When filmmaker Jody Wheeler is asked why his films, specifically the acclaimed new thriller The Dark Place, feature a gay lead, his answer is straightforward: It is due time someone did.
“When I was growing up, there just weren’t that many gay images on screen, definitely not outside the After-school Special / Campy / Tragedy kind,” the former therapist and social worker said in a recent interview. “That made an impression on me, so much of my initial work was writing and creating to that need, whether real or just internal to myself. The wonderful part is that it’s only in the last five years that gay characters have been appearing in stories from genres like SciFi, Fantasy, and Horror. So whatever stories are told, they’re new and fresh, in a way profoundly different than what’s already been seen.”
In The Dark Place, now available on DVD and VOD in the U.S and set for a release in Australia in the New Year, a young man returns home to make peace with his long-estranged family. Instead, he finds a harrowing mystery that endangers his life and those he loves.
The lead, Keegan, has been described as a Gay Sherlock Holmes.
Wheeler, one of the founding members of Bent-Con, the Los Angeles LGBT Genre convention that bills itself as “Comic-Con, Only Gayer”, is pleased that the film going community has embraced gay characters on the screen – be it in a big blockbuster movie or small screen offering.
“With how much has changed over the last decades, uniquely gay stories are somewhat – somewhat – less important than they were years ago. We now have one generation and are fast working on a second that have never known a time when they couldn’t see a gay, lesbian, and now trans, character on TV or in the movies. And not just stereotypical characters. It’s pretty amazing.”
The Dark Place, the script of which won UCLA’s Carl David Memorial Screenwriting Award in 2007, is now available in the U.S on VOD and DVD.
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