QUEERTY EXCLUSIVE

Why Was Justin Long Stalking The Gay Director Of “For A Good Time Call…”?

Hitting theaters on August 31, the raunchy sex comedy For A Good Time, Call… sees two unlikely Manhattan roommates launch a successful phone-sex line to pay the bills.

The film’s screenwriters, Katie Anne Naylon and Lauren Miller (who also stars) based the film on their real-world relationship: Two two met in college, when Naylon actually worked as a phone-sex operator.

Actor Justin Long (He’s Just Not That into You) plays Jesse, a big-screen version of Miller and Naylon’s real-life mutual gay best friend. (As Graynor puts it, “you’re seeing an homage.”) And even though Long has played a gay-porn star opposite Brandon Routh in Zack and Miri Make a Porno, and one half of a same-sex married couple in the Funny or Die short “Devin & Glenn,” he wanted to do the character justice.

So he shadowed Good Time’s openly gay director, Jamie Travis. “He asked if we could have dinner,” recalls the Canadian-born filmmaker, “and said he wanted to record me reading lines from the script on his iPhone.”

Travis (left), who’s making his feature-directorial debut, wasn’t immediately thrilled with the idea: “Of course I was very nervous—the last thing I wanted was for this character to be a caricature of me,” he says. “But Justin brought so much to [Jesse]—I see so much of him in it.”

Fortunately Long focused more on small mannerisms than creating a cinematic doppleganger. “On set, he was sort of shadowing my movements, the way I put my hand on my hip, the way I would stand at the monitor,” says Travis. “I think it was less shadowing my personality and more my physicality.”

Indeed, if you watch the film and then meet the director, you’ll notice unmistakable resemblances—from Jesse’s  elegant but masculine speaking voice to his posture and predilection for bow ties.

And while the idea of a straight actor affecting a gay man’s mannerisms may be troubling to some, Travis believes that Long’s interpretation stays on the respectful side: “It was very important for me that Jesse not be an oversexualized, over-the-top gay male stereotype,” he recalls.  “Originally the character was envisioned in a different way, and I was so happy when, through the process of casting and rewriting, it became more and more like, well, me!”

Below, a trailer for For a Good Time Call…, which also stars Seth Rogen, Nia Vardalos, James Wolk and Mimi Rogers.