New Film ‘Lady Boss’ Charts Meteoric Rise Of Literary Legend Jackie Collins

New Film ‘Lady Boss’ Charts Meteoric Rise Of Literary Legend Jackie Collins

British director Laura Fairrie profiles Joan Collins’ younger sister, the bestselling author Jackie Collins, in Lady Boss, a fascinating new film based on never before seen content from the writer’s personal diaries, candid interviews, archival footage and extracts from her novels. The film’s team included renowned producers, Lizzie Gillett and John Battsek of the BAFTA and Oscar winning documentary Searching for Sugar Man.

After following her older sister to Hollywood, Jackie Collins left a fledgling acting career to become a hugely successful novelist. She was one of the few writers to sell more than 500 million books, with 32 New York Times best-sellers. And Jackie Collins’ novels Chances (1981), Hollywood Wives (1983) and The Santangelos (2015) have never been out of print, attracting new fans and continuing to generate debate over her self-styled brand of feminism.

Lady Boss, narrated by a cast of Collins’ closest friends and family, reveals the private struggles of a woman who became an icon of 1980s feminism while hiding her personal vulnerability behind a carefully crafted, powerful, public persona. Describing her research for the documentary, Director Laura Fairrie says “talking to Collins’ daughters I discovered a woman who faced adversity, vulnerability, tragedy as well as triumph in her life. I realised she had created an image, modelled on her own fantasy female heroines and used this persona like a suit of armour. Behind the glamorous and powerful Lady Boss was a woman whose story was relatable, universal, deeply moving and ultimately inspiring.”

The documentary interweaves interviews with Collins, her family and friends, depictions of Collins’ most famous fictional character Lucky Santangelo and audio-book recordings with an extensive, private and unseen archive amassed, by Collins throughout her life. This collection of material was discovered by Collins’ daughters after she died and includes home movie footage spanning the 1950s through to the 1990s, Collins’ diaries and unedited manuscripts of her unpublished autobiography. The film is a thorough and fascinating portrait, spanning Collins’ entire life, revealing how her childhood, a damaged relationship with her father and a lively sibling rivalry with her sister Joan, informed Collins’ particular brand of feminism and intense ambition. Ahead of her time, Collins’ first instinct for sexual freedom and empowerment was born from watching how her mother as a 1950s housewife, was trapped at home. Jackie Collins’ teenage diaries are particularly compelling, revealing an innate talent for observing the world around her, as well as a keen desire to imagine a fantasy outcome for women turning the double standard on its head.

Lady Boss, as the title suggests, shows Jackie Collins as a feminist icon rather than as a “chick lit” author or, worse still, as the “queen of sleaze.” As Laura Fairrie says these unflattering descriptions “ignore the fact that she consistently wrote female characters that unapologetically demand the careers and lives and sex that they want. Her brand of feminism was about sexual freedom and she wrote about female desire in a way that was bold and ahead of its time. Her books were risqué, they were outrageous and they turned the tables on men. In short, Collins made feminism accessible – she sold over 500 million books and empowered women to imagine a different life for themselves.”

Lady Boss had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival 2021 and aired on CNN Films on 27 June. The film launches in UK/EIRE cinemas from 2 July by Modern Films, with a special live preview event on 1 July, hosted by British broadcaster Mariella Frostrup and attended by the Collins family, including Dame Joan Collins. It will also air on BBC TWO and BBC iPlayer later this year.

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