Writer-director Lena Dunham has wrapped the indie movie Sharp Stick, which was shot in secret in Los Angeles, and marks the filmmaker’s first new feature in over a decade.
Plot details are being kept under wraps for now, but Dunham stars alongside Kristine Froseth (The Assistant) and Taylour Paige (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), as well as Jon Bernthal, Scott Speedman and Jennifer Jason Leigh.
Dunham produced the film under her Good Thing Going banner along with Kevin Turen, Katia Washington and Michael Cohen. FilmNation financed Sharp Stick, and the company’s Glen Basner and Ben Browning served as executive producers alongside Kenneth Yu and Will Greenfield, as well as Bernthal and Paige. Harrison Kreiss served as co-executive producer, and Good Thing Going’s Soham Joglekar served as associate producer.
Girls creator and star Dunham put women in charge of nearly every department on the modest indie production, which was shot in compliance with Los Angeles County’s COVID-19 safety protocols. The film will now screen for potential buyers at the Berlin International Film Festival, where the European Film Market is currently underway.
“I made my last feature film 11 years ago in my family home with just a few close friends. It’s a testament to FilmNation and my incredible producers, cast, crew and – especially – my COVID-19 compliance team that this experience felt just as intimate and creatively free,” Dunham told Variety, which broke the news on Tuesday. “This story is incredibly personal to me and a continuation of my career-long mission to create a free dialogue around the complexities of female sexuality and to turn the idea of the ‘likable’ female protagonist on its head — and you can’t do that in this business on any scale larger than your mother’s living room without forward-thinking partners. I feel very lucky.”
While Dunham bid farewell to her HBO series Girls in April 2017, she has remained loyal to the network, having served as a writer, director and producer on shows such as Camping, Industry and the upcoming HBO Max series Genera+ion, on which she serves as an executive producer. She also appeared in Quentin Tarantino‘s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, in which she played a member of the Manson Family.
Dunham made her directorial debut with the charming 2010 indie Tiny Furniture, and while Sharp Stick serves as her follow-up, she has already moved on to her next feature, the medieval coming-of-age comedy Catherine Called Birdy, which is being produced by UK powerhouse Working Title.
I’m a huge fan of Dunham‘s work, and though I think it’s a bit unfair to call her “the voice of a generation” or put that kind of pressure on her, I do think she’s an artist with something unique to say, and you can’t argue with her eye for talent. After all, Girls gave us Adam Driver (Marriage Story), Allison Williams (Get Out), Zosia Mamet (The Flight Attendant), Andrew Rannells (The Prom) and so many other interesting young stars that we really need to put some respect on Dunham‘s name despite her occasional misstep in the media — something that’s bound to happen when everyone’s asking you to comment on the various issues of the day.