Film Q&A - Speakeasy with ... Doug Spearman
The Noah's Arc alum shakes up the genre with his first feature film, Hot Guys with Guns
Its been six years since actor Doug Spearman got all dolled up to play the role of Chance, the preppy college professor in the ground-breaking TV series Noah's Arc and the spin off feature film Jumping the Broom. While fans lamented the canceling of the show, Spearman has been busy acting, advocating and developing his own projects. His first feature film, Hot Guys with Guns about an unlikely crime busting duo has already generated healthy buzz within the film festival circuit and Spearman's production company recently inked a deal with Wolfe Releasing to distribute the film in 2014. Spearman will be in Atlanta to introduce his film as part of the Out on Film Festival Friday night at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema.
I have to ask, will there be a Noah's Arc reunion?
No, its never gonna happen.
Ok, now that that's out of the way, how does it feel to not only produce but direct and write your first feature film?
I'll be completely blunt and honest with you. It was like pushing a baby out of my dick.
... That's quite a descriptive
A lot of people have certain expectations of me based on my character (Chance) on Noah's Arc. I'm not that guy at all - not even close. I swear a lot, I have a very dry, blunt sense of humor and this film is a lot like me. The two characters Danny and Pip are not only based on people I know but represent two extreme sides of my personality. Danny is definitely my conscious and my heart, and Pip is my libido. Writing nonfiction is hard. Its stuff you've never done, but you have to put some of yourself into otherwise you can't connect.
How did you develop this story?
If you look at any TV or film poster for a detective series what you usually see is a hot guys with guns. For instance look at the poster for Two Guns with Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg - you see hot guys with guns. So I took a generic idea of something we're used to seeing and put gay people in the center of it. What I really wanted was a gay version of Moonlighting. I wanted them to act like Maddie and Dave, but have all the action of Lethal Weapon. I always say imagine Lethal Weapon if Danny Glover and Mel Gibson were ex-boyfriends. Danny and Pip ... They're totally in love with each other, but every great love story has an obstacle.
I didn't realize you directed so many commercials
I've directed over 100 commercials and I love being behind the camera - in fact, I prefer it. One of the takeaways from filming Hot Guys with Guns is I don't want to act anymore. I've been acting since I was seven. I came out of school at Indiana University and within a couple of years I landed a job in the advertising department at ABC in Washington, D.C. where I produced spots to sell the news and the station. From there I moved to CBS affiliate in Boston and then I moved to LA and got a job at an advertising agency.
In your film there is a subtext of race and class. What are you observations about the Hollywood being a black gay man in the movie business.
There's Hollywood and there's Black Hollywood, and Black Hollywood ignores the gay issue all together. They don't want be near us or talk to us. We're not invited to festivals, ... I remember when we were featured in Jet magazine, it was a big deal. I look at Hollywood, I look at the business - I don't care what color, or race or religion you are. I'm here to make movies. If you want to self segregate that's your business, but I want a seat at the table with the big boys
With the implosion the big budget films are having this year this is in your favor
Absolutely. What we have now is a world where distribution channels have changed because everybody and their mother has a movie theater in their pocket or purse with smart phones. So we can do more - we don't have to rely on the old model, and anyone who does rely on it is doomed.
You're not only an actor, but a gay activist. Have your opinions made your career challenging?
Only because of the guy I am, I wasn't gay enough. I couldn't get hired to be gay. I wasn't what Hollywood expected. I tried out for a part on the TV show Girlfriends for a black gay hairdresser role and the guy who got the part, when he auditioned, he brought in his kids and he was willing to be this "Super snap queen" as soon as he got in the room. And I was told I wasn't gay enough. A casting director for The Hughley's wanted me to be much more effeminate. And she said "Here's how gay people do this." I said, "Whoa, I am gay!" and she replied, "No you're not." So I said, "Do I have to suck a dick in front of you?" So I'm not what Hollywood expected to be gay.
You're now working on your second feature film, Welcome Sinners.
It's originally a novel I wrote in the early '90s. It's about two guys; one married with kids living the perfect commuter but because of where and when he grew up, he made the choice to go into the closet. The other character is young and gay finds himself in relationships with emotionally unavailable guys. And what was supposed to be a one-night stand turns into a love affair that changes and frightens them both. It's literally a reboot of the film Making Love, but I based a lot of it from An Affair to Remember. This is something no one has touched on in awhile. But I wanted to see what this story looked like in a post Proposition 8 world when gays can get married. So what does a star-crossed love affair look like after prop 8 and DOMA.
Your resume says you can speak with several accents including Russian, Irish and Southern.
My first job as a professional actor was playing the voice of Gen. Robert E Lee and I read his letters and diary to his wife for a television show in Boston. And I thought to myself, my ancestor are rolling in their graves right now.
So did you call your folks and say "Guess what my first job is... ?"
... I never told them.