Gentlemen’s Corner: Gary Gray Talks Playing a Gay Man and Working Alongside Mo’Nique in ‘Blackbird’
VIBEVixen: Let’s talk about your new film Blackbird. What drew you to this project?
Gary Gary: I previously worked with the director Patrik Ian Polk and that played a huge part of why I chose to be apart of it because I know he’s such a fearless director and he doesn’t do anything not worth doing. When he called and told me about the project, I was immediately interested.The character was one that I really wanted to play because I never really done anything with that many layers. Especially growing up doing Disney and a lot of Nickelodeon shows, it never really allowed me to go that far into my craft. So I definitely jumped at the chance to do that. And loved doing it.
You play a gay character in the movie. Tell us about him.
Efrem is the name of the character. He’s multi-layered. Very troubled. He’s the kind of character that, even though they have a certain bravado on the surface, there’s just so much going on and possibly wrong beneath the surface. He is the best friend to the main character, Randy and he really is the encourager [sic] of all things bad. He wants complete and utter anarchy and he just wants everybody to be free. That’s good and bad for the story. Just a very troubled character, but at his core his intentions are good.
What was it like working alongside the Academy Award winning actress Mo’Nique and thespian veteran Isaiah Washington?
It was fantastic. Mo’Nique is such a sweetheart. Just amazing to work with and a fantastic actress. The same goes for Mr. Washington as well. I have studied his work before working on the project and he’s just such a phenomenal human being, the things that he does in regards to charity is astounding. On set, he’s the complete opposite of what I thought he would be. I’m thinking he’s just this grand actor who would be so serious on set, but he’s actually a joker and he’s a character. It was just a lot fun being on set and working with him and Mo’Nique. Not many people get to work with those kinda names in one project.
What advice would you give to any young African American males out there struggling with their sexuality and acceptance from their family and friends?
My advice would be if you are upset or worried about coming out and actually letting people know what you consider to be the real you, just know that anyone who is not accepting of that doesn’t deserve you and doesn’t deserve their presence in your life. It’s tough and it’s hard to see who’s there for you, but in the end you’re just going to be a better person for it. To live in a shadow or in fear of letting the world know who the real you is, is a lot worse than the alternative. Just face fear and be fearless. That’s really what the movie Blackbird is about.