During an appearance on the It
Happened in Hollywood podcast, John Cameron Mitchell talked about
Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
Mitchell said that he “wasn't seeing”
his world in the New York theater scene at the time he conceived
“AIDS was reaching a frenzied peak in
the mid-1990s. I just wasn't seeing the things that moved me
onstage,” he said.
He collaborated with rock musician
Stephen Trask, workshopping Hedwig at Squeezebox from 1994
until it finally opened off-Broadway in 1996.
was based on a babysitter for Mitchell's brother “who was also a
prostitute,” Mitchell said.
In the musical, which became a cult
film in 2001 starring Mitchell in the title role, Hedwig is forced to
undergo a botched castration as a teen.
Mitchell said that Hedwig was
not a transgender story because Hedwig was “coerced into a
“He was a boy who was quite
comfortable in his gender and was coerced into a mutilation, really,
by a boyfriend, mother and really the patriarchy, if you think about
it,” Mitchell said. “[Coerced by] the binarchy that says you have
to be one or the other for certain things to happen, for you to get
married and so on.”
“But it's not really a trans story.
There's all kinds of gender fluidity and exploration. But to be trans
you have to want to be. You choose to be,” he