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Calling Their Own Shots: The Gay Filmmaker Experience

From the writer of ‘Scream’ to the creator of ‘Dawson’s Creek,’ four gay directors talk about Hollywood

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If the millions of viewers who tune in to NBC’s Will & Grace each week were to support a gay-themed movie, it would be an instant blockbuster. So what’s the glitch? Why is the comparatively cutting-edge movie biz lagging behind television in its acceptance of gay content? To find out, EW gathered four openly gay filmmakers with quite different points of view: Kevin Williamson, 35, writer of Scream and creator of the TV series Dawson’s Creek and Wasteland; Bill Condon, 43, who won the 1998 best screenplay adaptation Oscar for Gods and Monsters, which he also directed; Kimberly Peirce, 33, the director and cowriter of last year’s Oscar winner Boys Don’t Cry; and Greg Berlanti, 28, the Dawson’s Creek executive producer whose first feature, the gay buddy comedy The Broken Hearts Club, has just arrived in theaters. Let the bitching begin!

EW: First off, how do you all feel about being identified as gay filmmakers?
PEIRCE: I’m fine with it. It feels like we’re so beyond the whole gay moment. It’s not shocking anymore.
WILLIAMSON: I’m more typed as the horror guy.
BERLANTI: I’m just grateful to be identified as a filmmaker. They can identify me as a black filmmaker if they want!
CONDON: After Gods and Monsters, I got advice to do something that was very not gay, just so I wouldn’t get typed. My feeling is, it’s such a broad category: women’s films, musicals, comedies, dramas about bisexual men …

But I’d imagine the label can also be problematic.
CONDON: I was working on a movie and I was trying to cast Billy Crudup. We were so excited — finally we had somebody who was right for this part. The studio guy wouldn’t make the offer to him. I heard later that he said ”Oh, Bill just thinks he’s cute and that’s why he’s right for the part.”

This has been the summer of African-American crossover movies, with Big Momma’s House, Scary Movie, The Original Kings of Comedy … Are we ever going to be talking about the big gay crossover summer?
PEIRCE: It’s a process of erosion — the more people get familiar with gay images, the more we’re going to cross over. They’re not freaking out anymore.
BERLANTI: But audiences have to speak up first. There’s still a reason why gay films aren’t playing in the malls. Until they do, it’s still going to be difficult to make films with gay subject matter.