This is Part 2 of Chapter 114 in the "Queer Theories" series.
Go back to "When I Paint My Masterpiece -- Part 1", the previous section.
The narrator is Justin Taylor, featuring Brian Kinney, Jimmy Hardy, Michael Novotny, Ben Bruckner, Debbie Novotny, Vic Grassi, Peggy Doyle, Ramon, Larry King, Others.
Rated R and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: Justin must try to fix things when he gets to L.A. Los Angeles, November 2002.
Disclaimer: This is for fun, not profit. Watch Queer As Folk on Showtime, buy the DVDs, videos, and CDs. Read the stories and enjoy.
I have to steady myself as the interview with Larry King begins. Really hold myself still and unwavering. NOT lose my focus. Because Brian is going to need me. Need me badly.
My mind keeps going back to New York and doing 'Letterman' and what a blast it was. The fun we had 'making out' in the Green Room and fooling around. We even had fun with Jimmy that night, before he got all weird at the dance club later that weekend and started coming on to me. Jimmy was definitely tweaked at the club. He HAD to be to bring up that fucking video tape! And Brian was moving purely on water, oxygen... and lust for me. But tonight it's all turned around. Because now I can clearly see that Brian is high. There's no doubt. And Jimmy -- it's hard to tell. He always acts like he's a little high, but I think it's more his manic personality than real drugs most of the time.
I wish I know who gave Brian the drugs and what they gave him. It could have been Jimmy or Peggy, but then again it could have been any of those studio guys. Or the make-up people. Or... just about anyone! Because Ron has contacts everywhere in this city. It's his territory. These are people who want to please an up-and-coming director. Or who just want to do an up-and-coming movie star a 'favor.' Shit!
I know that Xanax alone wouldn't have the effect it's having on him. One Xanax would just calm him down. Two would make him all floaty. So it's possible that he's taken something else, too. Or some strange California combo of ugly drugs. Brian has told me about those. A kind of Asian 'E' that makes you psychotic, for instance. Or different types of downers that make your blood pressure dive until you're in a fucking coma.
Larry is talking, asking incredibly stupid questions about 'The Olympian.' Jesus, he can hardly even get the word' gay' out of his mouth without stumbling on it. And every question he asks begins with the phrase, "As a straight man...." Jesus, what a jerk! Jimmy is answering most of Larry's clueless questions. Yes, the film is graphic. Yes, the film is unapologetic about its use of sexuality to tell the tragic story of Bobby and Guy. Yes, there is nudity and scenes of hot man-on-man action! Well, Jimmy doesn't say THAT, exactly -- but he should. He just should fucking SAY it! Just say... something. Say the truth. For once.
And Brian is sitting there, smiling serenely. He looks so gorgeous and so fucked up! That deep blue shirt reflects and contrasts with the green and gold in his eyes, making them look like something from another universe, from somewhere cool and unworldly. The top buttons of his shirt are undone, revealing the curve of his neck, the deep bones of his shoulder. And his heart charm resting in the hollow of his throat. I'm getting hot just looking at him. I bet all over the country guys are getting hard just watching their television screens. Women, too. Not getting hard, but whatever women do when they get hot.
I mean, I'm STILL fucking furious with Brian for being in this state to begin with! Even though it probably isn't his fault. He was a wreck in the car -- all because of that scene at the studio with that fucking Ron! He was just so nervous and anxious. I swear that if Vic had given me Ron's container of Xanax before I got into the limo or while we were driving to the studio... I... I might have given Brian one. Or even two. But that's all! Because Brian's fucking hands were shaking. He was a mess. He's calmer now. I see him smiling. I see him right in front of me and then I see him on the television monitors. Too beautiful. Too calm. Smiling in the way he never smiles unless he's completely wasted.
A Beautiful Demon. That's what I called him in England when he was dressed up in his 'Hammersmith' Rock God clothes, with his eye make-up and his leather and his chains. That Beautiful Demon. That's what I fell in love with. It is. That's what picked me up under that streetlight and took me to his lair and fucked the living shit out of me. And there's a part of me that will always want Brian to be that. Because it always excites me. That dangerous, cruel, arrogant creature. The one that tries to kill himself with drinking and drugging and fucking. And there's a part of me that wants to be right there, doing it with him. That danger. That edge. That excitement. That menacing, risky element of his personality. I don't want to lose that! I don't.
But there's another part to Brian -- and always has been. His sensitivity, his kindness, his loyalty. Even within that Beautiful Demon there was another side -- the side that made me love him even more. The side that made me STAY with him, even after all the trouble and pain and angst. That is the part of him that can love me BACK and isn't afraid to admit that he CAN love. I want the Demon, but I want that Other, too. Because a part of me doesn't want Brian to be 'domesticated' -- as he calls it -- to always be a good boy and eat right and not harm himself or fuck himself up. But I also don't want him to kill himself. And I don't want to kill myself, either, just for his sake. How is it possible for him to be this snarky, cruel, and lascivious creature, while still being my Romantic hero? My Heathcliff? How can I even reconcile these two dynamics in my poor head? How fucked up am I, to be thinking all these things? How fucked up are WE?
