Under what circumstances does fiction stop being fiction and enter the realms of reality? A rudimentary question to be sure, but one brought startlingly to life by the strange events of the life of Laura Albert and her pseudonym JT LeRoy and how such an innocuous lie can snowball into something far out of the control like a wildfire that started off with just a spark.
Author : The JT LeRoy Story, explores this phenomenonal in depth warts and all case study of the strange life and times of JT LeRoy; celebrated author, The author, who was openly gender-fluid. He appeared out of nowhere in the late 1990s with his dark and grimy debut novel Sarah that were supposedly semi-autobiographical and as a result became a cult hero almost in the blink of an eye, charming people like Gus Van Sant and Courtney Love along the way. JT LeRoy was riding high and worked with Asia Argento turning his second book into a movie (The Heart is a Deceitful Thing).
In 2005 Hollywood was rocked by the news that – now pay attention – JT LeRoy didn’t exist but was in fact a creation of Laura Albert, a Brooklyn writer who had been posing as LeRoy’s British manager “Speedie” (and the physical form of JT being played out by a somewhat clueless actress friend) causing her friends and the media to turn against her.
Author:The JT LeRoy Story, gives Laura Albert the chance to tell her story from her own perspective, to defend her actions and explain how she managed to breathe life into a figment of her imagination and utterly convince the world of his existence.
As you can imagine, it’s quite the tale. Over the course of ninety minutes, Oz the great and terrible pulls back the curtain and over a series of interviews describes the birth of LeRoy and how she managed to seduce publications the world over with her tragic books leaving them all salivating at the mouth.
Spaced out throughout the movie we’re shown intensely personally snippets of Albert’s past. Most notably her childhood which tells the story of a young girl struggling to cope with bullying and obesity that bears striking similarities to her creations life. Albert manages to tell her story with such emotion and engagement she holds the audience in the palm of her hand.
What makes this documentary stand out against all others is the fact that, instead of listening to eyewitnesses or second-hand accounts, this documentary lives and dies by Laura Albert. She pulls no punches and is utterly fascinating in how brutally honest she is in her role in the biggest literary hoax in modern times.
Author: The JT LeRoy Story is on limited release now