John Cameron Mitchell

John Cameron Mitchell (born April 21, 1963) is an American actor, playwright, screenwriter, and director. Best known as the writer, director and star of the 2001 film Hedwig and the Angry Inch, in 2022 they portrayed the role of Joe Exotic in the Peacock limited series Joe vs. Carole.

John Cameron Mitchell
John Cameron Mitchell.jpg
Mitchell in October 2004
Born (1963-04-21) April 21, 1963 (age 59)
El Paso, Texas, U.S.
OccupationActor, playwright, screenwriter, film director
Years active1983–present

Early yearsEdit

Mitchell was born in El Paso, Texas and was raised on a variety of military bases in Kansas, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Germany. Their father, John Henderson Mitchell, was a U.S. Army major general and the U.S. Commander of West Berlin from 1984 to 1988. Their mother, Joan Cameron Mitchell, a native of Glasgow, Scotland, immigrated to the United States at a young age to become an art teacher. They had an older brother who died at birth and three younger brothers: Christopher Lloyd, Colin Mackenzie, and Samuel Latham, the last of whom died in 1977 when Mitchell was in eighth grade.[1] They were raised devoutly Roman Catholic and they attended Catholic schools in both Scotland and the U.S., including St. Xavier High School in Junction City, Kansas, and St. Pius X High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, graduating from the latter in 1981. Mitchell's first stage role was as the Virgin Mary in a Nativity musical staged at a Scottish Benedictine boys' boarding school when Mitchell was 11-years-old. They studied theater at Northwestern University from 1981 to 1985, but did not graduate.[2]

CareerEdit

Mitchell's first professional stage role was Huckleberry Finn in a 1985 Organic Theater adaptation at Chicago's Goodman Theatre.[3] Their first New York acting role was Huck Finn in the Broadway musical Big River (1985). They originated the role of Dickon on Broadway in The Secret Garden, and appeared in the original cast of the off-Broadway musical Hello Again. They received Drama Desk nominations for both roles, and can be heard on the original cast recordings for each.[4]

They appeared in the original cast of John Guare's Six Degrees of Separation (both off- and on-Broadway), and starred in Larry Kramer's off-Broadway sequel to The Normal Heart, The Destiny of Me, for which they received an Obie Award[5] and a Drama Desk nomination.[6]

Mitchell's early television work includes guest-starring roles in Daybreak, MacGyver, Head of the Class, Law & Order, The New Twilight Zone, Freddy's Nightmares, The Equalizer, Our House, The Dreamer of Oz: The L. Frank Baum Story, and The Stepford Children. They were a regular cast member on the 1996 Fox sitcom Party Girl, and was the long-running voice of Sydney, the animated kangaroo mascot of Dunkaroos snack cookies.[citation needed]

Starring and co-starring film roles include a homicidal new waver in Band of the Hand (1986), a Polish immigrant violinist in Misplaced (1990), and a teen Lothario poet in Book of Love (1990). Mitchell had a single line ("Delivery!") in Spike Lee's Girl Six (1996) as a man auditioning for a pornographic film. Mitchell is a founding member of the Drama Department Theater Company, for which they adapted and directed Tennessee Williams' Kingdom of Earth starring Cynthia Nixon and Peter Sarsgaard.[7]

Hedwig and the Angry InchEdit

In 1998, Mitchell wrote (along with composer Stephen Trask) and starred in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, an Obie Award-winning off-Broadway rock musical about a genderqueer East German rock musician chasing after an ex-lover who plagiarized her songs.[4]

Three years later, they directed and starred in the feature-film version of the play, for which they won Best Director at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival. Mitchell’s performance was nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy. Both the play and the film were critical hits and have spawned cult followings around the world.[8][9]

The 2014 Broadway production of Hedwig starred Neil Patrick Harris and Lena Hall, was directed by Michael Mayer, and won four Tony Awards, including Best Actor in a Musical (Harris), Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Hall), and Best Revival of a Musical. Mitchell reprised their performance in the role of Hedwig on Broadway for a limited run in early 2015, opposite Lena Hall as Yitzhak. They received a 2015 Special Tony Award for their return to the role.[10]

ShortbusEdit

After the success of Hedwig, Mitchell expressed an interest in writing, directing, and producing a film that incorporated explicit sex in a naturalistic and thoughtful way, without using "stars".[11] After three years of talent searches, improvisation workshops, and production, Shortbus premiered in May 2006 at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. The film garnered many awards,[12] at venues such as the Athens, Gijon, and Zurich International Film Festivals.

