Interviewing “Private Romeo” Director Alan Brown
In Private Romeo, Director Alan Brown creates a modern day adaptation of Romeo & Juliet with a gay-twist surrounding Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. The film makes its way to Richmond this Wednesday.
Watch the trailer below.
GayRVA.com spoke with Brown about the film. He will be at the University of Richmond on Wednesday for a discussion following the film.
GayRVA: What made you decide to do a gay-themed adaptation of Romeo & Juliet?
I’m very politically involved. My very first film, the 30-min O BEAUTIFUL (‘Boys Life 4; Strand Releasing) was about a brutal gay bashing. And my last feature film, SUPERHEROES (IFC Films) was about a returned Iraqi War vet. Subsequently, I became involved in overturning DADT. There have been a lot of all-male Shakespeare adaptations recently (and of course Shakespeare was originally performed only by men), and when it was suggested to me that I might want to adapt Romeo & Juliet, I immediately thought of placing it in a military setting. The more I examined the text, the more sense it made. Verona, at the time of Shakespeare’s tale, was a male-dominated, hierarchical society, where fighting was a way of establishing one’s identity, and where the idea of individual desire was forbidden. Juliet was real rebel, defying her family and society. The contemporary version would have to be gay to have the same cultural resonance. And a military academy seemed the ideal setting.
What have audience reactions been to the film so far?
We only finished post-production this winter. So we’re just beginning to screen it unofficially for schools and Shakespeare-related events. We hope to premiere at film festivals this summer. Thus it’s been seen mostly by high school and college students – and teachers. The reaction has been wonderful. Young audiences clearly relate to our characters – and to the story’s contemporary relevance. We’ve had audiences cheering at the end. It’s been very satisfying.
What about the film will resonate with gay audiences?
Obviously, gay equality has become, once again, a huge cultural wedge issue. And our film is about gay love – and also touches on issues of bullying. So we’ve been getting very strong emotional responses from gay audiences. And, purely as art and entertainment, the film has a lot to offer gay – and straight – audiences. Our actors are young and handsome and committed and spectacularly talented. We were very fortunate to get the best of New York’s theater actors for this film. They’re a joy to watch.
Have you gotten any responses from active-duty or retired military?
We actually had a military consultant on the film, who isn’t gay, and he was extremely excited by the project and proud to be a part of it. And since the trailer went online, we’ve had lots of positive comments from members of the Armed Forces.
What are your hopes for the film?
As a filmmaker, my hopes are the same as they are for all of my films – I want as many people as possible to see it. And as a politically-involved, gay man, I hope that filmgoers will see it and find it emotionally resonant. And that particularly young gay audiences will find the story meaningful.
The Student Alliance For Sexual Diversity at the University of Richmond hosts a free screening of Private Romeo on Wednesday, April 20, 6 p.m. at the UofR Business School Ukrops Auditorium, 28 Westhampton Way. For more information on the film, visit http://privateromeothemovie.com/.
Kevin Clay is the editor and publisher of GAYRVA.COM. He is a Richmond native, loves the city and knows it's on the edge of greatness. Don't hold back RVA. You can follow Kevin on GAYRVA's Twitter or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whoever Murphy was, his prescient pessimistic maxim has been the springboard for many a twisted tale and romantic comedy. Thankfully, Murphy’s foresight happily leads to another maxim: “All’s Well That Ends Well.” Many years ago, two University of Richmond buddies interested in theatre wrote a play, moved away, went their separate ways, but remained in [...]July 19, 2016
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