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What's Up For Today?

New York Cool - Ask Miss Wendy

Film

 

 

David W. Ross:
A Double Threat

Written by Frank J. Avella

 

 

 



 

Former Brit Boyband Star, David W. Ross has written and starred in a powerful new film about gay rights and gay identity, titled I Do. I recently asked David a few questions and he was very candid with his responses.


David Ross in I Do

How did the making of I Do come about?

I had been working on the script for a few years and got stuck in the "Hollywood system" for about a year. Time was ticking. I knew I wanted to tell this story in 2012 and when an email came in about a website called Kickstarter, I was intrigued. I followed the link and read about a friends film that was raising money. I thought to myself, I can do this, and on February 14th I launched a campaign to raise starter funds for $50,000. By May I had raised $53,000, so I called my producing partner Stephen Isreal. Stephen got the rest of the funds in place and we set a start date.

Is this the first script you penned?

I've written about 2 1/2! But yes. I Do is the first script I've taken all the way. My next script, which I've been developing for a few years, is about my experiences in a boy band in my late teens. Another drama.

Is I Do at all autobiographical or based on someone you knew?

It's based partly on a relationship I had with someone from the UK who couldn't get (his) paperwork. (He) had to move back to the UK and we couldn't handle a long distance relationship. It broke my heart. That was the start of the story. Then shooting all the prop 8 rallies in California really drove it home that I needed to take the story seriously and show just how DOMA is destroying families every day.

How much were you involved in the casting?

Very involved. Being a producer I was part of every decision. The two great moments in casting was meeting Jessica who plays my niece and seeing Maurice's reel (who plays Mano). Both times I had a visceral reaction and knew they were the ones! And then they said yes. It was amazing.

Did you find yourself making any changes once filming began?

No. Stephen has made a lot of films and we knew going in that we had budget restrictions. I had to collapse a few locations together. There was no re-writing on set…We were lucky it worked!

Jack (the role David plays) is a sweet but seemingly indecisive guy, what makes him know that Mano is the man for him?

I don't know if Jack is indecisive more than he is living his life for his niece and stepsister. I think he finds it awkward to live his life and that makes him seem like he doesn't know what he wants. He does, he just thinks he can't ever have it. There's this sense of not being able to live your own life when you don't have your paperwork here in the States. A lot of people I spoke with said they blossomed as soon as they finally got their green card. Before that it’s hard to know if you could actually commit to anything here.

Your performance is terrifically nuanced, impressively understated. How did you get into the Jack mindset and what kept you there? Do you stay in character once the scene is done or do you break out instantly?

Thank you. I spent a long time working on Jack and what makes him tick. I would go on long walks and imagine carrying Tara as a baby and being stopped by people and them saying how much she looks like me and me not wanting to tell them I was just the gay uncle. I spent hours imagining being a single dad. Changing diapers. Tara grounded me in the story and everything kind of stemmed off that. For a few scenes it was almost impossible for me to break. Not because I didn't want too, but because I was an emotional wreck. Glenn, the director, was worried I wouldn't be able to bring the full emotion for the amount of takes we needed with one scene but I would remind myself just who we were making the film for, the thousands of bi-national couples that are going through this in real life, and it would take me right back to being an emotional wreck.

A few questions about Bad Boys Inc (the boyband David was a member of) Were you out then?

I came out last May during the Kickstarter campaign. My sexuality has been a battle for me. Being in the band was very hard but I dealt with it. The other band members knew and it wasn't an issue, but I felt a tremendous amount of pressure and that's one of the reasons I left and why my 20s were a mess. It's taken me years to accept myself.

What are your thoughts on mega-pop stars/movie stars deciding to remain in the closet rather than risk their careers? Have the times changed enough that audiences would not mind? Or are these artists rightly concerned with their image for posterity?

I think it's all a personal decision. CEOs don't come out, why should actors if they feel it'll mess their careers up. Hell we all have shit we don't tell our co-workers. I was such a mess in my 20s because I felt I was never going to have a career unless I conformed. And i tried. I think it's easier when you are established because your fans, at some point, don't give a shit. But we are a long way off having the general public be OK with their leading action hero man being an out gay man. Christ! Most gay guys I know wouldn't want that either. We're all to blame…But I think for me it was time, it was right and I'm happier for it. I truly believe I can have a career as an out actor and not have to play just gay roles. I'm an actor. Not a "gay actor." Being gay is so far down my list for me. I wish everyone else would get to that point. Straight people don't have being straight as their first identifier I'm sure! Why should we?

For more info on David, visit his website:

http://www.davidwross.com

And for more info on I Do, visit:

www.IDoTheMovie.com


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