Another Gay Movie Celebrates Its 15 Year Anniversary With A Re-Release With A Surprise Celebrity Cameo
For decades we’ve been watching classic teenage films that revolve around our heterosexual counterparts. Yes, Molly Ringwald is and forever will be a film darling, but not even Pretty in Pink or The Breakfast Club could feature an openly gay character without some type of backlash for the era they were crafted in. Through the ‘90s, we saw the rise of horny teenage films, think of the American Pie franchise or 10 Things I Hate About You. Heck, even in the 2000’s, we laughed alongside Jonah Hill in Superbad, but to some LGBTQ+ viewers, there was always a character missing to fully represent them. Being a teenager stinks and being gay, curious, or closeted on top of that is a whole other level that many of us have lived through and wouldn’t care to revisit. However, one daring creative genius took note of that and crafted a film for his community.
In 2006, writer and director, Todd Stephens, was inspired to have his dream of a mega-gay, teenage movie that our community and beyond would enjoy. He certainly succeeded. Fifteen years later, the content still remains relevant and the film has held up on its own. Stephen’s creation, Another Gay Movie, reads almost as a spoof or parody like Not Another Teen Movie or Scary Movie. It’s campy, over-the-top, and easily rewatchable at any age. AGM remains one of the prime examples of how to successfully portray a gay film. It’s quality is withstanding, the acting is top notch and believable, and the storyline swiftly moves from scene to scene while keeping us engaged until the credit rolls. There’s something incredibly special about AGM, which rightfully earned itself a sequel, and paved a way for future gay films to come to fruition; whether they be bad or good.
In honor of the fifteenth anniversary of Another Gay Movie, Chief Executive Officer of Breaking Glass Pictures, Rich Wolff, felt he and his company should handle the rerelease of distribution. Wolff was involved in the film from its original script, financing, and distribution. Now, we’re being treated to a special surprise celebrity cameo within the rerelease and to bask in the nostalgia of one of the best gay films in cinema. Stephens and Jonah Blechman, who not only produced the film but also portrayed the flamboyant Nico Hunter in AGM, chatted with Instinct about their excitement of the rerelease and getting the already popular film in front of a new age of young gays who may be able to relate. Let’s dive into our exclusive conversation:
Mickey Keating: Okay, I remember watching this when I was barely a teenager. On a re-watch, I was a little curious on the subject material of AGM, it’s hypersexualized – and about teenagers. Then, after thinking about it and getting out of the mind of a woke Twitter user – I realized that films like American Pie specifically advertised sex to heterosexual teenagers. I don’t have a problem with the plot and storylines, but were you afraid you would get some pushback from AGM? Even now on a re-watch, do you think AGM aged well?
Todd Stephens: I think that I wanted to watch the movie that gay, thirteen-year-old me would have wanted to watch. I felt that if straight people could have a crazy, teenage sex comedy, why can’t queers? I loved watching Risky Business and Fast Times at Ridgemont High growing up. I felt that we deserved to have a crazy movie like that, too. It was time to step back and laugh at ourselves and not take ourselves too seriously. It’s interesting to view this movie in the [culture climate] of now. I don’t think the hypersexuality of it is maybe something that hasn’t aged well. The spirit of those films and spoofy movies was an equal opportunity to kind of offend everyone. There’s some things about AGM that I would rethink now, but not about the sex. It’s sex positive and I stand behind that.
MK: One of the many things I love about AGM is that it’s not a coming out story. Hollywood is constantly trying to get gay dollars by making a mainstream gay film, but it’s always a coming out story, an AIDS tragedy, or some type of virtue signaling that is meant for wokeness rather than art. AGM isn’t that.
TS: I thought of AGM as a post-coming out story. I didn’t want being queer to be part of the conflict of the story. I wanted these characters to have the same confidence that anyone does. It’s not like the Boogeyman was being gay. They were all out with themselves. I have already done a coming out movie with Edge of Seventeen. I wanted to move on from that and into the next realm. I think coming out stories are still relevant and new ones need to be made for every generation. But, in 2006, all the gay movies I saw were characters being victimized by being gay. My characters were just having zany struggles trying to get laid like every other teenager.
