Marley Morrison’s Baby Gravy was born out of a conversation she had with a friend about the process of same-sex couples becoming parents. It’s a wonderful short with some genuinely hilarious moments and, more-so, it feels fresh. These are stories we need more of and with filmmakers like Marley Morrison helming them, we’re in good stead. I spoke with Marley about Baby Gravy after it became available on Peccadillo Pictures’ Girls On Film 3: Goddesses shorts film collection.
What’s the genesis of Baby Gravy?
Baby Gravy was born out of my own research into becoming a parent. As somebody in a same-sex relationship I am always asked “How are you going to have children?” and this film came out of my of desire to learn more about how me and my partner would become parents. I had a friend that was going through the process and she helped me to understand both the tragedy and humour that same-sex couples go through to conceive a child. I hope the film sparks conversations on same sex parenting and helps to increase the visibility of lesbian narratives.
What was it like working with Jade Anouka and Sophia Di Martino to create their characters?
It was an absolute pleasure working with Sophia and Jade, they are both incredibly talented and I could not have wished for a better cast. They each brought their own experiences to the role and through rehearsals and improvisations we crafted Alex and Brona collectively. I like to work with the actors and mould the characters through improvisation. The important thing for me is that they both understood the enormity of the situation in the film but believed the truth that these characters were in love and that was stronger than anything they may go through. We also worked hard to find the moments of comedy in the script, as I found when researching the taboo nature of the situation lends itself to moments of laughter as well as frustration and above all, hope.
Visually, Baby Gravy really pops – the colours are saturated and it feels almost how Sophia’s character is seeing the world at that point, as she’s so conscious of how the potential sperm donor will see them. Could you talk about how you created the aesthetic of Baby Gravy?
That’s a great point, yes, it is all about how Sophia’s character Brona is seeing the world at this time. She is extremely conscious of how she is perceived right up until the last shot of the film. The idea was to create an almost ‘family’ home like aesthetic with soft pinks and florals. I also wanted to play with the idea of isolation and a middle of nowhere kind of setting to express the private nature of the act as well as Brona’s mental state being unsettled and almost in between two places. The motorway pub served as a great setting for that.
LGBTQ cinema is still deemed as niche and many stories of queer culture and queer lives are not given the platform needed to exist, specifically lesbian and trans stories.
Baby Gravy is included on the latest Girls on Film, a selection of shorts specifically highlighting queer women. What are your thoughts on the state of queer cinema at the moment? And, more broadly, what mainstream cinema can be doing at the moment to better represent LGBTQ people?
I think there are some great queer films coming out over the past couple of years and they seem to be crossing into the mainstream much more, films like Moonlight and Love Simon have been great in raising the profile of LGBT centred narratives and proving that the mainstream audience do embrace queer stories. The Wound, Gods Own Country, Call Me By Your Name are all brilliant films, however, I do still see a reluctance to embrace lesbian-centred stories in the same way as male-lead stories.
I think in some cases LGBTQ cinema is still deemed as niche and many stories of queer culture and queer lives are not given the platform needed to exist, specifically lesbian and trans stories. I think the time is now to embrace the spectrum of gender identity and sexuality and give space for LGBTQ films to exist alongside mainstream films. In this ever-changing and evolving world it is important to represent all people and we are all responsible for increasing the visibility of LGBTQ+ people to ensure the next generation has a place to see themselves, regardless of who they are and how they identify.
And finally, are you working on any new films presently?
I am currently developing my first feature film Violets are Blue as part of Film London’s Microwave scheme, supported by the BFI and BBC films. It is a romantic drama about a trans-man who falls in love with an older woman. Aside from that I am developing a six-part TV series for Baby Gravy and working on ways to increase lesbian and trans representation on our screens.
Baby Gravy is part of Peccadillo Pictures’ Girls on Film 3: Goddesses collection available here.