Gina Gershon Recalls Agents Dropping Her, Saying She “Can’t Play A Lesbian” In ‘Bound’

Gina Gershon took a major risk early in her career to work with talented first-time directors, the Wachowskis.

The actress recalled that her agents nearly blocked her from taking on the lead role in the 1996 sapphic noir cult classic Bound as she reunited with co-star Jennifer Tilly to discuss the movie.

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“It was a great script and I could tell they were incredible directors, but my agents were like, ‘We will not let you do this movie. You are ruining your career. We will not be able to let you represent. You will never work again,'” she said on the It Happened In Hollywood podcast. “All that stuff.”

“I just said, ‘Oh, well, I guess if you can’t represent me, I’ll go somewhere else.’ You know? No hard feelings,” added Gershon.

She explained that her agency didn’t want her taking on a queer role at the time as it would be too risqué following her performance in Paul Verhoeven‘s Showgirls (1995).

Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon in ‘Bound’ (1996). (Courtesy Everett Collection)
Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon in ‘Bound’ (1996). (Courtesy Everett Collection)

“When they were saying, ‘you can’t do this film,’ I kept saying, ‘Why can’t i do this film? it’s really well written. I believe in these directors,'” Gershon continued. “They’re like, ‘You can’t play a lesbian … because you just won’t be able to work at all.’

“First of all, it’s so short-sighted to say this is a lesbian movie. I mean, they happen to be lesbians, they happen to be into women. But it was really a movie about trust, there’s a bigger issue. And I really hated that, I thought it was so small-minded and short-sighted. And if that was what we were up against, I was in. I was into making a point, because I thought it was absolutely ridiculous,” she said.

In Bound, Gershon stars as Corky, who is fresh out of prison when she begins a love affair with Violet (Tilly), the girlfriend of ruthless gangster Caesar (Joe Pantoliano). Together, they devise a plan to escape together with $2 million of the mob’s money.

Written and directed by sisters Lana and Lilly Wachowski, Bound served as the pair’s directorial debut, three years before they went on to helm the Matrix franchise.

“The Wachowskis are really talented,” raved Gershon. “I thought they were incredibly gifted and secret geniuses.”

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