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 2021-12-08
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor


  WINDY CITY TIMES

Rusty Schwimmer: A True Character
by Richard Knight, Jr.
2007-05-02

This article shared 10750 times since Wed May 2, 2007
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Rusty Schwimmer. Pic by Gene Page courtesy of County Line Films

________

For Windy City Times/Knight at the Movies

Winnetka native and character actress Rusty Schwimmer and I have known each other for over 20 years. We met when we were both working in Chicago's nightclub scene back in the mid-'80s. By 1989, she'd headed out to the West Coast, and in a few short years established a career in movies and television that has never let up. Although she's had comedic roles, she's usually cast in dramatic parts. Movie audiences recognize her from those small but important character roles—like the anxious, worried juror in Runaway Jury; the tough but vulnerable barfly in The Perfect Storm; and the gutsy miner in North Country.

Now she is co-starring with Paul Giamatti in the offbeat indie The Hawk Is Dying ( premiering in Chicago this Friday at the Gene Siskel Center ) . In the film Schwimmer plays a distracted, anxious southern belle named Precious, who is the brother of Giamatti and the mother of an autistic son ( Michael Pitt ) . During a recent trip back to Chicago, she and I talked about the film, Desperate Housewives and A-list actors coming out.

Windy City Times: The Hawk Is Dying is a very unusual piece. It's very non-linear—a real test for an absent-minded audience. I loved that the normal assumptions you make about characters in a movie didn't really apply.

Rusty Schwimmer: Yes, right. Some people have pointed that out. I think it's because we've been spoon-fed as an audience—I'm saying this in a very general way—to figure out exactly where we are, who we are [ and ] what the relationships are within the first five minutes of the movie. I believe that in movies that are really, really great you don't have that spoon fed to you. Hats off to Julian Goldberger, the filmmaker, because he doesn't want to do that. He feels the audience is much more intelligent than the lowest common denominator and that the lowest common denominator is not as low as most people think.

WCT: How did this originally come to you, Rusty? Did you know this director-writer?

RS: I didn't know him or anything about him. He had worked with John Hawkes, who played Bugsy in The Perfect Storm; [ then, ] John and Nick Offerman—my friend who used to be with the Defiant Theatre in Chicago—both said, 'The character of Precious needs to be Rusty.' So Julian saw me at the very beginning of casting and then I didn't hear anything; I thought I did well. Then ,maybe six months later, I got a call asking if I'd be willing to play Precious.

WCT: Can you talk about working with Paul Giamatti?

RS: I was in a happy bubble to be working with such incredible people that really love what they do. I loved that Paul Giamatti is so open. We immediately had this connection. The first night I was on location in Florida he took me to this restaurant called Mom's—a great soul food place—and they all loved him because they'd seen Big Momma's House so many times.

WCT: Right! I'd forgotten he'd done that.

RS: Yes, exactly. So, from the get-go we were like brother and sister, and we could say anything in front of each other; working with each other was great. One of us would have an insane idea and the other person would giggle and then we'd try it and see if it worked or not.

WCT: Is it true that with material this emotionally difficult that those are the movie sets where the atmosphere is light and you have a great time?

RS: [ Laughs ] Yes—actually that's true, at least for me. One of the hardest, most serious sets I was on was a comedy that I did—EdTV; it was just a very serious set. The Perfect Storm was a hilarious set, North Country was hilarious and, this, the most hilarious of all. I think that unless you're a method actor—which Paul and I certainly are not and we'll drop character in a second [ laughs ] —you need a rest from the intensity. And in that scene that I won't give away that's so intense—in-between takes we were yukking it up, laughing so hard because it was too horrible to deal with.

WCT: How long was the shoot? Pretty quick?

RS: Yes—23, 24 days. We had to shoot quick but I think if we'd had to shoot anymore it would have hurt us because it was so compact that it was almost like a tornado went through, you know? This was the first movie that I came away with—and I've done a lot of intense movies—where I couldn't shake it. I think that if I was in that mode for any longer, I really wouldn't have been able to shake it and I had to do another movie right after that.

WCT: Let's talk about some of your TV appearances because you're on every hit show it seems—Heroes, Six Feet Under and Boston Legal . You [ also ] have a Desperate Housewives episode coming up, right?

RS: I do. I play a forest ranger. [ Laughs ] Now, who would meet up with a forest ranger, I wonder?

WCT: Hmmm. Our People love that show and one of the reasons for that, of course, is that it was created by a gay man, Marc Cherry. Did you meet him?

RS: Yes. briefly. What I really enjoyed about Mr. Cherry, to be perfectly honest, was that he said, 'Thank you so much for coming and playing with us.' He said 'playing'—not 'working'—and I thought that was very telling about what kind of human being he is. I liked him a lot. He was very, very sweet.

WCT: Okay, my gay-friendly friend who has worked for everyone in the business in both movies and TV: Do you think we're ever going to see a mega movie star come out in our lifetime?

RS: [ Crestfallen ] Oh honey, it's not going to happen unless they're a character actor. They just say to the actor two words: 'Rupert Everett.'

WCT: And those two words work because Everett's career was wrecked by his coming out?

