Doug Spearman: The Dynamic Director
Doug Spearman, best known for his role as Chance on Logo’s groundbreaking series Noah’s Arc, is now wearing many hats as director, writer and producer of his own feature films, the first of which, Hot Guys With Guns, made a big splash on the festival circuit this year and has been picked up for distribution by Wolfe Releasing.
The film, a gay comedy-action thriller (and a contemporary homage to 1940’s film noir), is a distinctly “L.A movie,” in which local color and personalities are front and center. Upon the film’s screening at Outfest in Los Angeles, Spearman thought he’d either come out of the theater as a hero or the guy being chased by pitchforks.
Based on the reception to Hot Guys, it appears the pitchforks have been safely stowed away.
While Spearman is no stranger to the challenges of production—he’s an Emmy-nominated writer and director of television commercials and image campaigns—he freely admits that putting together his first feature was an entirely different animal. Asked what the experience of directing and producing Hot Guys With Guns was like, he responds with a laugh: “Throwing myself on a grenade every day.”
“It’s really hard. It is like going to war; exhausting and you’re covered with blood all the time,“ Spearman explains. “Hot Guys With Guns was an ultra-low budget feature and it was an amazing amount of favors and people working for pretty much nothing. It was my job not to lose my mind.”
While Spearman confesses he may have lost his mind (though never on set), he doesn’t lose the film. Hot Guys With Guns is witty, fast-paced and, above all—assured. Spearman clearly knows what he’s doing and he manages to subtly present a viewpoint that isn’t regularly seen on film.
“It’s funny because on a lot of levels, Hot Guys With Guns is just a simple little comedy,” Spearman says. “But it’s also kind of politically subversive, and I know that some people get it and for some people it can pass at first glance.”
That “subversive” quality particularly pertains to the black gay experience in a predominately white culture. The two lead characters in Hot Guys, Danny and Pip, are an interracial former couple played by Marc Anthony Samuel and Brian McArdle, who find themselves teaming up as de facto private investigators to bust a West Hollywood crime ring. As Spearman explains, “Most gay movies happen in an all-white universe or an all-black universe, and it’s very rare that you see a movie with an interracial couple, where the race doesn’t matter or where it’s not a plot point. There are guys like me out there whose stories don’t fall into the all-black universe.”
The film confronts this head on and ad-dresses many of the day-to-day occurrences that minorities navigate in a seemingly white gay culture. Adding that there’s something to be said about being the only black guy—let alone black gay guy—in the room, Spearman is keenly aware that these stories won’t be told on their own. So he takes on the responsibility of, at the very least, sharing his story.
And Spearman will be going deeper as he prepares to tackle his next feature film project, Welcome, Sinners. “It’s An Affair To Remember. The forbidden love story and the choices you have to make,” he says.
Welcome, Sinners is scheduled to start shooting in November on location in Philadelphia, where Spearman will be joined by frequent collaborator and Noah’s Arc co-star Darryl Stephens (who also appears in Hot Guys). “Darryl’s the first person I give a script to,” Spearman proudly states. “He’s going to carry this movie in a way that he’s never carried a movie before. It’s going to be very interesting.
“This is what I want to do with my life—work begets work,” Spearman says. “If this were 15 years ago and I were a studio director, I’d be do- ing two, three, four pictures in a year, so what’s to stop me now?”
We don’t think anything will stop this Leading Man.
Photo by Theo Juliett