Alia Shawkat on Making a Sexy Film That's Not About Sex

In this episode of 'In Bed With Diana Tourjée', actress Alia Shawkat talks to us about "Duck Butter," her new film in which two women decide to have sex with each other once an hour for 24 hours.

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May 4 2018, 9:59pm

Last month, Alia Shawkat's latest film Duck Butter premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, earning her the festival's Best Actress award for her role as Naima, an anxiety-ridden actress with intimacy issues. The film follows Naima as she meets a woman named Sergio at a club. Shortly after they meet, the two decide to spend 24 hours together having sex on the hour, every hour and letting down their emotional guards.

Shawkat, who is best known for her portrayal of Maeby Fünke on Arrested Development, tells Broadly about how her own personal experiences with women's sexuality inspired both her performance in the film and its script, which she co-wrote with director Miguel Arteta. On her bed in Los Angeles, Shawkat tells Broadly's Diana Tourjee why it was important to her to create a film that centers women's sexuality apart from the male gaze, from desexualizing nudity to normalizing queer sex. Shawkat also shares some aspects of her own personal experiences that have shaped her attitude towards women's sexuality and people as a whole—like her admiration for strippers, which she credits to the fact that her parents owned a strip-club growing up.

Shawkat, who has nearly 50,000 followers on Twitter, never shies away from divulging her political thoughts on social media. We asked her why she feels compelled use her platform and identities to elevate issues that concern her, like Trump's travel ban. "A lot of the stuff that is important for me to talk about is like, I come from a Middle Eastern family... the way people view Muslims right now and Islam in general is so warped," she says. "If my audience is young women, I want to communicate to them and say 'Hey, as a Queer Arab-American woman, let's do this together'."

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