MK: Jonah, what’s interesting and readily available on AGM’s Wikipedia page, is that you didn’t want to participate in the film at first! But, then you turned around and didn’t just star in it but you also have a producer credit on it.
Jonah Blechman: I had never done a comedy film before. When I first read the script, I was like this is so shocking I don’t want to be a part of this. Afterwards, the script really stuck with me. As an artist, it bothered me that I felt [offended by it]. AGM stood exactly what I stand for, pushing boundaries. It was making a statement and propelling a community forward. As an actor, that’s the kind of work I like to go into and the work that would challenge me. So then I wanted to step in and step in as full force as I could with the experience I had as a producer. It was a look in the mirror. You might be an artist, but what kind of an artist are you?
MK: Were you openly gay during the time you were filming AGM?
JB: I had just finished Hedwig as their youngest performer and I had a fashion line at the time. I wasn’t really out at the time, but I knew that I would have to come out after AGM. I knew how controversial it could be and how it would be. I originally wanted to play the main character Andy, but Todd recommended I play the feminine Nico. Even though I had tapped into my feminine side in Hedwig, my world as an actor was always ‘Don’t be too feminine. Don’t be too gay.’ It was very scary to me. It was until I had Todd’s direction. He kept telling me to take the character bigger and once you get passed the fear, then it was freedom. It was a huge gift to me from him.
TS: I think that’s why the movie worked so well. We all felt free and had fun with it. With Jonah’s character, I wanted to pay homage to a fabulous femme queen. We are either that character or we know them. I love femme queens and boys in makeup. Jonah was holding back at first and finally when it came out it was so liberating. I remember Jonah telling me that he’s hid his whole life being gay as an actor so he was scared to let it out. I’ll never forget that. It was fun being able celebrate that.
MK: Did you get any pushback from production companies when you were shopping this around? Did you do it entirely independently? I always put AGM in the same quality realm as Darren Stein’s GBF or Broken Hearts Club.
TS: Interestingly enough, we had a distributor on board, TLA Video. They’d done queer films before, like Boy Culture. They were really gutsy folks who co-financed the movie. I owe all of the credit to the four main actors and Ashlie Atkinson (who played the main lesbian character, Dawn Muffler). They had chemistry that worked. We were scouting and auditioning. Some came from Los Angeles, the others from New York. Agents were submitting their actors to the film. When we did the sequel, we had more trouble finding actors because the first one was so out there.
JB: Ours was one of the last big budget independent films. The industry got hit after we filmed. That’s why you haven’t seen great queer films, because they couldn’t afford to pay actors to be in these gay movies. We were one of the last gay films to do this [in the early 2000’s]. After I filmed a scene with Survivor’s Richard Hatch in the first film, I remember feeling so empowered about what we were doing. AGM was one of the best working experiences I ever had. It was like the engine was humming and what came out of it was fantastic. I still get recognized from AGM, if I can because I was so colored up. But, I think I get recognized more from This Boy’s Life where I got to kiss Leonardo DiCaprio.
MK: Let’s talk about the sequel real quick! You got to work with RuPaul, managed to make Perez Hilton, and of course the insertion of porn star Brent Corrigan as a mermaid who was just coming off of a murder scandal…
TS: I’d known Perez back when he was Mario and before he got famous. He was really easy to work with. He kept to himself on set. He was working really hard at that time and at the height of his website. He would constantly need to go back to his room to work, but we had a lot of fun. RuPaul we got a year before she created RuPaul’s Drag Race. She’s a pro. Brent’s murder thing happened before we filmed the sequel. He talked to us about the scandal. He wasn’t involved in it. It was rival porn producers. I don’t want to go into it too much because I don’t know all the facts. Working with him – I thought he was fabulous and wonderful. He has a lot of charisma.
JB: Brent has a lot of charisma in a lot of his films. And, let’s not forget RuPaul played a talk show host in the sequel! I always tease that our film was the first incarnation of seeing RuPaul as a television host.
