“But at the same time,” she continued, “there were a lot of people I felt that had pigeonholed me into this idea of what they thought I was. They were calling me an activist without any prior knowledge of me other than this piece, because I’m a transgender person who had spoken on something.”
So while the appearance got her noticed, it was a very specific sort of notice, at least at first. In those early meetings with production companies, Harrison was brimming with pitches like, say, the one for a show about a dog and its dysfunctional, codependent relationship with the little bird that lives in his rectum. (“I gave them my gold ideas,” she said.) But all they were interested in were “stories about trans girls coming out and getting rejected by their families,” she said, or having her come on shows to talk about the difference between being gay and trans.
All of which made “Together Together” that much more special. Here was a story about a clearly cisgender woman — the plot revolves around her character’s pregnancy, after all — in which the relationship between the younger woman and the older man is much more nuanced than one sees in a lot of rom-coms. Not as much will-they-or-won’t-they, and more: Where does all this lead, if anywhere?
“It really takes a lot of humility to engage in a story like this, and Patti is very humble, and always authentic,” Helms said. “But then she’s also one of the funniest human beings on Earth.”
The film came at a time when Harrison was at a crossroads in her life. “I didn’t know if I was going to go into acting more, or kind of lean into TV writing or comedy,” she said. “And I was processing a lot of feelings about my self-esteem, and body dysmorphia. But then I got the script, and it was very delicate and positive and sincere, which is the opposite of what I normally do in my comedy stuff.”
Beckwith, the director, had spotted Harrison performing on a late night show and realized she had found her Anna. Harrison had an “amazing, salty, a little spiky, humor and way about her,” Beckwith said, that went hand in hand with her vision of Anna as “warm, like Patti, but not a totally open book.”