By Winston Gieseke
Originally published on Advocate.com November 29 2011 1:00 AM ET
Out today on DVD and Blu-ray, horror anthology Chillerama is the ultimate midnight movie — an energetically charged ode to gory B-grade flicks, complete with goofiness, splattered guts, and plenty of gross-out erotic humor.
While three of the four stories are hetero-centric (including Wadzilla, about an evil giant sperm that terrorizes New York City; The Diary of Anne Frankenstein, a WWII spoof featuring a fey Hitler trying to create a people-killing machine; and Zom-B-Movie, a perverted spoof of — you guessed it — zombie movies), the lone gay star, I Was A Teenage Werebear, is a musical send-up of teen angst beach and slasher movies that stars Sean Paul Lockhart, an actor best known to gay audiences as adult film performer and mogul Brent Corrigan.
Werebear’s director, Tim Sullivan, one of the few openly gay horror filmmakers, says he had always wanted to spoof the teen movies he grew up watching — movies he believed clandestinely dealt with homo issues. "As a gay kid," Sullivan tells The Advocate, "I would look at movies like Rebel Without a Cause, and I knew that it was about Sal Mineo being in love with James Dean. And I would get all the subtext. To me, The Outsiders is the most homo movie ever made. The Lost Boys — the list goes on and on."
The idea for Werebear came from a discussion with fellow Chillerama contributor Adam Rifkin. "We were like, 'what if Richie Cunningham fell in love with Fonzie,'" Sullivan recalls, "'and when they got aroused they turned into leather daddies?' And we just ran with it."
Despite Lockhart’s notorious past, Sullivan says casting the adult performer in the lead role of Ricky was a no-brainer. "I was looking for a teen idol type. And my friend Todd Stephens, who I went to college with, had done a movie called Another Gay Sequel, in which Sean played a merman.
"I know this is going be very hard for people to believe, but I had not seen — and still have not seen — any of Sean’s porn," the director says. "I’m very much aware of who Brent Corrigan is — I read the story about him in Rolling Stone and I'd seen pictures of him — and I was always struck by how much he looked like Zac Efron. But after seeing Another Gay Sequel, I thought, This kid has got great screen presence and some incredible comedic timing. And when he came in and met with us, I was really impressed by his professionalism and how articulate he was."
The Advocate: You sing and dance in I Was a Teenage Werebear. Did that come naturally to you?
Sean Paul Lockhart: Not at all. I have no musical experience! The singing part was the most nerve-racking aspect of the production. I wasn’t as prepared as I would have liked to have been, but I trusted that Tim Sullivan and producer Brian McCulley knew what they were doing when they cast me.
The film is an homage to the 1960s beach musicals with plenty of James Dean and Lost Boys references mixed in. Did you do any research in order to understand the various references?
Oh, yeah. It was a thrill immersing myself in the music and the movies of the time, which helped me reference some of the nuances. Like the phrase "jiminy crickets" — no one says that anymore. And it felt kind of ridiculous in the script, but I came to understand the reference after doing some research.
Is it true the production ran into problems with the Malibu sheriff’s office because of the story line?
We had specific issues with one state park ranger. We shot at Sycamore Cove just north of Malibu, which is a state park. It’s kind of quiet out there and I think the ranger was just floored to have the chance to exert his authority on a bunch of big, bad liberal Hollywood homos. At the end of the day they really couldn’t object to anything, but the ranger was breathing down our necks to make sure we didn’t break any rules.
Is it fun being splattered with fake blood and eyeballs?
Oh, yeah, it was a blast! At one point my character doesn’t realize his own strength — he’s just become a werebear — and he accidentally crushes someone’s head between his legs. In order to make the effect of the head exploding, the effects guy loaded a cannon up with a jelly-like fake plasma substance, then pointed the cannon between my legs, and shot it at me. It sounds dangerous, but mostly it was exhilarating.
What sort of response have you gotten from the various film festivals that have shown the movie?
Actually, I have two films out right now, and both played many of the same festivals. There was about an eight-month period where I was in a different city every week, either for the festivals or taking on bookings and appearances. People generally like [Werebear], and they get even more excited when they hear about our plans to take it full length as a stage musical in West Hollywood.
When doing mainstream films, do people react to you differently because of your work in the adult industry?
I want people to react to me differently when I’m on-screen as an actor versus [in a video as] an adult model. Largely, I think my time in the adult industry has come to an end, but I’m not making any official announcements. I consider this time to be very transitional for me, and there’s no clear way to go about making such a starkly contrasted change.Have any filmmakers asked you to use the name Brent Corrigan in order to capitalize on your adult following?
I realize this transition won’t happen over night. Right now my aim is to be credited as Sean Paul Lockhart, which is my birth name. But if for promotional reasons, filmmakers need to do the a.k.a. thing, I’m completely on board with that. It’s realistic. It only becomes a problem when a producer and director want me to do a raunchy sex scene in their already gimmicky film, and they only want me in their project because of what the Brent Corrigan brand can provide.
Will you continue doing adult work or do you hope to plant your feet in the mainstream world and stay there?
I don’t like to say "never" because — while "never" rolls off your tongue pretty easily — it hurts way too much when you end up with your foot in your mouth because of it. I have three big projects I’m shooting next year. In one, I play four roles. Another project isn’t even a gay film, and I get to play the villain. With all the traveling I did with the last two films, and all the people I’ve met and worked with up to this point, I’m getting enough work to keep me busy without having to audition. For a gay adult star, I’d say that shows some pretty decent promise.
Are there any non-film projects coming up?
I just launched a new website, Sean-Paul-Lockhart.com. It’s going to be the hub for my new mainstream trajectory. For a few years, I’ve been hearing a fair amount of Brent Corrigan fans say they follow me for all kinds of reasons, aside from the adult element. These same people have wanted a place to stay in touch with me and don’t need to see it all hanging out, so to speak. So, I started a new thread called "Indie Induced Hard-on," which is a dissection and mild critique of all things indie and queer that get us hot and excited. It will take the focus off of me for once and fuel my passion for the written word.
What is your ultimate career goal?
I want to do everything! Ultimately I hope that acting leads to directing and producing. I’m a visually driven person, with a great sense of scope and direction, and I’d love to utilize some of that in my productive life. I also want to write. I have a book in the works that's been a long time coming. Even with everything that can be so disconcerting and frustrating with queer life and the gay community, I still feel empowered by it. I want to do things to further the gay movement and make us a better people. Which means doing a lot of things — some career-oriented, and some not so much. I just want to be in the thick of it.
See an exclusive trailer for I Was A Teenage Werebear below, courtesy of director Tim Sullivan.