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Ellen DeGeneres stars in the contemporary component of the "Walls" trilogy of short films  

Love ain't easy

HBO tackles lesbian love in 'If These Walls Could Talk 2'

March 3, 2000
Web posted at: 1:44 p.m. EST (1844 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Hollywood has certainly come a long way, baby.

Case in point: Tuesday's premiere of the HBO lesbian anthology "If These Walls Could Talk 2," a trilogy of films featuring high-profile talent depicting the changing lesbian American experience. "Walls," which airs on HBO on March 5 at 9 p.m., is the sequel to HBO's popular 1996 compendium tackling abortion.

The trilogy has a simple message, says comedian Ellen DeGeneres, whose partner, Anne Heche, wrote and directed the third segment of "Walls."

"We're putting a face on something that a lot of people don't understand," says DeGeneres, who also stars in the third segment. "And we want to give people some information before they make up their minds and judge us."

Sharon Stone plays DeGeneres' life partner  

If they were judged at all, Heche and DeGeneres were considered the power couple du jour recently when they stepped past an array of flashing cameras to attend a party celebrating the anthology's debut. Held at New York's Museum of Modern Art, the event attracted "Good Morning America" anchor Diane Sawyer, supermodel Amber Valletta, comedian Janeane Garofalo, model Frederique Van Der Wal and actress-director Anjelica Huston.

Such a turnout is hardly a surprise, as gay characters and story lines are fashionable these days. Take the popular NBC sitcom "Will & Grace," featuring an openly homosexual lead character. Or the recent indie film "Trick," starring Neve Campbell's brother, Christian, as a young guy wanting only to find a little room to shack up with a boy he just met. Or consider the recent, much-ballyhooed disclosure that musician David Crosby provided the sperm for the two children lesbian couple Melissa Etheride and Julie Cypher share.

Love me tender

"Dawson's Creek" star Michelle Williams appears in the 1972 segement of the special  

For DeGeneres, "Walls" has more to do with passion than politics.

"It's a movie about love," DeGeneres said during the party, as Heche fielded off admirers congratulating her on her HBO directorial debut. "That's all it is. There are tons of straight love stories and this is ... another movie about love."

Love abounds in "Walls." The first segment, set in 1961, features screen and stage veteran Vanessa Redgrave playing a lesbian shut out of any decision-making after her longtime partner's death. In the next installment, set in 1972, "Dawson's Creek" star Michelle Williams plays Linda, a cutesy college lesbian who falls for motorcycle-straddling, tough-girl Amy, played by critical favorite Chloe Sevigny. The fact that Amy is more masculine than all of the buff guys on "Baywatch" causes a rift between Linda and her friends, who just don't get Amy.

The last segment, set in the present, has Sharon Stone and DeGeneres playing a lesbian couple. The two desperately want a child, by any means necessary. When their gay friends back out, leaving them without sperm donors, Stone and DeGeneres head to the sperm bank.

"I think I had the best chemistry with Ellen that I had with anybody," says Stone. "Anne is a wonderful director and wrote a beautiful project for us. We really believed in it."

Lynn Redgrave plays an older woman who loses her partner and is left out of any decision-making  

"If These Walls Could Talk 2" features startlingly explicit love scenes, most notably the bed romp between Sevigny and Williams -- a fact that may catch mainstream viewers unprepared. But then, it's a cable flick; we see more risque heterosexual scenes in just about any Michael Douglas movie.

For the actors, "Walls" is a medium with a message. "I think we're very aware that you can touch more people on television than you can any other way," says Stone. "It's sheer pleasure to watch this thing."

And for DeGeneres, "If These Walls Could Talk 2" was a labor of love in the most literal sense.

"Anne wrote it for me and directed, so I was stuck with it," cracks DeGeneres. "We always got along. It's almost gross, I tell you, when I think of how well we get along."

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HBO official site
Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation

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