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The truth behind ''Chasing Amy''

Did Kevin Smith date a lesbian?

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What do you get when you put a couple of straight New Jersey guys and two urban lesbians together in a condo in Utah? According to filmmaking lore — Chasing Amy. It was January 1994 when the Go Fish girls, beautiful cowriter-star Guinevere Turner and her former lover and cowriter-director, Rose Troche, met the Clerks boys, director-star Kevin Smith and producer Scott Mosier, at Sundance. Both teams had festival hits, and both had made, in Smith’s words, ”grungy little black-and-white films that were very concerned with sex.” They became fast friends — ”I would drag Rose over to their condo, and we’d have endless conversations,” Turner says — and when Smith’s boy-meets-lesbian, boy-makes-it-with-lesbian story was released three years later, the rumors came with it: Guin had slept with Kevin. Or ”Kevin couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t. He was obsessed, so he wrote the script,” as one New York production source recalls the folklore.

As usual, the truth is more complicated. Going on record on the subject for the first time, Turner says they’re all friends — that’s all. At Sundance the four had ”a cultural exchange.” ”We really got along and learned probably too much about each other,” she says. ”They’d be like, ‘So, do you like women who look like men, or do you go out with really hot chicks?”’

But a crush on Guin? No way, says Smith. Mosier, however, fesses up: ”It was like falling in love with your third-grade teacher — it’s impossible.” Except in the movies. Put-your-life-on-screen king Smith advised Mosier to write about his infatuation. Then, says Smith, ”I thought, I should write that script,” and melded it with ”a snapshot of my relationship with Joey [Lauren Adams, who plays Alyssa],” with whom Smith has since broken up.

Turner is clear about the moment the film deviates from personal history: ”[Alyssa] turns straight in the middle of the movie. That’s not something that happens all the time.” So no rain-soaked declarations of hetero love? ”The way I live it,” Turner explains, lesbianism ”is a given, not a conflict.” Smith, however, is incorrigible. To this day he likes to remind Turner of the nuptial scene in Go Fish. Says Turner, ”He’s like, ‘You look so good in a wedding dress,’ and I [say], ‘So do a lot of chicks.”’

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