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Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-02-22



Doug Plaut serves up The Sixth Reel
by Jerry Nunn

This article shared 848 times since Tue May 16, 2023
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Performer Doug Plaut's career highlights the queer side of life. From the breakout role of gender-fluid Terry in Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt to the upcoming third installment playing Rex in Hurricane Bianca: All Roots of Evil, Plaut (he/they pronouns) is always one to watch.

They relish the role of Rodney in The Sixth Reel, a feature film from drag icon Charles Busch that was acquired by Wolfe Releasing. Plaut talked about the cinematic comedy and much more during a recent interview for Windy City Times.

Windy City Times: Hi, Doug. Where are you calling in from?

Doug Plaut: New York, the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

WCT: Originally from Connecticut?

DP: Yes, Greenwich, Connecticut.

WCT: Tell the readers about The Sixth Reel.

DP: Sure, I will be happy to! It was written by Charles Busch and Carl Andress, who are two parental figures to me at this point in my life. The Sixth Reel is a gentle comedy, much like movies from the '60s such as It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World or Topkapi with Melina Mercouri.

It is a heist comedy with a group of people who find a lost reel of a classic movie. We fight over who gets to keep it. It is from a real movie called London After Midnight, which stars Lon Chaney.

It's a great cast with Charles' longtime muse Julie Halston, Tim Daly and Margaret Cho.

WCT: How was the experience of filming it?

DP: It was great and the first round of shooting a film during COVID in September of 2020. It was wild, and the first time we had been around a group of people like that. We couldn't spend time together when we weren't working.

It was fascinating and one of my favorite times. I found it to be wonderful.

WCT: Talk about your character.

DP: I played Rodney. They wrote it for me so it is an extended version of myself. He's a young, very enthusiastic lover of classic film who likes being around this very eccentric, rag-tag team of people.

WCT: Is there going to be another Hurricane Bianca movie?

DP: There is going to be a third one. I was actually talking to the producer this morning. We will be making it this September in Alabama and that will be fun. It's a fantastic script and story. People get to meet Bianca's mother in this story.

It will be a new take on this franchise. I call it a franchise like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but with better wigs! It will be a lot of fun because it has been about six years since we did the last one

WCT: Sounds like a reunion…

DP: Yes. I see the director Matt Kugelman a couple of times a year because he lives in New York. Bianca Del Rio and Kasha Davis I see about once a year, so I am excited to spend a month with them.

WCT: Bianca and Matt came to Chicago's Reeling Film Festival to promote the first film.

DP: Oh yes, in 2016. I wish I could have come because I know they were doing that whole circuit.

WCT: Have you been to Chicago?

DP: No. It is the only major American city that I have never been to. I will have to make that happen soon.

WCT: Are you a RuPaul Drag Race fan?

DP: I had never seen it before I got the job on Hurricane Bianca. I had four days between getting the job and starting shooting to bone up on Bianca, so I watched her entire season. The show is its own universe even at that point. I caught up and watched all of the seasons during the lockdown of the pandemic. I'm a big fan now!

WCT: What was one takeaway from the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt experience?

DP: What has stuck with me is the culture on the set. I have been on sets where things were tense and people were not thrilled to be there. That was not the case on the Schmidt set.

It was a really relaxed and nice time. I have such admiration for Ellie Kemper, who I worked with opposite in all of my scenes. She really knew how to lead a cast and a crew through long days. She kept things light.

I remember one particular moment. I was having trouble landing a laugh the way I wanted to. She did something that I didn't realize until later, but in hindsight, she was so generous and wonderful. In the middle of my take, she started laughing hysterically.

I thought I was nailing it at the time, but I think she was encouraging someone who was nervous and stiff. That generosity sticks with me to this day. I hope to mirror that in everything that I do and everywhere I go.

When I was a kid I saw the revival of Nine on Broadway 10 times and Jane Krakowski was in that. She won a Tony Award for it. I never had any scenes with Jane, but she was on the show and I had seen her in various places on occasion. She was always been lovely and gracious to me, but had no idea that I was the little boy who stood in line at the stage door twice a month for five months. The full circle of that is very special.

WCT: Are you a big fan of musicals?

DP: Yes, very much so. I am not up on current musicals because my whole nature has me living in 1962. I love musical theater but my knowledge is pre-1990!

WCT: Do you have a favorite musical of all time?

DP: There are so many such as Carousel [and] Carnival!, and I love Funny Girl because I have a deep and abiding affection for Barbra Streisand. Oh, there is also West Side Story, Grey Gardens and Nine. I love The Rink and Pal Joey with their scores. I saw Oliver! last night with Charles Busch at New York City Center. I was amazed at how things can be, because there are certain musicals that are known to be chestnuts, and everyone just thinks they know the musical because community theater performs the show. They may not see a huge professional production of the musical like Oliver! was last night. It is at the top of my list now.

WCT: Did you see Lea Michele in Funny Girl?

DP: I did and she was wonderful.

WCT: What are your plans for Pride month?

DP: Watching a lot of Bette Davis movies. Does that count?

WCT: Yes, that counts.

DP: Fabulous! I do have a project that is not announced yet, but I will working on that in June. I might have a drink somewhere to celebrate, but who am I kidding? I will be watching Bette Davis at some point.

WCT: With the references you have used it seems like you are an old soul. Is that a good description of you?

DP: I suppose.

WCT: Were you influenced by your parents?

DP: No, but someone who influenced me in my biological family was my grandmother. She always had Turner Classic Movies playing in the background and went to the theater. She had dementia for the last decade and a half of her life. I recently pieced together that it is very possible that one of the last plays she saw on her own with my grandfather was The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, which was written by Charles Busch, who wrote The Sixth Reel and became a major figure in my life. That is another full-circle moment for me!

Follow DougPlautPerson on Instagram for more movie moments and for The Sixth Reel's distribution.

This article shared 848 times since Tue May 16, 2023
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