Rabbit HoleEdit

They directed the 2010 film Rabbit Hole, starring Nicole Kidman (in an Oscar-nominated performance) and Aaron Eckhart, adapted from David Lindsay-Abaire's Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name about a couple dealing with the loss of their four-year-old son. Mitchell became interested in directing the project out of a personal connection to the story, having dealt with the death of their four-year-old brother as a teenager.[13] The film debuted at the Toronto Film Festival.

Other workEdit

Mitchell was the executive producer of the 2004 film Tarnation, a documentary about the life of Jonathan Caouette, whom they met when the latter auditioned for Shortbus. Tarnation won 2004 Best Documentary from the National Society of Film Critics, the Independent Spirit Awards and the Gotham Awards. They directed videos for Bright Eyes' "First Day of My Life" (featuring Secret Garden co-star Alison Fraser)[14] and the Scissor Sisters' "Filthy/Gorgeous";[15] the latter was banned from MTV Europe for its explicitly sexual content.[16] In 2012, Mitchell wrote and produced a narrative short film for Sigur Rós titled "Seraph", directed by animator Dash Shaw (link to film:[17]).

Mitchell has appeared as a pundit on Politically Incorrect and various VH1 and Independent Film Channel programs. They introduced films on a show called Escape From Hollywood on IFC for two years. They wrote and directed a number of short films and commercials for Dior including Lady Grey London and L.A.dy Dior both starring Marion Cotillard and Dior Homme Sport, starring Jude Law. In 2013, they wrote and directed a fashion video for Agent Provocateur entitled "Insurrection".[18]

In 2016, Mitchell appeared on Amanda Palmer and Jherek Bischoff's tribute album to late musician David Bowie, Amanda Palmer and Jherek Bischoff: Strung Out In Heaven (A David Bowie Tribute).They contributed vocals to English and German covers of Bowie's song, Heroes.[19]

They appeared as a recurring character, e-book editor David Pressler-Goings, on the 2013 and 2014 seasons of HBO series Girls, and as Andy Warhol in the 2016 season of HBO's Vinyl. Mitchell appeared in the 2016 documentary Danny Says alongside Danny Fields, Alice Cooper and Iggy Pop. They have recurred as a character based on Milo Yiannopoulos on CBS All Access's The Good Fight opposite Christine Baranski and as the character of Egon in Season 4 of Amazon Studios' Mozart in the Jungle opposite Gael García Bernal. In 2014, they directed an unaired pilot of Showtime series Happyish starring Philip Seymour Hoffman in his last role. John's film How to Talk to Girls at Parties, a screen adaptation of Neil Gaiman's punk-era short story of the same title starring Elle Fanning, Alex Sharp, and Nicole Kidman was released by A24 in spring 2018.[20] They directed (with co-director Mark A. Burkley) Netflix's GLOW Season 2 episode "Mother of All Matches" which was deemed Number One of "The best TV episodes of 2018" by Entertainment Weekly.[21]

They are a series cast member in Hulu's Shrill, which stars Aidy Bryant and is based on Lindy West's memoir of the same title. They have recently toured The Origin of Love: The Songs and Stories of Hedwig featuring the songs of Stephen Trask and in 2019 released their latest musical, co-written with Bryan Weller, as a fictional podcast series entitled Anthem: Homunculus starring himself, Glenn Close, Patti Lupone, Cynthia Erivo, Denis O'Hare, Nakhane, Laurie Anderson, Alan Mandell, Marion Cotillard, Ben Foster, and Madeline Brewer presented by the Luminary Podcast Network.[22] They are a regular cast member on the podcast The Orbiting Human Circus (of the Air), which is published by Night Vale Presents.[23] In 2019, John and Portland band Eyelids recorded Turning Time Around, an album of Lou Reed covers produced by REM's Peter Buck and released by Jealous Butcher Records as a benefit for Mitchell's mother's Alzheimer's care.

