Mel Poole to direct Cherry Sisters film about the world’s worst sister act
We’re thrilled to announce 18 degrees has optioned a script written by Steve Gottlieb for the can’t-believe-it’s-true story of the Cherry Sisters — blundering trailblazers of the stage who said ‘Nah’ to being told no. And they got told no a lot.
Did these performers have talent? Hard to say. But audiences thought not, pelting the American sisters with old fruit and veg—classic—during their decade-long touring show, Something Good, Something Sad.
Before “American Idol” and “Popstars”, there were The Cherry Sisters from Iowa, who started off terrible and made a fortune staying that way.
18 Degrees founder Mel Poole with helm the project following a string of awards, most recently for her short film Sock And Buskin (including audience award at the beloved St Kilda Film Festival). The script and film marries heart and humour to tell an extraordinary and highly entertaining untold story set to delight audiences. And make them squirm a bit.
The film asks the questions—What is success? What is art? If you sell out the theatre are you a success even if everyone hates it?
It’s a precursor to the delusional performers who get thrown to the wolves nightly on modern day shows like Idol, The Voice, X Factor, and Popstars. It’s so bad, it’s good and we can’t stop looking away.
And the audiences couldn’t keep away from the Cherry Sisters. Despite scathing reviews, they turned up in droves to revel in a form of collective cringe.
They didn’t take criticism on the chin, however, suing a newspaper for a—perhaps deserved—bad review. The newspaper won and established a key democratic right of the media to “fair comment”.
The sisters from Iowa had chutzpah and believed in themselves. Is that a good thing? Were they doing any harm? Are we entertained? Performing in the 1890s, their delusion helped them persist and they broke ground for other female performers’ right to strut the stage on their own terms and in roles that suit them—not merely as burlesque entertainment for the men. It’s kind of the cherry on top of this whole chaotic story.
Casting has begun and is expected to attract A-list actors from stage and screen who will be attracted to the opportunity to play these wildly complicated and determined sisters.