The most stimulating thing about camp cinema is the ambiguity of intention: It's practically a game to figure out how aware the participants were in the creation of something so bad that it's good. Things can look so ridiculous that you'd assume any actors/directors/producers involved would have to realize it, and yet their perseverance in and clear commitment to an inevitable bomb suggests a glorious lack of awareness.
And so, it is with disappointment that we read what Gina Gershon told The Daily Beast about her participation in the camp classic Showgirls, which she quickly learned was crap during filming:
She said she auditioned for Showgirls-which she thought would be more serious, like director Paul Verhoeven's Dutch films, a modern-day retelling of All About Eve set in Las Vegas-for three months straight. She wore extra makeup in all of her meetings and lied that she was older to convince the studio she could handle the part of a weathered, diva bitch. When she got to the set, she realized she was making a different movie from the serious drama she had imagined. "I was hanging up by a rope looking down, going, Oh, my God, I've studied the classics. I want to do Greek theater. I want to do Chekov. What the fuck am I doing here?!"
Even though "I thought I was doing a Wagner concert" and "realized this is going to be a Britney Spears show," she said she had to make the best out of the situation. "I just thought, I'm going to camp it up and have a good time and still be good."
If Gershon's not just saving face and her words are true, Showgirls becomes slightly less fascinating (even if the movie will forever crush). I had always assumed that the movie was an out of control force that its participants viewed as serious cinema, so it stings a little bit to understand its absurdity as something that wasn't entirely accidental. The snickers that Nomi's reference to "Versayce" elicits onscreen are even more knowing than previously thought.