Interview with Screenwriter Max Rasmussen (BABY QUEEN)

1. What is your screenplay about?

Baby Queen is about a 10-year-old drag queen and their single gay father trying to get famous in Wisconsin. When an ambitious child talent agent from Milwaukee scoops them up and launches their career, they must escape the trappings of fame in order to save their relationship. In this new world where queerness is a hot commodity, they learn that their individuality is too important to sell.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Definitely a comedy, with enough lip sync numbers to maybe be considered a musical?

3. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

Baby Queen should be made because audiences haven’t seen these types of characters and relationships before. The heart and soul of this story is the close bond between a single gay father and his drag queen child, which is put to the test through the climax. Ultimately, they both find that their dreams of fame and success aren’t as important as the people they have around them to share it. This is a fast-paced story with quick-witted dialogue and multiple lip sync performances. Rather than focus on the agony of queerness that is often portrayed in movies, I wanted to write a joyful and heartwarming story featuring a gender non-binary main character who’s pronouns are the least interesting part of who they are.

4. How would you describe this script in two words?

Queer and wholesome.

5. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?

If I’m being totally honest, it’s Reno 911: Miami. I saw it for the first time as a teen and proceeded to watch it every single night before bed for like 6 months. And it still holds for me today, it’s just so fun and stupid.

6. How long have you been working on this screenplay?

2 years! I did the first draft in film school at Second City, and then used the lockdowns to slog through the next few drafts.

7. How many stories have you written?

I’ve made a few shorts, and I love writing and performing in live storytelling shows, but this is the first feature I’ve completed so far.

8. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

Little Bird by Annie Lennox. It’s such a fun pop song but somehow always makes me weepy because it’s so earnest. I have tried to write it into every single thing I make, to the point where people have been like “you have to stop using that song”. Also You Can Call Me Al by Paul Simon is ingrained in my DNA at this point.

9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Well the pandemic took away a lot of the physical obstacles and gave me plenty of time to write, so the next obstacle in its place was self-doubt. I’ve always believed in the idea of this script, but I’ve struggled with having enough confidence to be the one to write it. Also, I still struggle with how to write stories post-pandemic. It’s hard to create a world for your characters when everything in the real world is changing so dramatically all the time.

10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I love making documentaries, it uses a totally different part of my brain and it’s a great way to tell stories without having to write them. I’m passionate about working in production, and helping other writers express their voice. I’m also passionate about my stubby little dachshund.

11. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site?

I’ve used FilmFreeway to submit both screenplays and short films, and I’ve found it to be a really reliable and useful way to get my work out there and meet some great people.

12. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

This is my first time submitting a script to festivals and contests, so I cast a wide net and sent it to a huge variety. While all the feedback has been useful, I’m especially grateful and eager to hear from a queer festival like the LGBTQ+ Toronto Film Festival. I wanted this story to resonate specifically with the queer community, so to get feedback from that particular perspective was really encouraging and motivating.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

10-year-old drag queen Darien the Librarian dreams of going viral, but when the top child agent in Milwaukee launches their career in the lucrative and booming drag industry, their single gay father must rescue them from the murky depths of local fame.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Darien: Andy Camp
Jonathan: Shawn Devlin
Ma: Hannah Ehman
——

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