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
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.