"I'd dump me the minute someone better came
along," says X, a hardened 26-year-old in the
new film Boy Culture, the adaptation of Matthew
Rettenmund's best-selling 1995 novel of gay male
dysfunction and redemption.
confession is voiced by scruffy straight actor Derek Magyar,
who manages to perfectly project that gay guy
we've all known, or been--too cool for
school, fixated on the physical, just out of reach.
went in playing X as a very masculine man," Magyar
says during a chat at Hugo's, a teahouse in
West Hollywood, Calif. "It made no difference
to me whether he was gay or straight."
Dressed in a gray
sweatshirt and camouflage pants, he looks as effortless
as X. "I look like I'm shipping off to Baghdad
tomorrow," he jokes. "[But] I'm
auditioning for a movie after this."
difficult to imagine Magyar soon finding another role as
juicy and complex as X, a high-end call boy
who's as introspective as he is sexual and as
cynical as he is romantic.
Boy Culture, directed by Eating Out's
Q. Allan Brocka, follows the hungry-for-love X and his
two roommates: Joey (Jonathon Trent), a promiscuous
teenager obsessed with X; and Andrew (Darryl
Stephens), a recently out video store clerk with whom X
falls madly in love. Also figuring prominently is
Gregory (Patrick Bauchau), a 70-something recluse and
X's client, who tells his young charge that he
won't sleep with him until "you want me half
as much as I want you." In the interim they
dissect the nature of gay love and relationships and
develop a bond that transcends john-client relations.
Boy Culture, awarded Best Screenplay at Outfest 2006
to cowriter Brocka and Philip Pierce, is more than the
story of a hooker attempting the straight and narrow;
it's an examination of how gay men interact as
friends, lovers, or an uncomfortable combination of the two.
Most of the men in Boy Culture are unable to
commit to one person. Unsatisfied viscerally,
emotionally, and intellectually with themselves and their
partners, they are perpetually looking for someone better.
character, X, is sort of the cynic in all of us, the
antiromantic," explains author Rettenmund. "In
a way that outlook is a defense mechanism, and X for
many years functioned as a human defense mechanism. To
survive emotionally, it's easier to take no risks.
But to thrive emotionally, risk is necessary."
In taking on X,
Magyar didn't equate the character's sexuality
with his commitment phobia. To the actor, that fear is
not endemic to gay men or even just to men: "We
all try to hide from feelings of love, until we choose
to accept them, for the fear of being hurt, being used,
feeling heartache, having that pain, and building up a