BY Duane Wells
February 05 2010 5:05 PM ET
While we’re dishing about Hollywood, in the last year or so we’ve witnessed the sudden and shocking deaths of so many young stars ...
I know. Isn’t it awful?
It is. But you’re the expert ... Have you ever witnessed anything like this before? What’s really going on in Hollywood and what do you think is driving this deadly new trend?
It’s drugs. It’s all kinds of drugs. It’s pharmaceutical drugs ... it’s a mixture of drugs ... it’s insecurities. I always write about that rags-to-riches dream. They come to Hollywood and if they get everything, then it’s just too much for them to absorb. It’s much better when people are successful later in life. You look at somebody like George Clooney. All of a sudden he’s the movie star, but he’s taken it very well because he had years and years of struggling before this happened for him. I mean, he was on every failed sitcom on television. [Laughs]
Indeed. OK, so what are your thoughts about another trend, which is the slow trickle of openly gay actors coming out of the closet? Why do you think Hollywood has been so slow to embrace openly gay male leading men?
Well, that’s difficult isn’t it? I feel it’s very difficult for an actor to come out because then he’s labeled “gay” and the powers that be think that women don’t want to see those actors in love scenes with women. I think that’s ridiculous. I mean, there are so many gay actresses and they’re screwing away on the screen! [Laughs]
Do you think Hollywood’s reluctance to accept openly gay actors and actresses is a reflection of what we’ve been seeing across the country in the backlash against pro-gay ballot measures from California to Maine?
We live in Hollywood, we go to New York, and we go to the big cities, but when you think of what’s going on across the country, there’s still a great prejudice [against gays and lesbians].
I know because when I did my bus tour last year, I went to 23 cities and there would be [like] ... 500 people at every place. I would go to at the Harrah’s casinos, and they would be lining up to get books. Often there would be a young gay guy there and he’d be in some little town and he’d say to me, “Your books have inspired me. I’m saving my money. I’m going to try to move to New York, but thank you so much.” They weren’t accepted in the little towns they lived in, and I remember them so distinctly because there were so many of them. I thought it was very sad because we live in Hollywood where it’s like “what the hell,” but then you go to a little town and there’s still that tension.
And so the battle continues, unfortunately. Now let’s jump from Hollywood to Paris. What’s your latest venture, Paris Connections, all about?
I think it’s [about] the future. The future is selling a movie like you sell a book. You put it on the supermarket shelves and people buy it.
We start shooting [Paris Connections] on February 1 in Paris, and it’s going to go direct to DVD. It’s called Premiere DVD, and all the money for the movie is being put up by Tesco, this huge supermarket in England, which is kind of like Costco. They’re going to have it exclusively for their members for three months, so you can only buy it in Tesco stores. And then we’ll do a sale to America, hopefully through some place like Target or Walmart.
We’ve got Nicole Steinwedell from The Unit, we have Anthony Delon, the son of the famous French movie star Alain Delon — he’s so gorgeous — and we have Trudie Styler [Sting’s wife] and Charles Dance. So we’ve got a fabulous cast.