Gay mobsters' tale kicks old cliches out of the closet
Age: 41Birthplace:Brooklyn, N.Y. Repped by:“No one. I really don’t know too much about it.” The film that changed his life:“Annie Hall” Worst advice/studio note ever received:“Audiences today aren’t interested in screwball comedies with multiple plot strands.” What would Tony Soprano think of a film that’s described as a high-concept cross between “La Cage aux Folles” and “The Sopranos?” Not only does Joseph Triebwasser’s clever film “Friends and Family” manage to marry the gay and mob genres, it also emerged as popular title in fests all over the world including New York, Los Angeles, and Hamburg, Germany, last year. Triebwasser’s comedy adds a new wrinkle on the tried and true coming-out formula; here, one half of a charming, handsome male couple in NYC must reveal to his nice Midwestern parents that he and his perfect partner are contract killers for the mob. The idea for this knockabout farce actually stemmed from personal tragedy; a close family member was dying and Triebwasser and his boyfriend were at her side for several months in Providence, R.I. “We had lots of time on our hands so we just started talking about happier things, like movies we’d like to see,” notes the scribe, who also directed the film. But fans shouldn’t be looking for Mafia ties in Triebwasser’s own life story; the Harvard grad had a successful career as an in-patient psychiatrist at McLean Hospital (“It’s actually the hospital from ‘Girl, Interrupted'” in suburban Boston, he points out.) “Having worked in movies now for a little while,” he adds, “all I can say is that I miss the relative sanity of working with the severely mentally ill.” While “Friends and Family” looks for a distributor, Triebwasser’s working on a dramatic play called “Patients” about his experiences as a doctor.