Film & TV

Character Study: Lori Petty Writes a Berserk Letter to Tank Girl

Film & TV

Character Study: Lori Petty Writes a Berserk Letter to Tank Girl


Lori Petty chased her breakthrough performances as an orphan surfer in Point Break and a baseball player in A League of Their Own with a giddy portrayal of a sexually charged , post-a pocalyptic anarchist in Tank Girl, the 1995 adventure comed y about a dystopian 2033 where water is so scarce it’s worth killing for. In 2008, she co-wrote and directed The Poker House, an autobiographical story about her painful childhood starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chloë Grace Moretz. Here, Petty takes aim at an altogether different— but equally explosive— blast from the past.

How’s tricks? Blow any shit up today? Never mind. I’ ll just follow the smoke and sirens. If we’re lucky, there will be wet firemen.

Why is it that everywhere I go, you go? (I couldn’t hide from you if I tried.) Just the other week I was at Warner Bros., standing there in my panties during a costume fitting, when a young costumer walked in sporting a huge, colorful tattoo of you on her forearm. You’re a timeless little freak. Bitches who weren’t even in kindergarten in 1995 love you. But that’s no secret. When I bike down Ocean Front Walk in Venice, which is daily, they’re always mistaking me for you. It’s nice to hear, “I love you,” yelled in my direction every day from strangers. Thank you for that.

Your joy and fearless glee, your laugh, your balls-out freedom—like N.W.A before you, you saved the world and told the truth (and pissed off the popo). And you can fly. Always years ahead of these fuckos, you were (and are). Bet still can’t nobody tell you nuthin’.

While I’m directing youngsters who end up making millions (they’re young and beautiful and talented and rich as fuck, and I’m only old and beautiful and talented), other famous girls their age are getting poison shot into their lips—and foreheads and knees and elbows—before they can legally drink champagne. I’ d like to hear how many ways you could say, “Maybe you should go fuck y’self,” if someone told you to get implants in your butt.

I suppose you could have married a big movie star like Jet Girl did. Or you could have married one of your agents like several of the other ones. Meh. We’ve always been more street-smart than movie star–smart, so we’ ll just leave that to the professionals.

I remember the red roses in silver ice buckets at the Hôtel de Crillon in Paris, where we stayed on our press tour. I remember our parade led by a female motorcycle gang in Hamburg from the Louis Armstrong Suite to a basement full of flawless drag queens. How about our party in London at the infamous Roundhouse? I remember us turning down forced call times every few days so that our crew members wouldn’t die while driving home from a 24-hour workday. (And being screamed at for it.) I remember you laughing.

1995. I suggest you stay there. It’s mad funner. Just keep showing your ass and talking your nasty shit. Go get your Ph.D. in glamour and patience from the Reverend Malcolm McDowell, then cut off his head. (He’s a bad, bad man.) And your friend the prophet Ice-T is really 50 people, all of them nice. Stay alive, Tank Girl. Live to be 1,000 years old and stop wasting beer, FFS. And don’t cut any of your bits off. I miss you.

Forever yours,

Lori Petty