Of the plethora of excellent documentaries to come out in 2016, one of the most fascinating to watch is “Author: The JT Leroy Story.” Directed by Jeff Feuerzeig, it chronicles the rise and fall of literary sensation JT Leroy whose rough and tumble childhood crafted him into a writer of such books as “Sarah” and “The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things,” the latter of which was adapted into a film by Asia Argento. However, it was eventually revealed that JT Leroy did not in fact exist and was actually an avatar for former phone sex worker turned housewife, Laura Albert. Following this revelation, Albert was considered a fraud and many believed she concocted nothing more than an elaborate hoax. But with this documentary, Albert seeks to set the record straight over how JT Leroy came into existence for her, and she makes it clear that what happened was in no way a hoax.
The beauty of “Author: The JT Leroy Story” is it never judges Albert for a second. The documentary simply lets her tell her side of the story which proves to be more complex than we could ever have imagined. Considering her dysfunctional childhood, it is understandable she needed an outlet of some kind to vent her pain and frustration with life, and with JT Leroy she found a way to express things she was unable to as herself.
It was a real pleasure to talk with Feuerzeig and Albert while they were in Los Angeles, and the two of them talked at length about what possessed them to take on this project and of what went into its making. Albert’s insights into her writing process were especially fascinating as she actually found herself predicting the future through her books.
Check out the interview above, and be sure to catch “Author: The JT Leroy Story” when it arrives in theaters in Los Angeles on September 9. You can also check out a trailer for the documentary below.