From: Tim Evanson <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
Subject: Ryan Idol Interview II
Date: Wed, 21 May 97 21:21:36
If you're a gay porn star, you're in San Francisco, and you're appearing in a play about gay porn, I guess the local gay paper will also notice. :) And so the "Bay Area Reporter" did and they, too, interviewed Ryan Idol.
Of course, my take on this interview was that it was totally sycophantic. (Best actor in gay porn? Who the hell is Will Shank kidding??) The interviewer clearly was a rabid Idol fan, and really didn't have much perspective on the man or his career. I found almost all of the questions to be soft-balls, and that upset me. A lot of them were repeated, and that upset me, too. Idol doesn't do a lot of interviews, and yet everyone refuses to ask the questions most of us want asked. *sigh*
Despite BAR's not-so-subtle re-writing and editing of Idol's interview, I found Idol's arrogance coming through again. Budgeting, writing, casting, and directing a film? I doubt it. And with Jerry Douglas? That would be a huge step upward. Not that it's out of bounds, but I'd like confirmation from someone else.
However, I appreciated the information about "Idol Gods." Although in "Manshots" a totally different plot for the film had been bandied about by Idol and his then-agent David Forest, it seems that that plot has been jettisoned in favor of this new one. I'm not so sure that it's the "out with a bang" film that Idol's looking for, but oh well. We can just wait and see.
Some corrections: Idol gets fellow porn star Blue Blake's name wrong. Idol claims he will tour to Toronto and London, but he says in his Chronicle interview that he's done after SF. I'm not sure about his revelation of Amerind heritage; that's a new one on me. (And maybe that's how he remembers New Hampshire, but that's not the real New Hampshire.)
Anyway, here is the interview. Enjoy!
"Ideal Idol. Porn Star Ryan Idol: Man of Mystery," interview by Will Shank. Bay Area Reporter, May 8, 1997, pp. 33, 44.
I had been warned that Ryan Idol was high-strung and could be, un, difficult. But in a recent interview following a performnce of "Making Porn," the Ronnie Larsen vehicle in which the legendary porn star/actor is starring, I found him a complete pussycat. Charming and articulate, he was a pleasure to be with, the only difficulty being the distraction of his perfect looks. Born Marc Anthony Donais 30 years ago in Worcester, Massachusetts, Idol today is maturing into an Alec Baldwin look-alike, with the same great hair, chiseled features, smoky voice, and mesmerizing eyes. He is also an actor on the rise. During the course of our hour-long conversation, we talked about making porn, "Making Porn," legitimate theater, food, and sex.
"Making Porn" is not news. The story of a frustrated straight actor who resorts to making gay porn has had several lives. But as enacted by Idol and co-star Joanna Keylock, the play, currently at the Cable Car Theatre, is enjoying new life and, yes, star power.
On the night I saw the show, Ellen Morgan DeGeneres had just come out as a lesbian. Hence, there was a certain symmetry to the evening. I was, after all, conversing with a man whose gay sexual activity is a matter of very public record, but whose own sexuality is in question.
Will Shank: I saw "Making Porn" for the first time last January in New York, and I noticed that you and Joanna play off each other quite well. I was glad to see you cast together again.
Ryan Idol: I kind of requested it. I brought Joanna along because Caryn Horwitz, the producer, and I have a good working relationship, and she asked me what cast I wanted in San Francisco, and I told her that the perfect cast would be the same one that we had in New York. We also had Blue Lake in New York, who's great, but he want back to London. Now we've got Patrick O'Connor, the original Ray in the workshop production, here in San Francisco. The show is going to tour, at least to Toronto and London, so I guess it's guaranteed employment for quite some time. I may not be able to do every city, but I'll try.
Will you be doing videos in between?
My last film, "Idol Gods," should be released in the spring of 1998. We've talked about it for many years, and it's finally gonna be a real thing. I'll be writing and co-directing with Jerry Douglas, and I'm handling the budget and casting. It'll be one of the best videos I've ever made, and one of the best in the business.
I have long maintained that you're the best actor in porn. You have such self-awareness, and it comes across quite well on stage, too. I hope you'll do more theatre.
I definitely want to pursue my theatre career. I'd love to play danny Zuko in "Grease" and Tony in "West Side Story." I foresee doing "Grease" in about a year and "West Side Story" in two years. But it's kind of a dream.
You've got the face forit; are you Italian?
No, I'm French, Irish, and American-Indian. Mostly French and Irish. I grew up in Massachusetts until I was 13. Then I moved in with my mother's sister in New Hampshire for a while. She showed me a different side of life in an "Eight Is Enough" kind of family. New Hampshire was conservative, an ideal kind of place, with no crime, no homelessness, no poverty, and it showed me that there is something to live for. In Worcester I grew up on the streets, and it was tough. I've struggled over the years, but now, at 20, I'm in a place I really like.
So tell me about the gay thing.
The gay thing.
What's the "gay thing"?
Everyone wants to know if you're gay or straight.
I think that's what makes my career what it is -- there's a mystery there. Everybody who wants me to be gay thinks I'm gay, and everybody who wants me to be straight thinks I'm straight. I'm not evading the question, but I would prefer to maintain the aura of mystery. I will say sincerely that I'm into the plesures of the flesh, but I've never liked labels.
I have to ask the question because the theme of "Making Porn" is about a straight man who makes a living doing gay porn.
Absolutely, but I think it's important to keep the mystery there, and that's part of the fun of the play. I love mystery.
How come you don't use your real name?
I've always believed that if you crawl under a rock and try to hide something, people will want to dig it up ten times more. I want to use ryan Idol as my crossover name. Marc Anthony Donais and Ryan Idol are one and the same. Ryan Idol is a name that is very well recognized, and I love that name. I created it.
If your theatre career takes off, will you leave porn films behind?
I always wanted to be a movie star. I don't mean to knock the movies, but I think it's so hard to get into. I guess some people think it's hard to get into the theatre, but I'm hooked on performing live, in front of an audience. You can grab your audience and you can lose your audience -- but you can also get them back. That's the challenge.
But if you pursue staight theatre, will you continue to make porn films?
I think it would phase out. I wouldn't want to disgrace my audience, but I would never try to hide it either.
Tell me about your next project.
My new movie, "Idol Gods," takes place in an art museum. The gods are porn guys who were turned to stone because the government wanted to show that they could get control of the Sexual Revolution. So 20 years later it comes back to where it started at the Los Angeles Museum of Modern Art (sic). These guys are released from bondage and they come alive, and it's a big sexual expression. When the gods are released from bondage the message is even greater. This is going to be my last piece, and it's going to be a piece of art. We start shooting it in the summer of '97.
What do you mean by "last piece"?
I want to go out with a statement, a nice piece of work, an art piece. I'm not going to put an end to the Ryan Idol career, but I have other things I want to pursue.
Hollywood take note.
Pepto Bismol, take note of the distress in my stomach.... YECK!