John Cameron Mitchell Boards Sook-Yin Lee's 'Paying for It' Film as Executive Producer

It's a live-action adaptation of Chester Brown's best-selling graphic novel

Photo: Gayle Ye

BY Megan LaPierrePublished May 31, 2024

Tony Award-winning queer cinema icon John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Shortbus, Rabbit Hole) has signed on as the executive producer of Sook-Yin Lee's Paying for It — a film adaptation of her ex-boyfriend Chester Brown's best-selling graphic novel of the same title.

Lee is directing the movie, co-written with Joanne Sarazen, as was announced back in 2022. The cinematic work of auto-fiction adapting the Canadian cartoonist's "comic-strip memoir about being a john" is now in post-production and preparing for the festival circuit [via BroadwayWorld].

Paying for It stars Daniel Beirne (Priscilla, Twentieth Century), Emily Lê (Riceboy Sleeps) and Andrea Werhun (Modern Whore, Thriving: A Dissociative Reverie). The official synopsis is as follows:

In the late '90s, Chester and Sonny are a long-term, committed, romantic couple. When Sonny wants to redefine their relationship, Chester, a painfully introverted cartoonist, starts sleeping with sex workers and discovers a new kind of intimacy in the process.

Paying for It is an intelligent and affecting work about love, sex and non-monogamy for adults. The film is an adaptation through a female gaze. Lee pushes perceptions around consensual sex work, allowing sex-worker perspectives to shine through.

This fall, the graphic novel will be re-issued in a new paperback edition from Drawn & Quarterly — featuring a new cover by Brown inspired by the film adaptation and an introduction written by Lee, as well as movie stills, behind-the-scenes photographs, expanded notes, and artwork that Brown created for the production.

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