Chemistry Lesson: In Adam & Steve, Craig Chester and Malcolm Gets Explore a Screen Romance Grounded in the Chemistry of Two Actual Gay Actors! Hollywood, Are You Getting This?
Stockwell, Anne, The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
If you like your laughs broad and your endings happy, you'll get a kick out of the new romantic comedy Adam & Steve, now in theaters from Funny Boy Films. Known for starring in some of the darkest films of New Queer Cine ma--remember Swoon?--writer-director-star Craig Chester uncovers a warm comic presence in this story of two nice guys who fall in love despite an uproariously gross first date. He's also novelized Adam & Steve for Alyson Books, a sister company of this magazine.
Chester is expertly supported on-screen by real life best friend Parker Posey and Saturday Night Live's Chris Kattan, and his love interest is played by the out-and-foxy Malcolm Gets (Caroline in the City). Sitting down with The Advocate in Hollywood, Chester and Gets point out that even in this supposed era of greater gay visibility in Hollywood, what they're doing is almost unheard of: out gay actors playing out gay boyfriends--shocking!
Craig, why did you want to make this movie?
Chester: I wanted to write a screenplay to recapture the sense of irreverence lacking in indie film and especially gay films. And I wanted to do something silly and fun, with big emotions and a lot of heart. Traveling so much with gay films [I appeared in], I would always see gay couples at festivals. After seeing films like Swoon or I Shot Andy Warhol, they would always come up to me and go, "When are they going to make a movie about us--about a relationship, like, having a boyfriend?"
Malcolm, how did you get involved?
Gets: Craig and I met a few years ago socially and started to become friends. Shortly after that he said he'd written a screenplay and felt like I'd be right for the other role. He started to do readings, and I was in play after play and never available. Finally, there came a day when it worked out, and the first reading was Craig and me and Parker and Chris, and fortunately somebody videotaped it, so they had a document to pass along to companies like Funny Boy.
Chester: And Parker and Chris had good chemistry, and Malcolm and I had good chemistry. I don't think people are used to seeing gay couples with chemistry.
What qualities appeal to you in each other?
Gets: What started the relationship for me was a real camaraderie about being out in the industry and being of a similar age. God knows I was drawn to Craig's sense of humor and his smarts.
Chester: When you're an actor and you're openly gay, there are so few other openly gay actors that when you find one, you sort of hang on to them.
Gets: I thought so many of us were out. And about a month ago Craig e-mailed me a piece about Brokeback Mountain, and how the guys playing gay are straight ... and [the writer included] a list of openly gay actors. It was such a small list! I would think there were so many of us, but there aren't. We are living in the age of "don't ask, don't tell." I can't tell you how many friends I have who are on television right now, and everybody in the industry knows that they're gay and they live with partners or whatever, but they won't talk about it in the press.
Chester: I'm writing a script about Montgomery Clift, and I'm finding that, for the men that I've talked to from that era, it was exactly the same. Everybody knew Monty was gay in the industry, everybody knew Rock Hudson was gay in the industry. But they weren't out in the rest of the world.
Craig, I've read your memoir, Why the Long Face? …