A full house and very enthusiastic audience welcomed Trick director Jim Fall and stars Christian Campbell, J.P. Pitoc and Kevin Chamberlin to the stage of UCLA’s Billy Wilder Theatre to discuss their film following a 15th anniversary screening of the 1999 rom-com Saturday night in Los Angeles. Fall and his cast shared anecdotes about the making of the queer classic.
Campbell and Pitoc, both of whom are straight, were asked by an audience member if making their film debuts as gay characters had an impact on their careers.
“After Trick came out a lot of the scripts I was getting were for gay roles,” Campbell revealed. “I had a lot of resentment about that because as an actor you want to be seen for all the other things you can do.” He added that he eventually got over it and that he’s testing for a gay character on an ABC series later this week.
Pitoc noted he had a similar experience being offered numerous gay scripts after Trick was released. “There are some I wish I’d taken,” he said, with a laugh. “If I hadn’t done this, I wouldn’t have done Six Feet Under because Alan Ball wouldn’t know who I was. I wouldn’t have a career.”
“The gay mafia is very powerful,” Campbell joked. “They’ve taken very good care of me.”
Both lead actors made it clear they are grateful for the experience and “immensely proud” of the film that’s become a gay viewing rite-of-passage.
Pitoc disclosed that people have told him he was brave to make the film. “I don’t think we should get any special credit for playing gay,” he mused. “It’s just a fucking role.”
Campbell noted that the film was made in an era that held a different viewpoint. “We also played gay roles at a time when it might have been considered a killer for your career,” he offered.
Fall added that when casting the film he didn’t care whether the actors were straight or gay. “At that time the list of out gay actors was just Harvey Fierstein and he wasn’t right for anything [in the film],” he cracked to laughter from the audience.
Seeing the comedy again in a crowded theater proved to be a nostalgic experience for many in attendance, who shared personal recollections of when they first watched the film and how it reflected their lives at the time. Some mentioned how refreshing it was in 1999, following a spate of films about AIDS or gay guys infatuated with heterosexual men, to see a romantic comedy about two gay men that contained no agenda besides entertaining an audience.
Yet there was a subversive element to Trick being one of the first to deviate from portraying a drag queen as a caricature and making her a sexualized character. Miss Coco Peru, who appears in the comedy as a more vicious version of herself, delivers a devastatingly funny monologue about her one-night-stand with Pitoc’s character Marc. Fall said this was intentional. “It just made sense to me. I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about whether Coco should be sexualized.”
Fall revealed that he wanted to film the video of the one-night-stand that Peru refers to in her monologue that ends with Marc shooting cum in her eye (“It burns!”) and have it play over end credits. The director joked that maybe it will be in the proposed sequel.
Talk of a potential Trick follow-up was greeted with applause from the audience. Pitoc shared his pitch, which would have Mark and Gabriel having fallen in love and settled down but still trying to find a time and place to have sex due to constant interruptions from their children. Fall dismissed this idea, sticking to what he told Queerty last week about the two men running into each other a decade and a half after their first real date didn’t go well and getting to know each other all over again. The audience was definitely on board and both actors said they’d eagerly sign on.
Pitoc, who sported some seriously sexy facial scruff, joked that he’s willing to get another full body wax to reprise his role. At least we hope he’s joking.