Am I OK? Tig Notaro and Stephanie Allynne’s Directing Debut, Tale of Coming Out Late, Starring Dakota Johnson (Sundance Fest 2022)

The directorial debut of Tig Notaro and Stephanie Allynne stars Dakota Johnson as a 30-something who struggles to navigate her personal relationships after revealing she’s gay.

 

 

Dakota Johnson stars in Am I OK? the directorial debut from Notaro and wife Stephanie Allynne, 36, which is set to premiere at the Sundance Fest on January 24.

The movie, penned by The Ellen DeGeneres Show head writer Lauren Pomerantz, sees Johnson as a lost 30-something who comes out and struggles to navigate her personal relationships, especially one with her longtime best friend.

 

Tig Notaro and Stephanie Allynne

 

Coming out on film, as of late, has been reserved for young adults (see Love, Simon) or, as Allynne assesses, “There’s an obstacle that’s a religious problem or your family.”

In Am I OK? the co-directors wanted to depict a later-in-life sexual revelation and that internal aftermath — an experience with which Allynne personally identifies. “I’ve only been with Tig, and then I got cast on the reboot of The L Word: Generation Q, and I all of a sudden was thrown into this community that I was not really experiencing young,” she says. “You feel like, ‘Oh my God, all the time I spent not doing that, or not being gay, what was I doing?’”

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Tig Notaro (left) and Stephanie Allynne BRYAN BEDDER/GETTY IMAGES

Two weeks before filming began, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down production. Allynne and Notaro spent the following year in their Los Angeles home with their 5-year-old twin sons, Finn and Max, and three cats. When the city allowed filming to start up again, a pre-vaccine pandemic production start date was set for February, which came with an added layer of anxiety since Notaro is a breast cancer survivor. “I would say I felt pretty terrified, honestly,” she says of filming. “I just kept having this fear that, ‘Oh my gosh, if I get COVID, I’m screwed.’” The film’s 21-day shoot did end up having two COVID-19 shutdowns, but the exposures proved oddly assuring: “It made me understand how isolating and masks and zones and all of that worked.”

The couple never considered embarking on separate directing debuts. “We’re so fortunate we have the same taste and sensibility,” explains Allyne. “We could always return to that and let that guide us. Otherwise, I think it could really [have gone] haywire.” And a Sundance premiere marks a full-circle moment for the couple.

Notaro, who used to volunteer at the fest during the 1990s, and Allynne first met on the set of the 2013 indie In a World, which debuted at the Park City festival. “And now we’re married with kids and a production company,” says Notaro. “There’s no world where I would’ve gone into a feature without Stephanie.”