Their "distance-defying, community-built benefit album" New American Dream was released September 4, 2020 including collaborations with Ezra Furman, Alynda Segarra of Hurray for the Riff Raff, Stephen Trask, Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu, Wynton Marsalis, Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon, Catherine Russell and Leland benefitting a COVID food bank, a trans justice group and the Dr. MLK Scholarship Trust Fund.[24]

In 2022, they played Joe Exotic in Peacock's streaming series adaptation of the Wondery podcast series Joe vs. Carole. John cowrote and sang a song from the point of view of the character, "Call Me Joe," featuring Nat Wolff as Joe's husband Travis Maldonado.

Personal lifeEdit

In 1985, at the age of 22, Mitchell came out as gay to their family and friends.[4] They came out publicly in a 1992 New York Times profile.[3] Their subsequent writing has often explored sexuality and gender. They are a Radical Faerie. Mitchell's experiences with the group influenced the making of Shortbus.[25] Along with Shortbus stars PJ DeBoy and Paul Dawson and performance artists Amber Martin and Angela Di Carlo, they are a co-founder and DJ of the long-running New York City monthly party "Mattachine," named after the early American gay rights organization Mattachine Society.[26] In 2022, they came out as non-binary.[27]

Mitchell currently lives in Manhattan.[28]

FilmographyEdit

As directorEdit

Year Title Notes
2001 Hedwig and the Angry Inch
2006 Shortbus
2010 Rabbit Hole
2011 Lady Grey London Short film
2011 L.A.dy Dior Short film
2013 Nurse Jackie Episode: "Luck of the Drawing"
2013 Insurrection Short film
2015 Happyish Unaired Pilot
2017 How to Talk to Girls at Parties
2018 GLOW Episode: "Mother of All Matches"; Co-director with Mark A. Burkley

As actorEdit

Year Title Roles Notes
1984 American Playhouse Calvin Fitch Episode: "The Roommate"
1986 The Equalizer Ed Donahue Episode: "Unpunished Crimes"
1986 Band of the Hand J.L.
1986 The Twilight Zone Tom Episode: "A Day in Beaumont/The Last Defender of Camelot" (segment "The Last Defender of Camelot")
1986 One More Saturday Night Teenager #2
1986 ABC Afterschool Specials Friend at bus stop Episode: "A Desperate Exit"
1987 The Stepford Children Kenny TV film
1987 MacGyver Aaron Episode: "Hell Week"
1987–1990 Head of the Class Manfred Episodes: "That'll Be the Day" and "From Hair to Eternity: Part 2"
1988 Higher Education Student #1 (as John Mitchell)
1988 Our House Willie Gillis Episode: "Out of Step"
1988 A Friendship in Vienna Tommi Lowberg TV Film
1988 Freddy's Nightmares Bryan Ross Episode: "It's a Miserable Life"
1989 No Holds Barred Man in Audience (uncredited)
1989 Misplaced Jacek
1990 Book of Love Floyd
1990 The Dreamer of Oz: The L. Frank Baum Story Albert the Reporter TV Film
1990 Teach 109 1st Android TV Short
1990 Daybreak Lennie TV Film
1993 Class of '96 Horace Episode: "See You in September"
1993 Law & Order Eddie Episode: "Pride"
1995 Girl 6 Rob
1996 Party Girl Derrick 4 episodes
1996 David Searching Man with Fruit
1997 Nothing Sacred Matt Evans Episode: "Speaking in Tongues"
1999 I Remember Joe Short film
2001 Hedwig and the Angry Inch Hedwig
2006 Shortbus Sextra (uncredited)
2013–2014 Girls David Pressler-Goings 5 episodes
2016 Vinyl Andy Warhol 3 episodes
2016 My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea Brent Daniels Voice role in animated feature
2017–2020 The Good Fight Felix Staples 4 episodes
2018 Mozart in the Jungle Egon 4 episodes
2018–present The Orbiting Human Circus (of the Air) John Cameron Voice role - fictional podcast series
2019–2021 Shrill Gabe 22 episodes
2019–Present Anthem: Homunculus Ceann Mackay Voice role - fictional podcast series
2021 Santa Inc. Dr. Almonds TV Series
Hot White Heist Orlov Podcast Series
2022 Joe vs. Carole Joe Exotic Limited series[29]
2022 The Sandman 11 episodes

