brown. Sadly I only found two pictures – Updated with some new pictures. Check it: