Katherine Heigl, formerly of Grey’s Anatomy, formerly of Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen‘s good graces, formerly of a slew of successful romantic comedies and currently of a Nyquil commercial and some truly unfortunate casting choices, has a new film on the way. Called Jenny’s Wedding, Heigl stars as a lesbian who has been hiding her sexuality from her family for years, until she decides to take the next step in her relationship with her longtime girlfriend, Kitty, played by Alexis Bledel (Gilmore Girls, Mad Men). The news of Jenny’s impending nuptials is enough to tear her family apart, especially since they’re small-town conservatives who have believed up until this point that their daughter’s girlfriend is her roommate.
Sounds like a cute little wedding flick that plays right into Heigl’s repertoire. Here’s the kicker. The film is up on Indiegogo to the tune of raising $150,000 to cover post-production costs. Despite the relatively big-named cast (Tom Wilkinson and Grace Gummer are also in the mix), a writer and director who’s been around the genre several times in fully funded productions — Mary Agnes Donoghue of Beaches, White Oleander, Deceived and Paradise – and already completed shooting, the film’s producers are relying heavily on the fundraising site to cover a pretty hefty chunk of their expenses.
Of course, in the grand scheme of filmmaking, $150,000 isn’t close to the full amount of what it takes to finish a movie, but it’s nothing to sneeze at either. The film’s Indiegogo page doesn’t mention what their full budget is, but does specify where the money is going: post-production costs like editing, sound mixing and color correcting, hiring a music supervisor and licensing music, hiring a composer and taking the film around the festival circuit.
What they’ve got on their hands is a near-completed Katherine Heigl movie with no music, and apparently not enough money to let it be seen by anyone in the near future. Of course, like any good crowdfunding opportunity, there’s the chance to win a multitude of okayish (and kind of bizarre and wonderful, maybe we should all pitch in?) perks for your contributions toward the goal — which as of today, has hit $17,633 with 40 days to go. For a $30 contibution, you’ll get a digital download of the film when it’s “released on Home Video,” as well as a handful of rice thrown in your honor at the film’s premiere.
For $100, you’ll get all that, plus a Jenny’s Wedding t-shirt, which someone involved with the film has worn while dancing in a conga line ; it does not specify where or when that conga line is happening. Just know that Katherine Heigl had to do that for $150. For you. For $15,000 (and they clearly don’t expect more than one person to make this donation), you’ll get the wedding dress that Heigl wears in the film, get dinner with the filmmakers and attend the film’s LA premiere.
It’s troubling to see Heigl’s career reduced to a crowdfunding page, but not unexpected. After her highly-publicized split from Grey’s Anatomy she experienced a period of success in romantic comedies, starring alongside James Marsden in 27 Dresses, Josh Duhamel in Life As We Know It and Gerard Butler in The Ugly Truth. But an interview following her starring role in Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up in which she criticized the film for its “sexist” undertones, in addition to the bad blood left over from the Grey’s Anatomy departure (prior to leaving the show she withdrew herself from the Emmy’s race because she didn’t feel the show gave her Emmy’s-worthy material with which to be nominated), seemed to sully Heigl’s standing in the film industry.
She wasn’t America’s sweetheart, clearly, and she’s had trouble getting substantial work since. The proof is in the Nyquil commercial, as in the recent spot for ZzzQuil where Heigl is featured as a non-speaking glimpse of a background character just trying to catch some sleep. Someone fund Jenny’s Wedding, please?