MK: Quick shout out to Instinct…but in one scene one of your characters is reading a physical copy of Instinct Magazine back when we were in print! I was like, wait what an Easter Egg!
TS: I think I’ve worked with Instinct before. That was product placement. We got paid to promote the old dating website, Manhunt, too – and some lube company. Product placements were a big part of how the movie got financed.
MK: So, the rerelease features Mink Stole in an unseen scene. She’s been in virtually everything! What can you tell me about the scene with her?
TS: The CEO of Breaking Glass wanted me to do almost a director’s cut of AGM. I haven’t watched the film in years. Whoo, it still has this energy that pops. I went back through the deleted scenes and I was like, no I don’t need this in there. It would be fine as a deleted scene on a DVD… except the Mink Stole scene. John Waters films are a big inspiration to me. Mink was in a lot of his films. Her scene is inspired by the movie Trick with Coco Peru and Broken Hearts Club. It’s a long monologue that at the time didn’t feel like it fit in the movie. But, after watching I was like ‘This is brilliant I have to put this in!’. We didn’t hone the scene at the time. Her first take was gold. It made me ask why I cut it out of the original in the first place.
MK: Before I leave you both I want to get a quick update on your current lives! Jonah, I see that you just joined Instagram like days ago… welcome to the internet!
JB: I did! When I was growing up as an actor and an artist…we didn’t have social media. Social media is like, this isn’t an actor this is who you are. I’ve grown in the industry as an actor, writer, and publicist. I am a part of a group called Revry where I help out fellow gay creatives. I have four films coming out and I’m so excited to show you these characters. I’m in another film that I’m sure Todd will tell you all about. I’m playing a pet physic who is eccentric in a Revry series. And another film coming out in the spring called Claw. But, I mostly write and shepard LGBTQ+ talent as a publicist and working with my network.
TS: After Another Gay Sequel, I went underground for awhile and became a film professor, which I still do. I always wanted to finish my ‘Ohio Triology’ as I call it. It’s after Edge of Seventeen and Gypsy 83. It’s called Swan Song and is premiering at SXSW. Jonah is in it, and Udo Kier, and so is the incredible Jennifer Coolidge! My trilogy is loosely connected to the other films and is somewhat inspired by my hometown.
After digging deep into my past, I realized that I had watched AGM when I was just fifteen-years-old…hidden from my family, I still can’t exactly recall where or what platform I watched it on. Upon my re-watch of the film, I recalled how scandalous it was to be watching something that was labeled so taboo for the time of the original release. Yes, I was turned on. Yes, I knew I was watching actual porn stars and simulated scenes that may have had me exploring more of my blossoming sexuality than other mainstream movies in this same trope. I remember feeling normal. I was actually picking up on the language, sometimes I’d be left in the dark with sexual innuendoes from other movies and needed someone to explain it to me, like the dancing/period scene in Superbad for example. I understood AGM and it kind of read as a bible of sorts. While the gay community is wildly different from person to person, many of us experience the same strange teenage years and AGM nails our journey flawlessly. As a creative, it was thrilling to get to speak with Stephens and Blechman who have paved a path for me to pursue a career in our stressful industry. Stephens’ determination to craft a film specifically for gays just like me who secretly watched in their homes in awe gave me goosebumps as I observed a literal inspiration tell his tales. Blechman is all smiles when he speaks about his work with fellow LGBTQ creatives and his long career. It was so much fun to chat with both of them and it made me realize how important a rerelease of AGM will be in order to reach the very vocal, media addicted Gen Z who will absolutely be engulfed by their new favorite film.
The exciting rerelease of Another Gay Movie will hit on-demand services like Amazon Prime, iTunes, Vudu, and Google Play on April 27th while an official DVD rerelease, including over eight bonus features, will be available a week later on May 4th. How will you be watching?
In the meantime, let’s revisit AGM with an official rerelease trailer below:
Writer’s Note A: This is the opinion of one Instinct Magazine contributor and does not reflect the views of Instinct Magazine itself or fellow contributors.
Writer’s Note B: Quotes have been edited for clarity.