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Moore, John (June 23, 2010). ""Hedwig" creator's parents are tearing down a wall". The Denver Post. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
  2. ^ "Mitchell, John Cameron (b. 1963)". GLBTQ. Archived from the original on April 18, 2007. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  3. ^ a b Weber, Bruce (November 4, 1992). "A Minimalist Actor Now Warms to Excess". The New York Times. Retrieved April 6, 2009.
  4. ^ a b c "John Cameron Mitchell profile". glbtq.com. May 5, 2005. Archived from the original on April 18, 2007. Retrieved May 27, 2007.
  5. ^ Berson, Misha (August 3, 2001). "Man behind Hedwig captures her on film". The Seattle Times. Retrieved May 27, 2007.
  6. ^ Parks, Louis B. (August 2, 2001). "Give him an 'Inch,' and he'll take it". The Houston Chronicle. Retrieved May 27, 2007.
  7. ^ Brantley, Ben (June 26, 1996). "Redeeming A Williams Washout". The New York Times. Retrieved February 18, 2012.
  8. ^ Blackwelder, Rob (June 21, 2001). "'Hedwig'-ing Out". Spliced Wire. Archived from the original on March 30, 2007. Retrieved May 27, 2007.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  9. ^ "John Cameron Mitchell News". Topix.net. Retrieved May 27, 2007.
  10. ^ Mark Maron interview with Mitchell here.
  11. ^ Brooks, Brian (October 1, 2006). "indieWIRE INTERVIEW: John Cameron Mitchell, director of "Shortbus"". IndieWire. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
  12. ^ Shortbus - IMDb, retrieved March 13, 2020
  13. ^ Cassie Carpenter. ""Rabbit Hole" director inspired by personal tragedies". U.S. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
  14. ^ "John Cameron Mitchell at Outside the Margins". Xtra. October 7, 2008. Retrieved April 4, 2021.
  15. ^ Harrington, Richard (January 7, 2005). "Scissor Sisters: On the Kutting Edge". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 4, 2021.
  16. ^ Durbin, Jonathan.What Is a Scissor Sister? PAPER Magazine. April 4, 2005.
  17. ^ "Seraph". YouTube. January 16, 2013. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved April 4, 2021.
  18. ^ "Agent Provocateur Models Rebel, Strip Down to Lingerie in Protest". AdRants. September 16, 2013. Retrieved April 4, 2021.
  19. ^ "Here Is Amanda Palmer's David Bowie Memorial Cover EP, Feat. John Cameron Mitchell and Anna Calvi". Flavorwire. February 4, 2016. Retrieved May 22, 2016.
  20. ^ "John Cameron Mitchell Talks Animated 'The Ruined Cast' & Upcoming Neil Gaiman Adaptation". indieWIRE. December 10, 2010. Archived from the original on December 15, 2010. Retrieved April 4, 2021.
  21. ^ "the 10 Best TV Episodes of 2018". Entertainment Weekly. December 7, 2018. Retrieved April 4, 2021.
  22. ^ "The Anthem: Homunculus Listening Party". Tribeza. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  23. ^ "The Orbiting Human Circus - Team". WNYC Studios. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  24. ^ Male, Andrew (September 6, 2020). "Hedwig eats Trump: John Cameron Mitchell on his 'musical orgy' about Donald's America". The Guardian. Retrieved September 6, 2021.
  25. ^ Dubowski, Sandi (Fall 2006). "Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret". Filmmaker. Archived from the original on March 4, 2012. Retrieved March 26, 2010.{{cite magazine}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  26. ^ Murphy, Tim (Fall 2010). "Tinseltown Can Wait; the Village Cannot". New York Times. Retrieved January 5, 2012.
  27. ^ "Actor John Cameron Mitchell casually comes out as nonbinary".
  28. ^ Epstein, Warren (February 4, 2001). "Springs has surprisingly strong link to Sundance". The Gazette. Archived from the original on March 7, 2010. Retrieved May 27, 2007.
  29. ^ Otterson, Joe (June 24, 2021). "'Joe Exotic' Peacock Series Casts Dean Winters as Jeff Lowe". Variety. Retrieved June 24, 2021.

External linksEdit