Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Matt Kugelman|
|Produced by||Ash Christian|
|Screenplay by||Matt Kugelman|
Bianca Del Rio|
Shangela Laquifa Wadley
|Cinematography||Austin F. Schmidt|
|Edited by||Scott Martin|
September 23, 2016 (VOD)|
October 18, 2016 (DVD)
Hurricane Bianca is an American independent comedy and LGBT film, directed and written by Matt Kugelman, an editor for CBS This Morning. The film's title derives from the starring actor, Bianca Del Rio (Roy Haylock), an American costumer and drag queen, best known for winning the sixth season of RuPaul's Drag Race. As well as being marketed as a comedy, the film touches on serious social issues, such as the fact that it is legal for somebody to be fired from their place of work for being gay, in 29 U.S states. Speaking on the film before its release, Del Rio stated "It's a serious topic, but it's done in a funny way." Kugelman stated he hopes the film will shine a light on employment discrimination in the United States, saying "My hope is that Hurricane Bianca will change minds and bring awareness to the issue. The film deals with a serious topic in a comedic way."
The films budget was achieved mostly through extensive crowdfunding, and was introduced and announced years before Del Rio's rise to fame on RuPaul's Drag Race. After winning the show, Del Rio won a cash prize of $100,000 and garnered more attention to the movie. He was able to bring further attention to the film, with the casting of other well known Drag Race alumni; Willam Belli, Shangela Laquifa Wadley (Darius J. Pierce), Joslyn Fox (Patrick Joslyn), and Alyssa Edwards (Justin Johnson). Following a limited theatrical release, the film was released on video on demand on September 23, 2016, with a release to DVD in October 2016.
A school teacher named Richard moves from New York City to a small town in Texas, and begins work at a new school. Shortly after this, Richard gets outed by the community in this town and is consequently fired, which is legal under Texas state law. Following this, Richard feels the need to get revenge on the people that were hateful to him, so he returns as Bianca Del Rio, the drag persona of Richard, and spreads his hate and causes mayhem to those that were mean to him, who are unknown to the fact that Del Rio is actually the previously fired Richard.
- Bianca Del Rio as Richard and Bianca Del Rio:
- Richard is a school teacher from New York City, who gets a new job at a school in a small town in Texas. After being outed as gay by the community and ultimately fired, he returns as Bianca Del Rio, the female, drag persona of Richard, and gets revenge on those that were hateful to him.
- Willam Belli as Bailey:
- Shangela Laquifa Wadley as Stephen:
- Speaking on her role in the film, Dratch said "When I read the script, I thought it was genuinely funny and the underlying message of acceptance is very timely. Also, anytime I get to hang out with drag queens, I’m there!"
- Cameo appearance
Prior to winning RuPaul's Drag Race, Del Rio had already garnered attention as a comedian and drag queen in the New York City and New Orleans drag scenes. He would often host and MC events, including Mardi Gras and Southern Decadence. Del Rio became friends with Kugelman, who wrote the film specifically based on him, stating "Tall, slender and glamorous, but with the mouth of a truck driver, I immediately thought that Bianca was a total movie character, and that this would be the story that I develop for my first feature." After the two had decided to pursue the venture, a crowdfunding site was set up on Indiegogo and was sponsored also by Fractured Atlas. Del Rio begun promoting the project during her shows, encouraging fans to donate to the project. Other methods of funding included Del Rio making personalised videos to contributors, in a video series named "Bianca Hates You". As Del Rio is an insult comic by trait, those who donated high amounts of money received these videos, as a lot of fans enjoyed being verbally attacked by Del Rio.
After being cast and ultimately winning RuPaul's Drag Race, Del Rio was elevated to international fame. He also received a cash prize of $100,000 which solidified the making of Hurricane Bianca.
Kugelman and Del Rio enlisted various known names for the movie following Del Rio's appearance on RuPaul's Drag Race. Actor and Drag Race season 4 contestant Willam Belli was first announced to be joining the cast via a YouTube video, playing Del Rio's on-screen best friend Bailey. Other Drag Race contestants announced to be on the show via Del Rio's social media was fellow season 6 cast member Joslyn Fox, season 3 cast member Shangela Laquifa Wadley and season 5 cast member Alyssa Edwards.
Filming lasted for just over 3 weeks during mid July and August, according to Del Rio's website. It was filmed in Garland, Texas at Garland High School. Behind the scenes footage posted on social media from some of the actors involved showed a scene at a roller rink and a school. After filming had commenced, Kugelman released footage online of Del Rio's 40th birthday roast. The almost 2 hour show was put on sale for $14.99 and was used to help fund the post production of Hurricane Bianca.
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