BY Dan Avery
May 27 2009 12:00 AM ET
In director Timothy Linh Bui's Powder Blue, several lost souls teeter on the edge of hopelessness in gritty Los Angeles. The La Ronde -like film, out on DVD May 26, is peppered with boldface names -- Ray Liotta, Forest Whitaker, Jessica Biel, Lisa Kudrow -- but it's newcomer Alejandro Romero who has one of the most provocative roles, as a transsexual hooker Whitaker hires to help him commit suicide.
"It's about lonely people looking for love," says Romero, who is gay. "It's got a Crash vibe, but it's a little less complicated." As a jaded streetwalker, his character, Lexus, is used to life's disappointments. But she's genuinely shocked when Whitaker's Charlie offers her a suitcase full of money to take his life. It seems Charlie is a Catholic and believes committing suicide will keep him from reuniting with his late wife in heaven. Such gut-wrenching scenarios are the cornerstone of the movie.
Romero won the part in an open casting call but had originally planned to submit a video audition. "I filmed myself in drag walking around Santa Monica Boulevard with someone filling in for Forest," he explains. Romero was called in for several rounds of auditions, but with no experience "hiding his candy," he had to call on his women friends for help. "I had this little case with all of the Lexus stuff -- I call it my tranny box. My friends helped me put my costume and makeup on every time. I had no familiarity with drag."