I gaze at the set and I can tell by the way Jimmy is giggling and the way Brian is smirking and glancing around that he's stroking Jimmy under the table. Yes! Brian is a goddamn lunatic because he and Jimmy are live on coast-to-coast television and he's groping 'America's Boy Next Door' right in front of Larry fucking King! And Jimmy is encouraging him! He's making little comments and giving Brian little pushes as he makes them. Encouraging Brian to go overboard. To take the piss out of Larry King. They are BOTH walking on the edge of the ledge.
"So, Jimmy -- in this film you play a... gay man? But you don't know you're gay? Help me out here, Jimmy." Larry acts like he has no idea what the film is about. He's obviously reading the questions off the note-cards on his desk or off the teleprompter. It's amazing to me that he can even figure out that much!
Jimmy leans back and smiles as Brian sighs audibly. "Yes, Larry, I play a gay man," explains Jimmy. "A queer -- and I know it from the beginning. But I don't want to admit it. I don't want to admit my feelings for another man." Jimmy glances over at Brian and smirks again. "However, Larry, that's not exactly what the film is all about. It's really about homophobia in sports and in American life. Homophobia in American male culture. Right, Brian?"
"Oh," says Brian, trying to focus his eyes. "That's right. American male culture. ALL male culture. It's an important statement. About... American culture. And males. In it."
I put my head down on my hands. Brian has no idea what he's talking about. He barely knows where he is.
And Larry nods like HE has some idea of what the conversation is about. But he's clueless, too. Completely clueless. "So, tell me, Jimmy -- as a straight man. What's it like to have to kiss another guy on screen?"
Jimmy grins and cuts his eyes over at Brian. "As a straight man, Larry, I can say unconditionally that it's just like kissing a guy OFF screen. Right, Brian?"
"Oh," Brian nods, his eyes unfocused. "Kissing straight guys OFF screen is definitely JUST like kissing them ON screen. Definitely. You can't tell the difference at all."
Both Brian and Jimmy start laughing uncontrollably. Now I'm almost certain that Jimmy is stoned, too. It's just harder to tell with Jimmy because he always acts like he's high. And I'm trying hard NOT to leap out of my seat and run up onto the set and kill both of them for being such fucking idiots!
Poor old Larry regroups. He glances up at the teleprompter and then down at his note-cards, looking for a direction to take the discussion. "So... This movie sounds like it was a lot of fun to make. Like you two had a really good time on the set."
"Larry, you have no idea," says Jimmy. "You should have been there!"
"Yeah," says Brian. "It was a million laughs to make. Especially the ending." Now Brian isn't smiling. He looks at Jimmy. And then he looks off-camera, directly at ME. He catches my eyes and stares. Just fucking STARES at me! And a chill goes through me because I know that the movie ends with Brian -- I mean BOBBY -- dead on the ground. Killed by a homophobic bigot.
"But this movie is NOT a comedy, is it? Do I have that right?" asks Larry in total confusion.
"No, Larry," answers Jimmy, trying to get back on track after fucking this interview up totally. But it's too late for that. Really too late. "It isn't a comedy. It's a very serious film. But Brian and I are a little slap-happy from being out publicizing the film constantly. You know what I mean? We are just having too much fun to let it all end, right, Bri?"
"Oh, right, Jim. Too much fun to let it end," Brian says, looking off into the distance. It seems like he's trying to focus himself. Trying to get back to the real world. But if he's really on 'E' then that's not going to happen anytime soon.
"And this is your first picture, Brian? Is that correct? This is a big, big role for a newcomer," Larry continues.
"This is my first movie, but it isn't my first movie to come out. I made another picture in England which has been released there already. But it hasn't opened in this country yet." Brian blinks at Larry, like he's trying to get himself together.
"'Hammersmith,'" Jimmy interjects. "That's the name of Brian's other picture. Right, Brian?"
"Yeah. 'Hammersmith.' Sir Kenneth Fielding is in that movie, too. He's also in 'The Olympian,'" Brian says, reaching for the cup of water on the desk. He sips it. His mouth must be really dry. Now I'm certain that he's taken 'E' or something similar. It makes you really dehydrated.
"Sir Kenneth Fielding!" says Larry. "He's in BOTH of your movies? What's he like to work with? Your making your first film and he's like a legend in England. He's a knight and everything. And he's REALLY gay, too. Isn't he?"
"Oh, he's gay. Really gay. Very, very British -- and gay," says Brian.
"Hey, now, Larry, Sir Kenneth Fielding may have a knighthood, but I'm not exactly chopped liver, you know!" Jimmy laughs.
"Oscar-winner Jimmy Hardy! Not exactly chopped liver! We'll be back in a minute to talk about this controversial new movie with the not-exactly-chopped-liver Jimmy Hardy and his co-star, Brian Kinney."
