Friday September 14, 2001
Actor-writer Dan Bucatinsky discusses his new film, censorship and finding true love
Actor-writer Dan Bucatinsky may have been lucky enough to find "the one" - he and producer Don Roos celebrate their ninth anniversary in October - but his characters are not always so fortunate.
Bucatinsky's new film, "All Over the Guy," in theaters tomorrow, is all about that search for "the one" - one's soul-mate, the love of one's life, etc.
"The true 'message' of the movie lies in the words of ('Everybody Loves Raymond''s) Doris Roberts' character who's been married for 42 years and really knows how to fight with her other half. To be able to call someone an asshole and still know how much they love you or whatever. That's what it's all about, isn't it?" Bucatinsky said in an e-mail interview.
"That sounds terrible," he added, "but I think we need to tell that part of love - because Hollywood's already told the creepy, touchy-feely walking through a farmer's market with a baguette coming out of a bag and sharing that warm special moment with someone before sitting down to a candle-lit dinner..."
The film, directed by Julie Davis, was based on a 1997 one-act play called "I Know You Are, but What Am I?" also penned by Bucatinsky. The play was about "a neurotic guy and a commitment-phobic woman who do everything they can to not fall in love," according to a press release, but when the play was adapted for the screen, Bucatinsky made one major change - namely, it was now a story about two guys.
Thus, Bucatinsky said, the film is more than just another "gay flick" but has a universal appeal.
"AOTG ('All Over the Guy') began as a play about a man and a woman," he said. "So it was never about gay characters, or Jewish characters or young or old characters. It was about people petrified or obsessed with finding 'the one.'"
Still, the film's representation of gay characters is important, Bucatinsky said.
"It's important for big-budget Hollywood films to start the very long and difficult process of getting visibility for gay characters in whatever form," he said. "The more these images become a part of what we consider 'normal,' the more we're able to have 'just happen to be' movies like mine where characters are much more than their sexual orientations. They're dark, complex, funny, neurotic and 'just happen to be' gay or straight or whatever."
Although the film's images of gay characters are not wrapped up in their sexuality, the film did encounter censorship in its promotions due to its gay content. The Motion Picture Association of America objected to the depiction on the film's poster of the movie's two lead couples - one gay and one straight - playing footsy on a bed. The filmmakers had to make two changes to the poster as well as to the film's tagline before it received MPAA approval. Bucatinsky called the situation "discouraging" although he said some good came of it.
"They can make a movie called 'Pootie Tang' (god only knows what that is...) and a movie about a wholesome gay couple is taboo," he said. "It was just so discouraging. But we made a publicity item out of it, so everyone wins."
Despite any controversy, Bucatinsky described making "All Over the Guy" as "a dream come true" and said he hopes that people will go out to see the film because word of mouth is important to the commercial success of independent features.
"In order for small films like ours to continue having success and even stay in theaters, we rely on word of mouth," he said. "So if people enjoy the film, or even if they don't, tell them to tell people to go see it! It's the best advertising we can ask for."