Clea DuVall has 'a couple of ideas' for a Happiest Season sequel
Director also talks passionate fan response to Kristen Stewart and Aubrey Plaza.
The actress-filmmaker has revealed she's thought about a sequel to her new lesbian rom-com that caused a festive stir online following its Nov. 25 Hulu debut.
"I would love to do a sequel," DuVall told Variety following the film's premiere. "I mean, I have a couple of ideas. We all had such a great time making the movie that we were talking about it then. But it was also just like, who knew if anybody would care about the movie or not? So I definitely am more than open to it."
Written by DuVall and her Veep costar Mary Holland, Happiest Season follows a young queer couple, Abby (Kristen Stewart) and Harper (Mackenzie Davis) who travel to the latter's family home for the holidays only for the former to discover that her lover has yet to come out to her parents (Victor Garber, Mary Steenburgen) and siblings (Holland, Alison Brie). Holiday hilarity ensues as the pair navigates rocky territory, but social media lit up with discussion about the film's conclusion, Harper's treatment of Abby, and the stimulating presence of Harper's ex, Riley (Aubrey Plaza) — all of which DuVall is still processing.
"Do they want Abby to be with Riley, or do they want to be with Riley? I mean, it also can be both," DuVall continued, referencing audience's passionate reaction to Plaza's character. "She’s incredible in general, and she was so fantastic in this film.... To be able to make a movie and put someone who I love and admire as much as I love and admire Aubrey into it — and then watch people fall in love with her — is so rewarding. I don’t blame them for loving her as much as they do. And I think it’s also so cool to have a movie where people are having these conversations, and are having these debates. That people are engaged."
DuVall also said that (spoiler alert) she feels the fact that Abby's decision to stay with Harper at the end of the film is seen as controversial "has less to do with the movie and more to do with your philosophy on growth and forgiveness," and that her perspective as a 43-year-old queer woman with experience in the complex art of coming out informed her decision to give the central couple a happy ending.
"It’s understanding that sometimes you have to go low so you can figure out your way back up. And I understand the impulse to just cut and run, and be like, to hell with this. But I also really believe that people can get better, people can grow, and people can change. They can recognize that maybe their behavior is not as good as they know it can be, and that they make a conscious effort to change it," explained DuVall. "I’ve spent four years with Harper — I feel like I understand her, and I love her so much. And I think she’s worth it. I want what’s best for all the characters in the movie. And I think the message that you can mess up, and that you can do the work and get better is really important. And be kind to yourself, and have compassion. Because I think compassion is in short supply."
Stewart previously told EW that she "grew up watching and loving conventional movies" where a man and a woman fall in love, but that "seeing [marginalized] people loving each other in the middle of something that's so standardized was really exhilarating and freeing" in DuVall's hands.
"There's a lack of confusion and generalization Clea brings [as a queer woman]," she said. "I want people to see that two girls in love is just so fun."
Happiest Season — also starring Dan Levy, Ana Gasteyer, and RuPaul's Drag Race queens BenDeLaCreme and Jinkx Monsoon — is now streaming on Hulu.