Although Heather Graham’s character in My Dead Boyfriend has a wicked sense of humor, she’s questionably nonchalant when her boyfriend (John Corbett) dies. As he lays there, dead in her living room, she pulls out a cigarette from inside his shirt, flirts with the on-the-scene cop, and is on to the next guy in no time. By no means is she devastated — it’s just another bad day. Graham, 46, recognizes that there’s a huge cultural shift happening, a shift where women are no longer dependent on men. Clearly, her character Mary wasn't dependent on this boyfriend, either. However, seeing as how this movie takes place in 1999, Mary is more than ready to be a modern woman in 2016.
As Graham puts it, settling down is “not the be–all and end–all” — contrary of what American culture has taught women for years. “If you go back to little girls reading fairy tales, like, ‘Oh, you’re gonna meet Prince Charming and be so happy,’ boys don’t really get that sort of thing,” says the actor. “But now I feel like women are looking at things differently, and it’s not like the minute you get a guy, you marry him, you’re now happy for the rest of your life.” Especially when your boyfriend is dead.
“You can’t just look at it like, ‘This is it.’ Women are finally getting smart about it, and saying, ‘I’m good on my own. I don’t need to be with someone for my life to have meaning,’” Graham says. Mary, who hops from man to man, isn’t quite alone, but is unapologetic about living a bachelorette lifestyle. “It used to be like, if a guy was a bachelor then that’s so great, lucky him. If a woman wasn’t with someone, it was like, poor her,” says Graham.
But understandably, Mary just wants love. Because who doesn’t? “Of course, if you can be in love and so happy, that’s amazing, and I’m sure everyone wants that in certain ways,” Graham explains. “But in the other way, it’s much better to be alone than in a bad relationship.” From dead boyfriends to surprising new ones, Mary learns about herself along the way, which is the most important relationship of all. “Women are strong, we’re wise… It really has to do a lot with how you feel about yourself,” Graham says.
Graham is a firm believer that Mary’s pastimes — from shamelessly flirting to “temp boyfriends” — is nothing women should be ashamed about. “I think flirting is fun, it’s harmless… It’s just enjoying people in a certain sense, too,” she says. And like Mary, the “temp boyfriend” is something she’s totally game for. “Some people you’re dating, you’re like, ‘This probably isn’t gonna last for a while, but he might be fun to hang out with a little bit,’” says Graham. And if you’re thinking like Mary, it’s a top-notch ticket for a free meal.
Graham, who’s supportive of Mary and her real-life friends (who she says go on as many as three dates a week), will high five any female serial dater she encounters. Regardless of finding dead boyfriends in your apartment, the bachelorette lifestyle isn’t too shabby after all.
My Dead Boyfriend is in select theaters and on demand/digital HD now.
Images: Momentum Pictures, Orion Releasing (3)