Desiree Akhavan, the director of the Sundance Jury Prize-winning The Miseducation of Cameron Post, is the star of her next project, which finally has a trailer. The Bisexual follows Leila (Akhavan), a lesbian-identified woman who is coming to terms with her bisexuality after a breakup with her girlfriend and business partner, Sadie (Maxine Peake). Following the split, she moves in with a man she’s found on the internet, and the two become unlikely friends as Leila ventures into the world of dating men and struggles with her bisexual identity.
“I wanted to write the show because I hated coming out as bisexual,” Akhavan told The Guardian. “I came out as [bisexual] from the get-go, but that word always felt uncomfortable. Bisexual sounds gauche and tacky… Disingenuous. Whereas there’s only pride when I say lesbian, there’s only coolness to say queer. Bisexual didn’t feel like it represented me and I wanted to know why, when technically it very much represents who I am.”
The series, which takes place in London, will explore the complexities of self-acceptance, and how difficult that can be for bisexual women whose inner circle is mostly composed of lesbians. The introduction of a male partner to a group of lesbian friends should make for an interesting look at the prejudices within queer communities.
In going from dating women to dating men, Akhavan says the changes in social circles and public perception can be rather jarring.
“Your lifestyle is completely different, the people you hang around with are different,” she says. “When you fight so hard to be openly gay, and claim that space – then having to reverse engineer it, and notice the world change around you, and the perspective change around you, that is a real head-fuck.”
In addition to producing, writing, and directing every episode, Akhavan also stars in the show. In an interview with INTO back in August, she likened the experience to that of shooting two films in a row.
“It was very intense,” she explains. “It was a much harder process, but at the end of the day, I feel as proud of it as I have with anything else I’ve done.”
The Bisexual struggled to find backing for a few years. After being rejected by a number of production companies in Los Angeles, Akhavan found herself in a two-year period of unemployment between her first film, Appropriate Behavior, which garnered favorable reviews, and her starring role in the horror flick Creep 2, opposite Mark Duplass, a project she admits she was uncertain about but considers a learning experience.
The Bisexual will premiere in the UK on Channel 4 on October 10, followed by a U.S. premiere of two episodes at NewFest on October 29 along with an appearance by Akhavan. The six-part series will then come to Hulu in November.