Charlie David is well known to gay audiences thanks to his steamy turn as Toby on Dante's Cove as well as the movies A Four Letter Word and Mulligans (based on his novel). His latest feature, Judas Kiss, will be having its Southern California premiere on September 16 as the opening night selection of the Long Beach Q Film Festival. It will also be released on DVD October 25. David plays Zachary Wells, a successful, egotistical filmmaker who unexpectedly undergoes an intriguing journey both backward and forward in time during a visit to his film school alma mater. The 31-year-old star, who lives in Canada when he isn't traveling the world, recently chatted with me via e-mail in advance of his new project's Los Angeles-area debut.
REV: Judas Kiss is quite different from and more intellectual than most gay themed movies out there. What did you think when you first heard about the project or read the screenplay?
CD: I was intrigued with the idea of getting a second chance at life. I was going through a period of reflection living in South Africa for six months last year and asking myself questions about where I wanted to go next in my life, career and relationships. The characters in Judas Kiss go through similar reflections and so the screenplay certainly resonated with me.
REV: How did you approach your character in Judas Kiss and his rather unique dilemma? How is this character different from others you have played?
CD: I most often play the good guy and although the role of Zachary Wells is not necessarily the antagonist he’s certainly a manipulative guy. I think an actor can get lost in trying to create a character and so I always try to keep story as king. When everyone on the cast and crew is focused on telling the story in the best possible way, all the pieces come together naturally. I’ve never had a substance abuse problem, never had the misfortune of sexual abuse but was able to find other elements of desperation within my own psyche that allowed me to understand the role and hopefully do it justice.
REV: What has been the response of audiences at screenings so far?
CD: The audiences have overall been surprised by the film, I think. It’s definitely a different genre, a different kind of story than what we often see in LGBT film. I think that’s the best part of the film; it’s likely not what you would expect and our team is proud to be offering something unique.
REV: You've already had a pretty lengthy career in film, TV and music for a young performer. What originally led you into the performing arts?
CD: I’ve just always loved being a storyteller and when asked what I ‘do’ in life that’s the answer I give. I love sharing stories – in my writing, acting, hosting, producing, directing – it’s all the same passion with different mediums and means. I started young and spent a lot of my youth on tour buses doing musicals, then got into a band in Vegas and spent my late teens and early 20's opening for artists like Pink, Destiny’s Child, Sisqo, Rick Springfield and Snoop Dogg. I always wanted to work in film and television, though, and when those opportunities came calling I jumped at the chance. I definitely work hard; I have a lot of fun but I’m always looking forward to create opportunity. When my calendar isn’t booked at least six months in advance I have minor meltdowns until it fills up a year in advance. Then I can breathe again.
REV: You are also a published author. How do you keep all your projects and interests in balance? Are you currently partnered or in a relationship?
CD: I love writing, it’s so cathartic for me. I work out in fiction fantasies and fixations from my real life. This year I released my third book, Shadowlands in paperback, eBook and audio book. I loved the audio book experience so much I’ve started recording other authors’ work for a few publishing houses. I’m an avid reader already, so doing the recording seemed like a natural fit. Sometimes my life does seem to get a little out of control, and then I simply take a break, go do some yoga or go to the gym and come back. Even though at any given time there may be a dozen projects in various stages of creation, production or distribution, there are always both hectic and slow periods of each process. That natural ebb and flow helps keep my life in balance. I actively date and treasure the guys in my life. It may not be traditional but then again neither am I. I love the one I’m with, as the song goes, and am open and honest about that.
REV: What are you working on now, or what projects would you like to develop in the future?
CD: We are going into production on season six of (the LGBT travel series) Bump at the end of summer, which will have me globe trotting until the end of March 2012. We’ve got some great destinations this year: Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Taiwan, Portugal, Germany and Tahiti, to name a few! On the weeks of hiatus from the show I’m shooting a pilot for a new fashion TV show I’ll host in Toronto. I’m also excited to direct for the first time this fall. It’s a one-hour documentary for Logo on youth who are HIV positive, with subjects in different North American cities. Last year, we produced three films and they are all coming out on DVD this fall: Judas Kiss, 2 Frogs in the West and Beyond Gay: The Politics of Pride. Outside of work, I’m becoming addicted to yoga, learning French, looking at the stars on a blanket in my backyard and marveling at this miraculous journey on planet Earth.
To learn more, visit Charlie's official website.
Interview by Rev. Chris Carpenter, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and the Blade California.