Role playing with Director Rob Williams
Published Thursday, 09-Sep-2010 in issue 1185
Rob Williams is on his fifth film and this one has already got most on the edge of their seats. Role/Play, Williams newest film, is about a hunky soap opera star Graham Windsor, played by Steve Callahan who also starred in (East Side Story, Make the Yuletide Gay and Nine Lives) is outed. This happens as a result of a gay sex tape scandal so Windsor does what any outed gay actor would do and escapes to an exclusive Palm Springs resort for refuge. This all changes when a handsome marriage-equality activist Trey Reed, played by Matthew Montgomery who also was a co-producer for role/play and acted in (Redwoods, Back Soon, Pornography: A Thriller), ends up at the same resort, to escape from his bitter divorce. The two soon find themselves attracted to each other and passion begins to blossom. Will they be forced to confront their professional downfalls? How will they deal with a media firestorm with the gay press at the helm? The film also stars David Pevsner (Adam & Steve and Pornography: A Thriller) as Alex, a long suffering innkeeper. Other co stars include Brian Nolan (The Lair) as Ricky, a young man with a past of his own; Matthew Stephen Herrick (Daydream Obsession 3: Legacy) as Graham’s ex-boyfriend, Parker Ryland and Jim J. Bullock (Too Close for Comfort, The Jim J. and Tammy Faye Show) as Graham’s frustrated agent, Bernie. role/play will premiere on Wednesday, September 15th at the Birch North Park Theatre at 7 pm and the cast and crew will be there to sign autographs and meet movie goers. With an outstanding director and crew this is a film not to be missed. We caught up with Rob to ask him about role/play and what fans and those new to his films could expect.
GLT: What was your motivation to become a director and getting into the film industry?
RB: I have always been a huge fan of movies. I was really looking for a creative outlet and I had just reached a point where I had seen so many bad gay films that I figured there is no way that I can do worse. (Laughs) So I decided I would try my hand at it. I did not go to film school, however I had done a lot of public relations writing for large corporations. This ranged from speeches to corporate videos. It was my position to get the clients point across and I feel that type of work really aided me in the making of films and conveying a message and understanding what the audience wants. Again, I have loved movies since I was a little kid and knowing what I like and what I don’t like and why has been a huge part of making films and something I can always borrow from.
GLT: What makes role/play different from your other films?
RB: This film deals with current events and things that are taking place now. It is about things that are happening all over the news. It is a film that will engage, and has a heavy dialogue. My last film was a holiday comedy and it was very well received but was totally different in a lot of ways from role/play. This film has great chemistry as the two leading male actors are a couple in real life. They are naked for many scenes in the film and give amazing performances.
GLT: What is it like working with your partner on your films?
RB: Well, it is always a challenge when you work with the person you are in a relationship with. However, we work so well together. We help each other and after having completed five films together we know our roles and know what we do well.
GLT: Do you believe that each film gives you a new perspective and idea of what people want from a film?
RB: Absolutely! I have learned more about the art of making films, what distributors want to see and what audiences want to see with every film. It has also made me a better businessman by knowing what others in the industry are doing and wanting to do.
GLT: Do you feel that there is a stigma that gay films are not as good as mainstream films?
RB: Of course there are people who feel that way and a lot of times they don’t stray away from mainstream films. Others love GLBT films. In general all indie and gay films are looked at as bad or not as good. The problem with these films is that they are not being judged on their own merit and that is really difficult at times.
GLT: What has been the oddest feedback or reaction that you have received about your films?
RB: People not liking that most of my films have happy endings. It is almost like they want the community on screen to have this tragic ending. I have had people who have seen my films say why did you give the characters a happy ending? I just feel that there are enough gay films that portray the community in a sad or tragic way. I like making films that are positive images of our community. I like to show people that they can come out to their parents or find a relationship and be happy. While there is room for both, I just think that we need more positive and uplifting movies.
GLT: What are your hopes for the outcome of the premiere and how the film is received?
RB: I hope that it will get people talking and maybe help celebrities and actors have a dialogue about gay and lesbian actors and celebrities being outed. I would hope that the gay media will be talking about it. I hope that it will engage people who see it and create and spark a lively debate.
GLT: What are your hopes for GLBT cinema and film?
RB: Oh gosh! I would hope that gay films become more mainstream. The indie gay film makers are making more relevant films and I wish there was a better way to get them out there. Distributors, for the most part, cover mainstream but do not care about the smaller gay films that are out there, and I hope that will change.
GLT: What advice would you give to a young GLBT person who would like to get into the industry?
RB: I would say find an internship at a gay film company to learn your craft. Look at all the movies that are out as you need to know what is out there. Find a way to achieve what you want and don’t let anyone or anything stand in your way.
Rob, thanks for taking the time to talk with The Gay & Lesbian Times. We wish you the best in the future and success with the premiere of role/play.