Julia Sweeney's monologue God Said `Ha!' may have had a disappointingly short run on Broadway (14 previews, 22 performances at the Lyceum Theatre, Nov.-Dec. 1996), but the material continues to live on and even thrive. On May 1, Miramax Films acquired worldwide distribution rights for the film version, written and directed by Sweeney.
Now Variety reports (June 16) God Said `Ha!' has won Best Film in the 24th annual Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). Some 40,000 public ballots were received in the category -- one of the largest in SIFF's history. God Said `Ha!' beat out Children of Heaven, Above Freezing and Smoke Signals for the Golden Space Needle Award, given out June 14 at the Festival's finale, held (appropriately enough) atop Seattle, WA's famous Space Needle.
As reported by AP and confirmed by a Miramax spokesperson (May 1), Quentin Tarantino (Wait Until Dark) financed the film, which is produced by Rana Joy Glickman. No time frame has been set for the film's domestic release.
Sweeney, a former "Saturday Night Live" comedienne opened her one woman show Nov. 19, 1996. The critics mostly liked it, but slow ticket sales could not support the production.
The autobiographical show, which originated at San Francisco's Magic Theatre, Jan. 1996, deals with Sweeney's family, with her brother's illness, and with her own battle with cervical cancer. God Said `Ha!' is set in 1994, just after the completion of Sweeney's last season on "SNL" when she learns that her brother, Mike, has lymphoma. Mike soon moves into her Hollywood bungalow. A few weeks later her parents, naturally distraught, arrive with ten suitcases. The problems escalate, as does the black comedy, until matters take on a surreal tone. As if that weren't enough, Sweeney herself was then diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Sweeney launched her show business career with the Groundlings improv troupe in 1986. In 1990, she joined the cast of "Saturday Night Live," and stayed for four seasons.Later on, she had a role in Pulp Fiction, starred in her own movie, It's Pat, and has made numerous other stage, film and TV appearances.
The CD of the monologue, recorded at its pre-Broadway engagement at the Coronet Theatre in Los Angeles, was released by Warner Bros. The much expanded hardcover book version was released by Bantam Books.