Sunday, July 27, 2008

Reel Thoughts Interview: From Sexy to Serious

On the eve of the DVD release of the frisky A Four Letter Word, actor/director Casper Andreas is plotting a meatier follow up with Between Love & Goodbye, the serious movie he planned after completing Slutty Summer in 2004.

A Four Letter Word is not that film, which you’ll now be able to discover when it comes out on DVD in August 19 (click here to pre-orderfrom If you missed the run at your local theater, now’s your chance to see what happened to all the guys and girls from Andreas’ Slutty Summer.

He was happy to reunite all but one of the original actors for A Four Letter Word, which focuses on Jesse Archer’s lusty party boy Luke as he struggles with — gasp! — monogamy with hunky Stephen (hunky Charlie David). It also deals with other kinds of love entanglements, such as the perfect couple (J.R. Rolley and Steven M. Goldsmith) who can’t handle perfection, a bride-to-be (Virginia Bryan) seeking comfort in the arms of her AA sponsor (Allison Lane), and the sex-store manager (Cory Grant) seeking self-love through naked yoga.

Andreas jokes that Archer finally wore him down enough to get him to collaborate on the film, which the two friends wrote together. Andreas starred as well as directed Slutty Summer, so he was glad to step behind the camera exclusively on A Four Letter Word.

“You don’t have to worry about looking perfect all the time,” he laughed.

Already, the film has netted awards at film festivals including Best Picture and Best Screenplay, so Andreas is looking forward to its DVD debut. Not one to rest, apparently, I caught him en route to the Philadelphia Gay and Lesbian Film Festival where he was going to premiere his newest film, the serious one I mentioned, Between Love & Goodbye.

Andreas wanted to explore relationship topics in a more serious way, and actually prefers more dramatic films. He enjoys directing a great deal, even the exhausting road to all the festivals after completion, but he hasn’t abandoned acting. When asked, he did profess a desire to do more acting, but only after he finishes the promotional tour for Between Love & Goodbye.

I asked him what he thought of all of the fuss over California’s legalizing of gay marriage, and he explained that it’s something he’s watching very closely.

“I’m from Sweden, so I’m very interested in the upcoming election,” he explained, noting that the unequal treatment of GLBT Americans plays a big part of what drives Between Love & Goodbye.

Described as “a modern gay drama about falling in and out of love, and the rocky ride in between,” the film’s events are thrown in motion when Frenchman Marcel marries his lesbian friend Sarah so that he can remain in the US with Kyle. Kyle and Marcel are madly in love, but when Kyle’s sister April, a former prostitute, appeals to him to let her crash at his place, he doesn’t realize that she’s also planning on smashing up his happy relationship. As April methodically poisons their happiness, Kyle and Marcel’s relationship tumbles into fits of possessiveness, rage and jealousy. Not the lighthearted tone of A Four Letter Word, to be sure, but it is a film that Andreas is very proud of, and one closer to his own interests.

He noted that if Marcel and Kyle could legally marry, or at least form a legal partnership, they wouldn’t have experienced many of the complications they encountered.

Personally, Andreas feels that he would be content with a legally recognized union with his boyfriend, provided that it gave gay people the same legal rights as everyone else enjoys. In Sweden, a 1987 law defined marriage as between one man and one woman (sound familiar?), but civil unions have been recognized for years. In 2006, a Parliamentary panel deemed civil unions outdated, and recommended that full marriage rights be granted to same-sex couples. Whether it will come to pass is up to the courts and the Swedish Parliament, but clearly Sweden is a more enlightened country when it comes to GLBT issues.

As for A Four Letter Word, its goal is captured in its theme song “A Different Kind of Love,” a catchy little samba that celebrates “love in the twenty-first century” where “people can be what they want to be.”

Now, whether Luke can tame his wild ways for “macho” trust fund baby Stephen, and whether or not the judgmental Stephen is what he seems, is part of the fun of the modern sex romp.

Andreas hopes that people will be entertained and find the film sexy and thought provoking. Maybe with some prodding, your local art house will bring Between Love & Goodbye to your city. If it’s as engrossing as A Four Letter Word is funny, it’s sure to be another hit for the talented Andreas.

Watch the (slightly NSFW) trailers here: A Four Letter Word, Between Love & Goodbye.

UPDATE: Between Love & Goodbye is now available on DVDfrom

Interview by Neil Cohen, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and Phoenix's Echo Magazine.

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