Born into one of California’s best-known political families, Sascha Rice had a lot of expectations heaped on her from a young age. Her famous grandfather, former Governor of California Edmund “Pat” Brown, thought she would follow in the public service footsteps of his and Rice’s uncle, Jerry Brown, also former governor of California and current mayor of Oakland. In addition to the male public servants, Rice’s mother, Kathleen Brown, served as Treasurer of California in the early 1990’s and was the Democratic candidate for governor in 1994. Following some extensive travel and various educational stints across the country, Rice decided to forego political service in favor of a career in theater and film.
However, after working on various projects run by other people, Rice decided to do a film version of a play, Bermuda Triangles: the Non-Monogamy Experiment, by Sarah Brown (no relation to Rice’s Browns). Based on the experiences of the two women in the San Francisco gay community, Rice and Brown co-wrote the screenplay for the movie, re-titled as Mango Kiss. The film explores what happens when two best friends, Lou (played by Michelle Wolff) and Sassafras (Danièle Ferraro), become lovers, then non-monogamous lovers (with restrictions). Rice co-produced the film with her husband Joe Mellis and Eric O’Malley, and directed it while in her second trimester of pregnancy with their son Chazen, who is now three.
The G&LR recently sat down with Rice in her native home town of Los Angeles to discuss the trials and tribulations of a married mom making a lesbian-themed film for her debut feature.