Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Evans: Talking Brother to Brother
by Andrew Davis
2004-12-08

This article shared 2592 times since Wed Dec 8, 2004
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Rodney Evans will be at Landmark for a Q&A after the 7 p.m. show and introduce the 9:10 show both Friday and Saturday, Dec. 10-11.

[ The complete version of this interview is in the December Identity, available online at www.WindyCityMediaGroup.com . ]

A gay African-American man faces conflict everywhere, including home and school. He bonds with a legendary Black gay poet who is living in a homeless shelter. As their friendship deepens, the artist recounts memories of relationships with various Harlem Renaissance figures, including Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes. Drawing from the old man's past, the young man acquires enough strength to deal with the world on his own terms.

This account is a synopsis of the film Brother to Brother, an award-winning cinematic mosaic that weaves together elements of culture, race, and sexual orientation. Windy City Times talked with the movie's director, Rodney Evans, and discussed everything from the trials of making a film to the magnetism of the late actor River Phoenix.

Windy City Times: Who thought of the film's title and why use it?

Rodney Evans: I thought of it. The movie was inspired by this anthology of Black gay writing called Brother to Brother; it was edited by Essex Hemphill. I thought of the film as a cinematic corollary to that book, which looked at Black gay life from different perspectives. I thought the piece was about relationships between Black men; the relationships were not necessarily sexual and the men were not necessarily gay.

WCT: Where did you get the inspiration to use the Harlem Renaissance?

RE: The inspiration for that came from writing about my different experiences. I started thinking about how things would be in different eras. That led me to the Shomberg Library [ in New York ] , where I did research about the Renaissance.

WCT: How hard was it to keep the Renaissance scenes authentic?

RE: It was very difficult because it was a low-budget [ $650,000 ] independent movie. I looked at films by Oscar Micheaux, who shot films in the homes of people in the Black community. So we tried to capture what people's homes actually looked like.

WCT: What made Anthony Mackie the right choice to play the lead?

RE: He's a brilliant actor. He understood the character [ of Perry Williams ] on a level that other actors couldn't. He was also willing to push himself to uncomfortable levels.

His questions were very astute. The first thing out of his mouth was, 'OK. How queeny is this guy?' It was interesting because the actors who auditioned assumed that, because the character was gay, he was flamboyant and hyper-effeminate—and I never imagined him that way. Anthony didn't rely on stereotypes.

WCT: What do you want people to get from your movie?

RE: First, I want to illuminate this incredibly rich cultural time period called the Harlem Renaissance. It's such a rich time period that I feel that [ a movie about it ] is long overdue. Second, I think the film is about this relationship between these two Black men of different generations and the transformative power of that friendship.

... I had to find alternate ways to fund the movie. I went to people who were interested in having the story told—friends, family, and small foundations—and I worked the whole historical angle. It was a real struggle; it took the better part of three or four years. We shot 25 percent of the film, ran out of money, stopped shooting for a year, used the scenes we shot to raise more money, and called the actors back a year later. Actually, one of the actors didn't want to come back and we had to re-shoot scenes that he had been in.

The best part of making a movie is seeing how the [ finished product ] can move people, especially on an emotional level. One thing I didn't expect was how much people would be affected. We showed the movie to a predominantly Black literature class at a community college. It was interesting; these hip-hoppers in their late teens and early 20s were comfortable being homophobic—they yelled 'faggot' and groaned when two guys kissed. It was unsettling to them to have a character who was similar to them but who was in these intimate situations with a man. It made them question who they were—but as the film went on, they empathized with him and ended up acting positively. The film forced the students to deal with their internalized homophobia that's force-fed to them through things like hip-hop.

WCT: How did you think this movie would play to Blacks?

RE: Seeing the transformation in those students was pretty encouraging. I thought that people who read the works of Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes would gravitate toward the film because they were interested in [ those writers' ] experiences. ... I think the film plays to so many different people that it taps into this universal feeling, so I'm skeptical about segmenting this film as a 'gay film' or a 'Black film.'

WCT: [ Brother to Brother won the Special Jury Prize at Sundance and the Grand Jury Prize at the Philadelphia Gay and Lesbian Film Fest. ] Did you expect this response?

RE: I really didn't anticipate the reaction; it's been really encouraging and inspiring to do work that hopefully won't be as difficult to get made. It helps to receive awards because it gets the word out about the film.

I've been blessed to have been able to tell this story and have an incredible cast of talented actors. Aunjanue Ellis, who plays Zora, is in Ray with Jamie Foxx; Daniel Sunjata, who plays Langston, was in Broadway's Take Me Out [ and was nominated for a Tony ] ; and Mackie has about four or five movies in the can, including a Clint Eastwood movie with Morgan Freeman and Hilary Swank.


