In honor of Academy Award and BAFTA winning actress Cloris Leachman, who passed away earlier this month at the age of 94, BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival will screen Leachman’s final starring role “Jump, Darling” in the Bodies strand. BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival runs digitally from the March 17th- 28th, 2021.
The family drama about a young LGBTQ+ man who visits his declining grandmother is written and directed by debut filmmaker Phil Connell. Jump, Darling also stars Thomas Duplessie, Linda Kash and Jayne Eastwood alongside cameos from well-known drag queens Tynomi Banks, Fay Slift and Miss Fiercealicious.
Half-prepped before a dressing room mirror in the back of a bustling city gay bar, Russell (Thomas Duplessie), an actor turned drag queen, struggling to find his voice, is given a wrenching ultimatum. Overcome by indecision, he escapes to his grandmother’s house in the country. There he finds sardonic Margaret (Cloris Leachman) in steep decline. In a perfect, if precarious solution for both of them, he moves in to protect her from her greatest fear – the local nursing home.
In no time, Russell is lighting up the local college bar with his alter ego Fishy Falters. Antagonized by his overprotective mother, a sexy-though-mysterious college boy, a cockney city gay bar owner, and the spectre of his failed-artist grandfather, Russell struggles to realize a bold new identity. Meanwhile, Margaret fights to retake control despite her faltering mind.
Phil Connell, Writer-director, Jump, Darling, said: “BFI Flare London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival is an incredibly important space for queer filmmakers to share stories from our community. To be able to celebrate Cloris and her achievements within this festival is a perfect tribute to her legacy. Cloris was an icon and an ally. To work with her, to know her, and now to share her final leading performance with the world is a true honour.”
Cloris Leachman won both an Academy Award and a BAFTA Film Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Last Picture Show and holds the record for the most Primetime Emmy acting nominations in history – 22. She is best known for her role as Phyllis on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, played to such great success that it led to her own television series spinoff, Phyllis.