He is best known for his roles in many LGBTQ themed series such as “Old Dogs and New Tricks”, “Where the Bears Are” and “Boystown”. He’s also the star of several beloved feature films which include “Saltwater”, “Homewrecker”, “Open” and the recent award winning “Reveal”. Bruce has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry especially the LGBTQ field: Greg Louganis, Rutanya Alda (“Mommie Dearest”, “Deer Hunter”), Rebekah Kochan (star of the “Eating Out” films), Brian Nolan (“The Lair”series), Jason Stuart (“Birth of a Nation”), Parnell Damone (“Greenleaf” series) just to name a few.
We reached out to Bruce to discuss his future film projects, his thoughts on an industry impacted by the pandemic and his thoughts on where LGBTQ entertainment may be headed.
How are you doing during these unusual times?
At this point despite this horrific pandemic and this terrible economy I have to say much better! We finally have real leadership for our country. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be a terrific team! For almost four years I’ve felt like somebody trapped in a cult. Thank God most Americans chose not to drink the GOP Kool Aid and helped end this madness. I hope one day very soon to stop saying “unusual times” forever.
I know you’ve been very active as both an actor and a producer—what’s happening?
Wow. Well a lot on the script development side. I’ve been working with my brother Paul A. Hart (director) to develop a few projects which we hope to move forward post-Covid. A TV script for Lifetime, two new LGBT feature scripts and one mainstream horror script. Yes, being on lockdown makes one very productive. I’ve also been in constant communication with Leon Acord who created that amazing web series “Old Dogs and New Tricks”. He has a pilot he’s shaping up that he hopes will star the two of us. That would be amazing!! Much of the next steps for any of these projects rests on the rollout of the vaccine. Thank you, Dolly Parton, for your investment in the vaccine trials!
So, what do you think has changed during this pandemic for show business?
I’ll answer that from an independent LGBTQ film perspective because I rarely work in mainstream projects. One Hollywood icon dubbed me the “Internet phenom” meaning I work primarily in streaming projects. I’m seeing that there are less LGBT features being produced. In fact, the whole genre has shifted to short form content. We’re seeing many more limited run series being produced along the lines of telenovelas. I suspect this transition is a response to the high cost of producing features. But then again everything is cyclical and it could change again.
So short form content is the future in show biz?
Not necessarily. The big studios tried to “horn in” on the concept like they did with web series previously and developed the Quibi platform. And it basically bombed. No, I think short form content is going to be something that the indie market nurtures and it won’t necessarily be co-opted by bigger studios. They have their hands full anyway dealing with how to release feature films without placing them in movie theatres!
Yes, a lot of entertainment is online Zoom readings and more
Absolutely. The cast of the series “Old Dogs and New Tricks” reunited for a Zoom reading of a script that was never filmed. And many writers/producers are doing test script readings via Zoom. I’m less enamored of the latter because as an actor and producer I would find it very difficult to determine how a script was playing with every cast member reading in their own little box. It’s different for a reunion like “Old Dogs” because we already have an established rapport. On a similar subject, all of the auditions I’ve been on have been self-taped, not in-person. It was already headed that way pre-pandemic. My last in-person audition was in March when I was up for a recurring role in a new series. Sadly, the series didn’t move forward. I’m adjusting to the taped audition process. It certainly beats driving somewhere, parking etc. And fortunately, the casting gods aren’t as picky about the self-tapes lately. For awhile there was almost a mandate that actors light, shoot and produce an almost perfect tape. In fact, for a while we were being asked to drive to professional taping studios and pay to have our auditions taped. That seems to have subsided.
You were in a film that played the festivals this year
Yes, I played Uncle Gary in the film “Reveal” which played numerous festivals this past year (and won a bunch of awards). And sadly, the festivals were all online so there was no chance for the cast to gather and watch it together. It really is a charming film. It’s about a gay couple attending a gender reveal party and all of the secrets that emerge. It’s now released online to Prime, YouTube and GayBingeTV. While I’m on the subject of festivals, I hope the pandemic doesn’t damage them. There really is a need for in-person film festivals, especially in underserved areas where the LGBTQ festival is likely the highlight of the year. I’m not talking about some of the larger corporatized festivals. I’m sure some of those still have merit but honestly those aren’t really the showcase for filmmakers like they once were.
How do you promote your projects?
The usual way on social media and via interviews like this one! One thing that bothers me is the lack of support some actors and producers give to each other’s projects–especially in the LGBTQ indie niche. I think we all need to post and promote each other’s work. If we lift each other up we can sustain this market and everyone succeeds. Let’s all respect each other more and help each other out.
What Do you think about the recent gay themed holiday TV movies?
It’s great and a big shout out to producer Jake Helgren for his film “Dashing in December”. I’ve been keeping my eye on this recent trend because if these films do well there could be more of them. And it could also help to generate more LGBTQ roles in other films and episodic shows. Will this particular genre replace traditional “Queer” cinema? I don’t think so. They’re really two separate genres. Both genres are important. The latter is going to show LGBTQ characters progressing beyond merely kissing on camera and actually have them moving to the bedroom, or else it will deal with issues more specific to an LGBTQ audience. These elements won’t likely be explored in a mainstream focused holiday film—but hey who knows? And I’m very excited to see these LGBTQ holiday films on mainstream TV.
Is there any one thing you’d like to do as an actor or producer that you haven’t done?
One wish of mine is to appear in a Lifetime TV film. I’ve done TV films for Prime and the BET Channel but nothing for Lifetime—yet. Hey I’ve played a lot of uncles lately—why not extend that momentum and have me play an uncle in a Lifetime film? Honestly though I’ve gotten to do a lot of what I wanted to do in all arenas—stage, episodic and indie features. Jamie Leigh Curtis once said (before her reboot success of Halloween) “Sometimes you don’t leave the industry—the industry leaves you”. She was speaking of course about the dearth of roles after age 40. I share her view but I remain optimistic. And optimism is what keeps us all going!
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