Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Talk with Producer/Director Nick Corporon Wraps up Nick & Tuc Portion of 'Retake' Series
[EDITOR'S NOTE: This post on an interview with producer/director/writer Nick Corporon of the gay-themed drama "Retake" wraps up this three-part series of articles on that film. Part one is a review of "Retake;" part two is an interview with star Tuc Watkins, who is best known as Bob Hunter on "Desperate Housewives."
A recent telephone conversation with producer/director/writer Nick Corporon regarding his new film "Retake" started on a terrific note; I alerted him that I had used my new Amazon echo dot (one of the most awesome things ever) to set an alarm to ensure that our chat did not run into an interview with "Retake" star Tuc Watkins.
Corporon mentioned that he, like I, had received the dot as a Christmas gift. (An amusing moment came later when failed efforts to stop the alarm led to my saying "Alexa, shut up." That did it, and the laughter of Corporon suggested that he had experienced similar frustration with this generally very helpful and fun item.)
Corporon further won a place in the heart of your not-so-humble reviewer by stating that he liked that I used pen and paper for notes during interviews. Corporon then explained that he was very tactile person.
A Trick By Any Other Name
The character whom Watkins plays in "Retake" being a middle-aged man who has hired a string of 20-something male prostitutes to meticulously recreate a road trip screamed for asking Corporon if that activity was why he named that character Jonathaon (a.k.a. Jon.) Corporon laughed and shared that others had asked the same question. He then said that was not why he selected that moniker and that "Jonathan" just jumped out at him when he was going through a list of names.
Nick and Tuc
Corporon casually mentioning that he was born and raised in Missouri prompted asking if he had known Kansas City native Watkins from his youth. Corporon stated that they had not met before this project and added that he grew up 30 miles from Kansas City but regularly traveled there to see movies and plays.
Corporon then stated that he was a fan of Watkins from his role on "Desperate Housewives" and that he wrote Watkins a letter expressing his interest in having Watkins play Jonathan.
The reasoning related to casting Watkins as Jonathan stemmed from the character originally being a lone wolf nerd who faded into the background. Corporon said that he decided that Jonathan being "very handsome and confident" would have created more mystery regarding that individual. Watching "Retake" clearly showed that Corporon succeeded.
Folks who have read the Unreal TV review of "Retake" know that it refers to the rent boy whom Jonathan hires as "Keanu" in reference to the early roles of Keanu Reeves in productions such as the must-see Gus Van Sant drama "My Own Private Idaho" in which Reeves displays the same characteristics as the American gigolo in "Retake."
The response of Corporon when asked about the similarities was an enthusiastic "Absolutely! 'My Own Private Idaho' was a huge point of reference for us. I love the movie; I love the characters."
Cordon also shared that he gave "Keanu" portrayor Devon Graye, whose history with Cordon dates back to the Showtime series "Dexter," the "Idaho" novel and the film. The instruction was for Graye to do as he chose with the film. His portrayal of "Keanu" shows that he took it to heart.
A later portion of our conversation included Corporon sharing that "Devon is gay and out and proud."
'Lazy Eye' Syndrome
The conversation then shifted to the recent (Unreal TV reviewed) breaking glass pictures film "Lazy Eye," which revolves around two 30-something gay men reuniting 15 years after a summer romance traumatically ends. The question regarding this was whether both "Eye" and "Retake" revolving around gay romances in the early '90s reflected Pride reaching a level at that time that allowed gay couples to openly build a life together.
The answer was far better than expected. Corporon noted that he was surprised that festivals paired the similar "Retake" and "Eye." He then laughed and described the two films as "trapped in the past desert movies."
Further insight came in the form of Corporon stating that "Tuc and I really discussed why this guy (Jonathan) was as protected and guarded as he was; it was hard for him (Jonathan) to open up to the original Brandon (boyfriend) character."
The you've come a long way Baby response regarding the observation about Pride was that the gay rights movement has made a great deal of progress in the past 10 years.
Having discussed the amusing difficulties related to appendages ending up in unintended spots while filming sex scenes with other directors and actors prompted asking Corporon about this challenge. Once again, his response awesomely exceeded expectations.
The initial reply once again was "Absolutely." Cordon went on to share that he had never filmed a sex scene before and had to film two of them during the first day of shooting. He referred to Jonathan auditioning another male prostitute in his hotel room before finding Keanu and the production schedule requiring filming the scenes with both rent boys back-to-back. That schedule calling for shooting 10 pages of script that day made that challenge even more daunting.
The rest of the true Hollywood Story regarding that day was that it was "a hot sweaty set" but that Watkins and Graye "were troupers."
The real fun regarding this topic related to Cordon initiating a conversation regarding the wardrobe for the sex scenes. He shared that it was determined that the actors should wear garments known as "cock socks." We did not elaborate on the nature of this "clothing," beyond Cordon describing it as "the most humbling thing you could ever wear."
The next bit of inside information was that valiant efforts to buy cock socks in Los Angeles shockingly failed; this led to the costumer making homemade ones for the boys. A related story was that those socks were not designed to stay on and fall off very easily.
Bonus tidbits included the previous experience of Graye allowing him to share that cock socks with Velcro were no good and that this thespian had a wardrobe malfunction with one while filming a scene for the series "American Horror Story." Cordon shared that the AHS scene called for Graye to kill a cow while naked, that the fake cow's blood caused the cock sock that Graye was wearing to fall off, and that Graye went full Moonty when the cameras stopped rolling.
Discussing the film shorts, including "Barbie Boy" about a male youngster whose playing with dolls causes concern, that Corporon has made prompted asking if there were any plans to release a compilation of those movies on DVD. He replied that there no current plans to do so but provided some hope regarding a release of his 2009 film "Last Call," which was a graduate school thesis. This film centered around a recovering alcoholic having an apt Purgatory experience.
Corporon also stated that he was researching conversion therapy with hopes of that leading to a film and that he also was involved with a handful of other projects.
All this shows that Corporon surely will become an increasingly visible figure across the queer cinema spectrum in the next few years.