And they go to another commercial.
I can't stop myself. I get up and run onto the set. To Brian. "Brian? Are you okay? Are you?"
"Hey, Sunshine. How am I doing so far?" Brian giggles and reaches out to take my hand. He squeezes it and rubs his thumb across my slave bracelet. "And how are YOU doing?"
"Who cares how I'm doing, Brian? Are YOU all right?" I look around. "Do you need more water?"
"Hey -- You better sit down, Baby Blue," says Jimmy. He isn't smiling.
I just ignore Jimmy and instead I concentrate on Brian. I look into his eyes and whisper to him. "I love you. You're going to be fine, Brian. Just keep yourself focused. Everything is okay."
The director grabs my arm. "Please take your seat! Twenty seconds, everyone! Please!" And he pulls me off the set and hangs onto my arm as the commercial ends.
"I was just trying to help Brian," I whisper.
The director's face is impassive. "There's nothing you can do now. They are on the air."
"We are here with the stars of a hot new movie that is premiering tomorrow right here in Hollywood," chirps Larry, reading off the teleprompter. "It's called 'The Olympian' and it is a very controversial look at homophobia in sports and in American culture. Did I get that right, Jimmy?"
"That's precisely right, Larry," Jimmy smirks. "It's a film that's right up YOUR alley, Larry."
"My alley, Jimmy? I don't think so!" Larry shakes his head. "So, what's it like to kiss a guy in a movie, Jimmy?"
Brian starts to crack up and Jimmy tries not to join him. "I think I answered that one, Larry. It's no problem if you have a hunky guy like Brian here. It's pretty easy, actually."
"Always the kidder, Jimmy. Always the kidder!" Larry replies, ignoring the fact that Jimmy isn't kidding. Not at all. "But doing some of the scenes that you have to do, that must be difficult, Brian."
Brian blinks a few times, like he's not expecting Larry to address him. "I... I wouldn't call it difficult. It's a challenge to do any scene in a film. Any acting is a challenge for me. I wouldn't want to say that it was anything other than a challenge. I mean, that is the character that Ron wrote for me...."
"That is great new director Ron Rosenblum, who also wrote the screenplay!" booms Larry.
"Yes. Ron Rosenblum," says Brian, trying to continue his train of thought. "That's the character, Bobby, who I signed on to play. And very much part of his persona, his personality, is his sexual life. And so I had to be committed to that."
Larry nods and then asks, "Brian, do you have any regrets over taking the part?"
Brian looks at Larry like he's an idiot. I mean, here's Brian starring in this fabulous movie and he's asking if Brian has any regrets! Just because the character he's playing is a fag! Jesus! "No," he replies.
But Larry just won't let it go. "Not at all?"
Brian's eyebrow shoots up. "Not at all. I've had an amazing experience growing as an actor, growing with my fellow actors, like Jimmy and Sir Kenneth. I... I've learned that... that...."
"That I love you," whispers Jimmy, cracking up. But it isn't funny. Not at all. Brian just stops what he's saying and looks around, confused.
"Oh, shit!" I hear Debbie say out loud from the chairs in the back. Someone shushes her.
"What did you say, Jimmy?" says Larry. I actually think the guy is deaf, because no one could miss what Jimmy has just said right on live television.
"I said that I LOVE working with this guy! He's so humble! Aren't you, Brian?" And Jimmy turns and gazes at Brian.
"I... Whatever, Jim," Brian says. And he reaches for the water again, gulping it down.
"There's a big buzz around this picture, Jimmy," says Larry, plunging on with his prepared questions. "A big Oscar buzz for you, personally, Jimmy." Larry's tone is flattering. He's kissing up to Jimmy Hardy and he doesn't care how obvious he's being. Or that Brian is the REAL star of the film -- and Larry has no idea what else to ask Brian.
"Well, Larry," Jimmy says, leaning back in his chair. "If I DO get nominated it will be a vindication of 'The Olympian' and its message. And of all the work that Ron and I did to get the picture made. Because this was a total team effort, Larry."
After that the interview stumbles to a close. They show a clip of one of the running scenes. And it isn't even one that really shows Brian all that well. They are too chicken shit to show any of the really dramatic scenes -- or any hot man-on-man action! Jimmy talks about some other projects he has coming up and he mentions that Brian is in the upcoming Woody Allen picture, but Larry doesn't follow that up. It's obviously NOT on his question sheet. And then Jimmy talks about the film that Tess is producing and about the two of them as Hollywood's 'It Couple' -- which is a total joke. Brian says that Tess and Jimmy are barely even speaking to each other.
The show ends with a whimper -- and Larry never comes back to ask Brian any more questions. Which is probably just as well. Maybe even Larry can see that Brian is in no fucking shape to answer anything coherently. But he LOOKS beautiful. He still looks so fucking impossibly beautiful!
Continue on to Page 2 of "When I Paint My Masterpiece -- Part 2".