“Sex Appeal”: Margaret Cho proud of new John Hughes-style film shot in Syracuse (interview)

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When Jeremy Garelick bought the former AV Zogg Middle School in Liverpool, NY for $ 1 million in 2017, he started film production company American High with the goal of making teen comedy and reviving a genre. made popular by John Hughes.

Mission accomplished, if you ask Margaret Cho.

Cho, who stars in new US movie High “Sex Appeal,” told syracuse.com | The Post-Standard project that she was drawn to because it reminded her of “Weird Science,” Hughes’ 1985 film about two high school geeks who create the perfect woman with a computer. “Sex Appeal,” shot in the Syracuse area last year, follows a high school student (Project MC2 actress Mika Abdalla) who recruits his best friend (“ANT Farm” actor Jake Short) to practice sex as a science experiment before taking her relationship with her boyfriend to the next level at an upcoming STEM conference (aka “nerd ball”).

“I love ’80s teen comedies, and it reminded me of a kind of new take on’ Weird Science. ‘Those kinds of movies have built my whole consciousness,” Cho said. “(These) stories are important, but we do not have them from the feminine point of view and at a female perspective too, so I really enjoyed that.

Cho plays Ma Deb, one of Avery’s (Abdalla) mothers in the film, raising her alongside Fortune Feimster and Rebecca Henderson.

“I love Mika. To me, she actually looks like what my daughter would look like, and she’s such a great actress and she really played that character, ”Cho said.

Cho has worked with Feimster, another stand-up comedian, and Henderson, whom she calls “my wife on camera,” and it shows in their effortless chemistry in “Sex Appeal.” They all hilariously talk to Avery about sex and love with a seriousness that might remind “American Pie” fans of Eugene Levy as a father talking to his son (Jason Biggs).

“Sex Appeal,” a new American High movie set in Syracuse, stars (left to right) Rebecca Henderson, Margaret Cho and Fortune Feimster as Ma Kim, Ma Deb and Mama Suze, raising their teenage daughter Avery ( Mika Abdalla). Photo by: Jade Brennan / Hulu

Cho said she hopes mothers will watch the new film with their teenage or young adult daughters, although she admits the subject could be as embarrassing as it is educational.

“For me, it’s a very innocent movie. There’s a scorching side to it, but it’s a very strange thing, ”Cho explained. “I’m 53 years old, my parents still haven’t told me where the babies come from. As for them, I don’t know (for sex). How would they expect me to know these things? Growing up in the 80s, we just learned it (about it) from other kids. “

“I used to think that you could get pregnant hanging out in a wet swimsuit (or) catching STDs from a toilet seat. We had all these weird ideas about what pregnancy was, or what STIs were, what we got out of anything. Then you know AIDS came on and we had to find out what was going on. “

Cho added that it’s important to know more about her body and thinks the movie can help with some questions about sex: “I think it’s really innocent and it’s really good.”

Abdallah agrees.

“Whatever your actual experience in high school as a teenager – learning about sex, thinking about having sex, not wanting to tell your parents about it or having to turn to your peers … I think it is. something that everyone goes, “Abdalla told Pop Sugar. The movie has” our characters going through the tricky thing and showing that it’s funny, but it doesn’t have to be a taboo subject. “

Sexual appeal

Mika Abdalla stars in the new Hulu movie “Sex Appeal”, shot in Syracuse with American High. (Photo by: Brett Roedel / Hulu)

Cho said that “Sex Appeal,” filmed in early 2021, was one of his first projects since the Covid-19 pandemic shut down much of the entertainment world. As a result, she didn’t explore Syracuse much while filming.

Her long list of credits includes “30 Rock”, “The Masked Singer”, “Drop Dead Diva”, “Sex and the City”, “The Nanny”, “All-American Girl”, “Happily Ever After”, “The Rugrats Movie ”and“ Face / Off. ”A reboot / sequel was recently announced for“ Face / Off, ”John Woo’s 1997 thriller that starred Nicolas Cage and John Travolta swapping bodies through a strange science, uh ,.

“I would love to be in the reboot. I wasn’t asked,” Cho told syracuse.com | The Post-Standard.

She said she had fond memories of “Face / Off”, one of the greatest productions she’s ever been to, in addition to “Bright” by Will Smith.

“They actually blew up a plane in the movie when it opened… they had 13 different cameras to shoot and it was such a huge movie,” Cho recalls. “You have these lookalike villages. So you had two or three different people who looked like you, who were dressed like you but had perfect bodies, which is really weird.

Cho, of course, is also well known for her stand-up specials, music, and podcast “The Margaret Cho”. The booming omicron variant recently forced her to cancel some performances this month, but she said she hopes to return on stage in February.

Comedy has also been a challenge in recent years due to the rise of the so-called “cancellation culture”. Patton Oswalt, who also recently shot a movie in Syracuse, was criticized last week for posting a photo of himself with Dave Chappelle, whose comments about transgender people sparked controversy at Netflix.

Cho said the idea of ​​”canceling” anyone was really trying to “make society more equal.”

“We are looking to equalize the voices of traditionally marginalized communities and right now there are a lot of growing pains about that,” she explained. “It’s really about changing the way we think to understand that we’re just trying to make things right. And that’s all it is, really, and it’s really important too. It’s hard but I think it’s worth it.

Cho said aspiring comedians should focus on the ability to present their point of view and can find accolades in the profession.

“Even when you make fun of people you are just trying to make people laugh and make them smile and there is joy in that,” she added.

“Sex Appeal,” also starring Artemis Pebdani (“It’s always sunny in Philadelphia”) and Paris Jackson, the daughter of pop music legend Michael Jackson, is directed by Talia Osteen. Scenes were filmed in the Syracuse area last year at Syracuse Studios (the former AV Zogg Middle School), the village of Liverpool and Onondaga Lake Park.

Paris Jackson

Paris Jackson appears in a scene from “Sex Appeal”, a new American High movie shot in Syracuse. (Photo by: Brett Roedel / Hulu)

“Sex Appeal” is produced by Garelick, Will Phelps and Ryan Bennett for American High, Mark Fasano and Tobias Weymar for Nickel City, Kendrick Tan for Lit Entertainment and Michael Glassman for LD Entertainment. Tate Hanyock, who wrote the screenplay and appears in the film as a teacher, is also an executive producer.

“Sex Appeal” will be released on Hulu on January 14.

Note: The trailer contains adult content that is not suitable for young viewers.

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