This article shared 2592 times since Wed Dec 8, 2004
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Brittany Devon meets a 'Platonic Girlfriend' 2021-09-15
- Queer, genderfluid actor Brittany Devon has created a brand new project to explore with Platonic Girlfriend. It is the story of a relationship between straight woman Alice and a queer, nonbinary person named Dev. Devon stars ...


Gay News

THEATER Out actor Dan Butler to be in 'When Harry Met Rehab' 2021-09-15
- Don Clark, a Chicago-based film/theater producer as well as co-owner of the Chicago Magic Lounge, will present the world premiere of When Harry Met Rehab—a comedy that takes sobriety seriously and is based loosely on the ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Boy Meets Boy,' Jennifer Hudson, 'SVU,' tennis honor, ABBA 2021-09-12
- Ariztical Entertainment is releasing the German movie Boy Meets Boy on DVD and VOD on Oct. 26. According to a press release, the plot of the 70-minute movie is as follows: "Harry has been partying for ...


Gay News

MOVES Talking about 'Everybody's Talking About Jamie' 2021-09-08
- The new movie Everybody's Talking About Jamie tells the inspiring story of Jamie New, a young drag artist who overcomes hardship and homophobia in Sheffield, England. Out actor Max Harwood stars as New, who gets by ...


Gay News

Survivor shares the story of trauma and thriving in 'Untold' 2021-09-07
- WARNING: This article contains material of a graphic nature. Gina M. Garcia is finally sharing her story of thriving after trauma in her new docu-drama biography, Untold: This is My Story, which premieres Sept. 6 at ...


Gay News

MOVIES Fall films harvest famous names for LGBTQ+ stories 2021-09-01
- The film industry is featuring world-renowned names like Lady Gaga, Truman Capote and Tammy Faye on the big screen this fall season. Award-winning musicals, true-life stories and far-out fiction are all part of the fun in ...


Gay News

MOVIES 'On Broadway' to open Sept. 10 in Highland Park 2021-09-01
- As theatergoers prepare for the return of Broadway after an unprecedented absence of 18 months, Kino Lorber is releasing Academy Award nominee Oren Jacoby's documentary On Broadway. The tribute to one of the most vibrant ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Billy Porter, 'Death Drop,' Brandi Carlile, vintage films, Gaga 2021-08-29
- Billy Porter will direct a queer teen comedy feature titled To Be Real for Amazon Studios, which is being helmed by Gabrielle Union's I'll Have Another Productions, NME.com noted. Porter, who is currently working on his ...


Gay News

EVENTS Celebrity attendees named for Wizard World Chicago 2021-08-28
- William Shatner (Star Trek; TV's Boston Legal), Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy, TV's The Walking Dead), Matthew Lewis (All Creatures Great and Small), James Marsters (TV series Buffy the ...


Gay News

TV Netflix animated series 'Chicago Party Aunt' debuts Sept. 17 2021-08-27
- The LGBTQ-inclusive series Chicago Party Aunt will debut on Netflix on Friday, Sept. 17. Inspired by the popular Twitter account Chicago Party Aunt, this eight-episode adult animated comedy follows Diane Dunbrowski and nephew Daniel as they ...


Gay News

Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival announces full slate 2021-08-25
--From a press release - CHICAGO, Illinois — Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival today announced the full slate of programming for 2021, opening September 23, 2021 at the Music Box Theatre (3733 N. Southport Ave.) and running September 24 ...


Gay News

MOVIES 'Mr. SOUL!' looks at groundbreaking '60s show and Black, gay host 2021-08-23
- Al Green, Stevie Wonder, Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight, Nikki Giovanni, James Baldwin, Cicely Tyson, Harry Belafonte, Muhammad Ali, The Last Poets, Earth, Wind & Fire, Sidney Poitier, Mavis Staples and even a teenaged Arsenio Hall were ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ RuPaul, GALECA toast, Elliot Page, 'Chippendales,' bi model 2021-08-22
- RuPaul revealed a new wax figure at Madame Tussauds Las Vegas, a press release noted. The all-new Rainbow Runway experience invites guests to "meet" and take cues from the most commercially successful drag queen of all ...


Gay News

MUSIC Lyric Opera of Chicago's 'Pagliacci' on film 2021-08-18
- Lyric Opera of Chicago announced that registration is now open for audiences to secure a free link to screen the new, original film production of Leoncavallo's Pagliacci, filmed at the Lyric Opera House. Audiences can now ...


Gay News

MOVIES Candyman 'Say It. I Dare You' challenge Aug. 21-22 in Chicago 2021-08-17
- The Candyman "Say it. I Dare You!" challenge—an interactive pop-up experience—will take place Aug. 21-22, 12-8 p.m., at Pioneer Court, 401 N. Michigan Ave. Guests are invited to enter a dark room where they are challenged ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.