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
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Mark Patton on 'Nightmare on Elm Street 2' gay subtext
by Richard Knight, Jr., for Windy City Times
2013-10-09

This article shared 19232 times since Wed Oct 9, 2013
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


To say that Mark Patton's journey has been fraught with ups and downs is to define the cliché.

A fresh-faced young actor from Kansas City, Patton arrived in Manhattan in the early '80s and quickly landed the role of Joe Qualley in Robert Altman's off-Broadway sensation, Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean. Patton co-starred with Cher, Sandy Dennis, a then-unknown Kathy Bates and a batch of other well-known actresses. The play became a must-see for the New York glitterati and soon Patton was nightclubbing with David Bowie, Andy Warhol and the like. When it came time to make the film in 1982, Patton was immediately signed to repeat his role as the fey teen boy who transitions to female, becoming the coolly controlled woman played by the late Karen Black in one of her most intriguing roles.

After moving to Hollywood, Patton won the coveted lead in 1985 as Jesse, the mixed-up teenager opposite Robert Englund's maniacal Freddy Krueger in the first sequel to the Nightmare on Elm Street horror franchise. This coup and the financial success of the movie were bittersweet, as Patton found being open about his gay sexuality was a taboo in Tinseltown. A few years later, torn between accepting a leading role in a television series as a gay character but told he'd have to remain in the closet, Patton decided to leave acting behind. That bitter blow was followed by a positive HIV diagnosis and years of health challenges.

More than 25 years later Patton—now 49, healthy and relaxed—has reinvented himself as a successful Puerto Vallarta-based interior designer who lives with husband Hector. He has come to embrace his time in the spotlight starring in A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge and, thanks to the movie's infamous gay subtext, his status as the world's first male "scream queen."

The film will be shown Saturday, Oct. 12, as part of the annual 24-hour horror marathon The Massacre at the Patio Theater, 6008 W. Irving Park Rd. Patton will be on hand to sign autographs, pose for photos with fans and regale the audience with tales from his fascinating time in Hollywood. Patton chatted with Windy City Times from his home in Mexico.

Windy City Times: You had this great success with "Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean"—a year on Broadway and then the filming which led to a life-long friendship with Cher and the others in the cast—an incredible experience.

Mark Patton: It really was. In fact, I am writing a book about that fantastic period which should be coming out early next year. I'd been thinking about it for quite a while, but losing both Marta Heflin and Karen Black recently really lit a fire under me.

WCT: I look forward to that. And Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean eventually led to Nightmare 2—which was a really coveted part, right?

Mark Patton: It was huge, absolutely. Michael Murphy, one of the producers of the film, said to me, "You're never hired as the star of a movie by accident." Even if you've only done one of those big Hollywood movies, it's an amazing experience to be selected in that way. It was wonderful.

WCT: I'm going to guess that while you were filming the movie you were maybe not closeted but a little circumspect. This was the mid-'80s in Hollywood, after all.

Mark Patton: Well, actually, the way that it worked was this: When I was in New York I just lived my life, which is what one did in New York. Then I went to Hollywood and it was a completely and utterly different story. Personally, I was always out. I don't think I've ever been in the closet in my life and my boyfriend at the time who was on Dallas—he's passed away now—and we would do things like go to Merv Griffin's house for dinner or to big A-list gay parties. Everybody was out but the actors.

Generally, people sort of protected you. But socially, I was not allowed to live in West Hollywood and I could never go into a gay bar because the agencies would post people at the door to sabotage people's careers. There were only about 20 actors at the time—including Matt Damon and Brad Pitt, who both auditioned for Nightmare 2—who would be considered for these roles and agents would do anything to get an advantage. It was pretty brutal.

During the middle of Nightmare on Elm Street I began to realize there was something fishy going on with the script and it was really terrifying. I thought, "I'm in a box here and I don't know how to get out of it." This was my first leading role in a big movie and the question was, "Could I play a normal guy?" I had the chops to play people having nervous breakdowns but could I be the boy next door and be straight?

