John Cameron Mitchell spent seven years with the character of Hedwig, playing her off Broadway to great acclaim and then starring and directing the film adaptation.
Mitchell’s connection to the character is evident in an interview with PopMatters,
where he discusses his and Hedwig’s struggle with identity, “I certainly wanted Hedwig’s world to be one where identification and categories are fluid, changing, and confusing, as they are, really, in life. You know, coming out as a gay man, it was very much about finding my own identity and dealing with labeling. I quickly found that I didn’t really fit into ‘gay culture,’ as identified by many gay people, and that it can be just as confining as straight culture […] Hedwig compares herself to the Wall, being ‘between’ things, you know, but she’s also a bridge. One of Stephen’s [Trask] lyrics is, ‘There’s not much difference between a bridge and a wall.’ You can step on either, to cross, but they also divide. Hedwig can’t go into any of the social structures that exist for comfort, and she’s completely on her own, while also realizing that she doesn’t want to be alone.”