Jeff Feuerzeig’s documentary Author: The JT LeRoy Story tells the story of Laura Albert, the writer who moonlighted as wunderkind author JT LeRoy in the late ’90s, garnering the attention of Hollywood before being revealed as a hoax.
Feuerzeig’s film is centered around Albert’s reconstruction of her own tale and features a play on structure. “I love literary structure that’s challenging, and I love it in cinema as well,” the director tells Moveable Fest. “When flashback or internal monologue is done really well, it’s just something that blows my mind, so I had a lot of ideas to play with structure and memory going into this film, ideas that really were based on Woody Allen and Terrence Malick’s Badlands. Once I learned her tragic back story, which included physical abuse, sexual abuse, gender fluidity, calling help lines as a young boy, having an avatar — her sister, during her punk rock salvation — and pretending to be British during the group home when she met Skinhead Mike outside of The Who Quadrophenia movie, that was of course was [the basis for her alter ego] Speedy years later, it presented an opportunity to take this fictional creation of JT LeRoy and now this person hiding in the shadows, Laura Albert [and intertwine them]. There’s no such thing as Laura Albert. I felt like if I could possibly weave them together, the saga of JT LeRoy is the A story and the backstory of Laura Albert is the B story, and if I did it in reverse, it finally catches up with itself like Memento and that would add up to a whole person. It took two years of editing constantly and shooting constantly and playing with structure and writing constantly to just get there.”
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