WCT: I can see where you'd read that script and not get the gay subtext but when you were filming—in that S&M kinda bar and that shower scene—did you immediately get that?

Mark Patton: We filmed the bar scene at the Detour [an infamous West Coast leather bar]! I was way past it at that point—I knew what was going on at that point. But literally the straight guys on the set—the director, the DP, the producers—they were dumb as a box of rocks about this. It would not have entered their minds. Bob Shaye, the owner of New Line, plays the bartender in the gay bar!

WCT: I believe you've said that the person who inserted the gay subtext was the screenwriter.

Mark Patton: David Chaskin, yes. This has been the big question—why did he do it? He always said that he didn't write it as a gay movie and he denied it forever. When really pushed up against the wall he would say, "Well, the actor in the lead—not even using my name—was so gay that he made the film gay" and I don't know whether David is gay or straight but I will tell you this: I think a closeted gay person in a position of power in show business is one of the most treacherous people that a gay actor can ever encounter.

WCT: Did Robert Englund know about this?

Mark Patton: Not a clue. It just wasn't on the radar of those guys. I mean, please, the coach, before they strap him up to the wall, he's getting shot at by balls—he's playing with his balls and they're shooting at him like they're ejaculating out of penises. [Laughs] If you watch me in the bedroom scene when I'm naked in the bed and the room starts to melt—the candles look like big dicks and they're dripping white wax on my body like they're coming on me. If you really take it all the way, like a couple of doctoral students have—look at Freddy Krueger in context—he's always vicious to women.

WCT: Talk about closeted.

Mark Patton: Right—but he's lovely to me. He's always very tender with me. The only people who are killed in that film are boys. Any boy who gets close to me, he kills them. So, it's been interesting for me to watch the revisionism on the tours I've done. Robert [Englund] will now say he knew all along and that it was part of the subtext for both of us. I love Robert but that's total bullshit! [Laughs]

WCT: It's hilarious to see this now but at the time…

Mark Patton: It was terrifying. I started getting fan mail that said, "Faggot, faggot" and "Jesse's a homo" and all that kind of stuff. It was a terrible time. My lover was dying and everybody had AIDS and I quit the business. I should have gone back to New York but instead I said, I'm done and I took off in another direction.

WCT: As an out gay man, what I love about your journey, Mark, is to see someone come full-circle and not only embrace your past but to be at peace about it and have a sense of humor, to boot. You know how rare it is to have an out gay man in a horror-film franchise.

Mark Patton: Thank you—there was always a little voice in my ear whispering, "Show business isn't through with you" and it seems that that voice was right. They call me the Greta Garbo of horror because I disappeared for so long. Now they call me the Joan Crawford of horror because I'm so good to my fans.

WCT: [Laughs] "I AM one of your fans!!!"

Mark Patton: I do, I love my fans—especially my GLBT fans and I can't wait to meet them in Chicago.

See www.mark-patton.com and facebook.com/terrorintheaisles .


This article shared 19232 times since Wed Oct 9, 2013
facebook twitter pin it 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

THEATER A Red Orchid Theatre running magical 'Missed Connections' Feb. 2-28 2021-01-19
- A Red Orchid Theatre is presenting Missed Connections—a live, interactive play with magic, conceived for virtual experience, co-written by Jon Tai and Alex Gruhin, performed by magician Jon Tai and produced by Alex Gruhin—on Feb. 2-28. ...


Gay News

Virtual OUTspoken storytelling event Feb. 2 2021-01-17
- The next virtual OUTspoken Storytelling Night will take place Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. The speakers will be as follows: —Donald Bell is a third-generation Chicagoan, South Sider and White Sox fan who is a retired ...


Gay News

'Dixie's Happy Hour' streaming Jan. 26-31 2021-01-15
- On the heels of Dixie's Tupperware Party and Dixie's: Never Wear a Tube Top While Riding a Mechanical Bull (and 16 other things I learned while I was drinking last Thursday), drag personality Dixie Longate is ...