RS: Well, they say no one wants to take him seriously as a heterosexual guy, which really sucks because it really shouldn't matter. Actors play all sorts of parts. I can't tell you how many lesbians I've played. Is that fair to the lesbian community that lesbian actors can't play straight roles? It's not fair and doesn't make any sense. But at the same time, a lot of people will look at Rupert Everett and not want to make waves.

WCT: Is it just a generational thing?

RS: Yes, but until those old white guys leave Hollywood and Washington, it's not going to happen. It might be another generation and, if it is, that's brilliant because then it's only one more generation instead of two or three. But I don't think it's going to happen in the next 10 years. Character actors [ will come out ] but not leading men. Not yet.


This article shared 10750 times since Wed May 2, 2007
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Billy Masters: Colton Underwood, Golden Globes and more 2022-01-17
- "I was not prepared to receive death threats over a fictional character's fictional relationship choices that are fictional which means not real."—A writer on the Sex and the City sequel And Just Like That describes feedback ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Music festivals, Murray Bartlett, Reese Witherspoon, author David Sedaris 2022-01-16
- Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival revealed the lineup for this year's festival, taking place June 16-19 on the Bonnaroo Farm in Manchester, Tennessee, a press release noted. Highlights will include performances by Tool, J. Cole, Stevie ...


Gay News

SAG nominees include 'Gucci,' 'Power of the Dog,' 'Squid Game' 2022-01-12
- Nominees for the 28th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards honoring outstanding individual, cast and ensemble performances for the past year were announced Jan. 12 by actors Rosario Dawson and Vanessa Hudgens via Instagram Live, according to ...


Gay News

NBJC celebrates Mj Rodriguez on Golden Globes win 2022-01-11
—From a press release - The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) congratulates Michaela Jae "Mj" Rodriguez on earning the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a TV Drama during the 2022 Golden Globe Awards. Rodriguez won for her role as Blanca ...


Gay News

Billy Masters: Andy Cohen, SJP and more 2022-01-10
- The virus hit us both like a freight train. Thankfully, we were both triple vaccinated and the vaccinations did their job, which kept us out of real danger and out of the hospital… [We're] still isolating and waiting to see until we test ...


Gay News

Trans actress Rodriguez makes history at quiet Golden Globes 2022-01-10
- On Jan. 9, Michaela Jae "Mj" Rodriguez won a Golden Globe for best actress in a TV drama for her role as Blanca on the FX show Pose, according to media reports. The awards were announced on social media, as the Globes were not broadcast or live-streamed ...


Gay News

Chicago's first-ever Festival au Cinema to take place Aug. 26-28 2022-01-07
- Haven Chicago has announced its first-ever Festival au Cinema, described as "the company's new platform for visionary and innovative filmmakers and media artists staking their claim in the future of digital storytelling." Festival au Cinema will ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ JoJo Siwa, Jeopardy! champ, director dies, Frank Ocean 2022-01-02
- TikTok fans of LGBTQ entertainer Jojo Siwa said her new teenage girlfriend, Katie Mills, is a supporter of anti-LGBTQ Republican former President Donald Trump, per LGBTQ Nation. Mills also once questioned if transgender women are "actually" ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ The film 'Licorice Pizza,' Aaron Sorkin, WNBA player, Mariah Carey 2021-12-26
- Alana Haim, who stars in the film Licorice Pizza (now out in theaters), talked with out.com about how the movie incorporates queer representation by including unsung queer political figure Joel Wachs. "Joel Wachs was such an ...


Gay News

'Real Housewife' Julia Lemigova talks about Miami Housewives, miniature cattle 2021-12-24
- The Real Housewives of Miami finally has an out and proud member of the LGBTQ+ in the main cast with Julia Lemigova. (She's the franchise's second such cast member, following The Real Housewives of Orange County's ...


Gay News

Filmmaker B. Danielle Watkins discusses her 'Higher Spirit' 2021-12-22
- Although lesbian filmmaker/screenwriter/author B. Danielle Watkins has now made two films about Christmas, she admitted she really doesn't like movies that center on the holiday. "My best friend and business partner, Onyx Keesha, loves them," Watkins ...


Gay News

MOVIES Twenty years after the premiere of 'Kevin's Room,' the film still resonates 2021-12-21
- Walking down a Chicago street in 2021, actor Keith Butler said a man recognized him from a character that he played in a film two decades ago: Kevin, from the local production Kevin's Room. "The fact ...


Gay News

Chicago's historic Fine Arts Building launches new website, ticketing for spring productions 2021-12-21
- Chicago's Fine Arts Building, 410 S. Michigan Ave., launched its new look and a website with centralized ticketing and rental platforms that encompass all of the landmark building's spaces: artists' studios, offices, rehearsal halls and two ...


Gay News

MOVIES/TV Former Bryan Singer assistant details alleged abuse 2021-12-21
- In a first-person account in Variety entitled "My Traumatizing Years with Bryan Singer," Blake Stuerman, 30, detailed his what he said were his experiences over his four years with out filmmaker Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects; ...


Gay News

Billy Masters: Rex Smith, 'West Side Story' and more 2021-12-20
- "It was pretty damn good!"—Rex Smith's response when Billy showed a risqué photo of Rex at his most beautiful and asked, "What was it like walking around looking like that?" I love when someone that gorgeous ...


 



Copyright © 2022 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.