Gay News

Hell in a Handbag Productions to present Out, Darn Spot! 2021-01-15
--From a press release - CHICAGO (Jan. 15, 2021) — Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to present the campy comedyOut, Darn Spot!, written by and starring ensemble member Tyler Anthony Smith* and directed, filmed and edited by Stephanie Shaw. ...


Gay News

Artemisia Theatre announces entirely virtual 2021 season 2021-01-13
--From a press release - CHICAGO - In order to continue its strong feminist story-telling tradition, Artemisia Theatre announces an entirely virtual 2021 season. The new season includes two World Premiere theater productions and eight audio performances airing on its podcast ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Laverne Cox, lesbian coach, Jim Parsons, 'Brokeback,' theater items 2021-01-11
- Laverne Cox is teaming with Meryl Streep and Rashida Jones to executive-produce a new documentary exploring one of the most critical issues at the intersection of race, feminism, and power: the sex industry, out.com noted. Sell/Buy/Date ...


Gay News

African American Arts Alliance, Black Ensemble to present MLK event Jan. 18 2021-01-08
- The African American Arts Alliance of Chicago and Black Ensemble Theater will present the 10th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration on Monday, Jan. 18, at 6 p.m. The online event will be free. This ...


Gay News

Rip Nelson Holiday Quarantine Special extended through Jan. 17 2021-01-06
--From a press release - CHICAGO (Jan. 4, 2021) — Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to announce one additional week of performances of its streaming holiday hit The Rip Nelson Holiday Quarantine Special, now playing through Jan. 17, 2021. ...


Gay News

Hell in a Handbag announces annual benefit, "The Morning After" 2020-12-23
- CHICAGO (Dec. 17, 2020) — Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to announce its annual benefit "The Morning After," featuring the streaming world premiere of the smash hit musical that started it all for them, ...


Gay News

PrideArts to screen one-night-only live virtual readings 2020-12-21
--From a press release - PrideArts series of one-night-only live virtual readings resumes with TWELFTH NIGHT on the Twelfth of January Peter Vamvakas to direct a cast of seven Click here for a Word doc version of this release CHICAGO — ...


Gay News

Bechdel Fest 8 to highlight femme, female-identifying, non-binary, trans, queer actors 2020-12-21
- Broken Nose Theatre (BNT) will present Bechdel Fest 8: Realign—the company’s annual festival of new short plays featuring an ensemble of femme, female-identifying, non-binary, trans and queer actors talking about things other than men. ...


Gay News

OUTSpoken: LGBTQ storytelling event Jan. 5 on Zoom 2020-12-16
- Another OUTspoken Storytelling Night will offer the perspective of four Chicagoans telling life stories from their LGBTQ+ viewpoint or that of their close friends and relatives, Tuesday, Jan. 5, starting at 7 p.m. on Zoom. The ...


Gay News

Pegasus holding Young Playwrights Festival Jan. 7-31 2020-12-10
- On Jan. 7-31, Pegasus Theatre Chicago is presenting the 34th Young Playwrights Festival (YPF), which selects winning high school-age scribes to apprentice with theater professionals to workshop and produce their ...


Gay News

THEATER About Face airing festival with Black LGBTQ+ artists 2020-12-04
- About Face Theatre is launching its 25th season with Kickback—an online festival of 10 newly commissioned short plays and performances by Black LGBTQ+ artists, inspired by the Rebuild Foundation's collections at the Stony Island Arts Bank. ...


Gay News

Black Ensemble Theater's 'Holiday' event Dec. 18-25 2020-12-03
- The Black Ensemble Theater is celebrating the 2020 holiday season with The Black Ensemble Virtual Holiday Extravaganza, written and directed by Producing Managing Director Daryl D. Brooks. Filmed from the performers' homes and the theater, the ...


 



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.