You will probably know David W. Ross best as the star, writer and producer from the award winning film ‘I Do’. After a successful run in the awards field, winning best actor for ‘emerging talent in Queer Cinema’ at the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and The ‘rising star’ award at the Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival 2012 to name but a few, David has much to be proud of. An advocate for equality and an activist for same sex marriage, the film ‘I Do’ tackles the subject of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) and its subsequent effects on both gay and straight couples living in the United States. We care currently up to 19 states in the U.S recognizing same sex marriage, the trend is catching on. You only have to watch the daily news reports to see ‘gay related’ stories becoming more and more frequent. ‘I Do’ played a big part of forcing the issue and bringing it to the attention of the media.
David began his career in the U.K when he was chosen as a band member to rival the sensational Take That. The boy band Bad Boys Inc., had chart topping hits and the usual publicity blitz that accompanies it. He was encouraged to hide his sexuality, play down ‘flicking his hair’ and lie about his private life, something that David says had a detrimental effect on his life and made him miserable. David moved to the U.S in 1996 to pursue an acting career. He settled in L.A, where homophobia in Hollywood was still rife. His determination found him roles and eventually his script for a film was brought to life with the help of a Kickstarter campaign and huge amounts of personal endeavor.
As fellow Brits, David and I had the chance to ‘catch up’ on our shoot for Left Magazine to discuss what we miss the most about the U.K, the things we love about Hollywood and what’s next for Mr. Ross.
Fancy a cup of tea and a chocolate Hobnob? I’d kill for a hobnob and a good cuppa! (Hobnob biscuits are a traditional British type of oat cookie.) Trouble is if I get a packet of chocolate ones they’d be gone within 5 minutes!
Do you ever miss the U.K? I miss the UK as far as friends and certain cultural elements but I miss Europe more. I toured a lot in the band and fell in love with the lifestyle and food. I mean, who doesn’t want to eat Nutella for breakfast without being judged.
What’s you favorite thing about living in Hollywood? I’m finally having a blast in Hollywood. I think coming out really helped and I also see so many things changing for out actors as the tide turns, in this country, towards marriage equality. As a filmmaker I have a great network of friends and people who are passionate about what they do. So when I look at the Hollywood sign I finally feel a part of it all.
I remember seeing your script for ‘I Do’ back in 2009. Tell us how you got it off the ground. I’d been trying to package the film for about a year but couldn’t seem to get the financing. I got an email from a friend about a movie on this new site called Kickstarter.com. I followed the link and my mind was blown. I had an idea the 2012 elections would be all about gay marriage and the clock was ticking to get the film made. In the end I raised about $80,000 through crowd funding and ‘I Do’ was in American theaters the month DOMA was ruled on. Not bad eh!?
What was the highlight of the whole process? Obviously making a film involves many moving parts and people. Working with Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Alicia Witt as well as Maurice Compte, who are all amazing actors, was great. My highlight was getting a call from my manager saying someone from Skywalker Sound had seen my tweets about the film being in post and wanted to talk to me about doing the sound mix. Of course I flipped out as all the Star Wars movies were mixed there, as well as Pixar. That week in the sound booth at Skywalker Ranch was amazing.
If you got the chance to do it again, what would you change? Well that would be telling now wouldn’t it. I would have insisted there were Chocolate hobnobs on set at all time!
I have to ask, the famous ‘shower scene’, how did it feel seeing it up there on the big screen? It felt, funny. I mean, you never expect to see your naked butt on screen the size of a building! If people only knew the story “behind” that day on set! It was end of day and we were running out of time and had to shoot two scenes in the loo. One that was very emotional and then the shower scene. I needed to prepare for the emotional one and time was up so I basically threw myself in the shower as the crew was packing up for the bum shot! Not very sexy at all.
I recall feeling so proud of you at the premier at the Ford Amphitheater in Hollywood. The support from your friends was so sweet to see. How important was your support network during the filming of ‘I Do’. Aww, thank you. I simply couldn’t have done it without people on social media and my friends. I met some awesome people on Twitter and Facebook, some I now call friends but have never met. And my friends here in LA were so amazing. There were times when I just needed to vent or – more importantly – slug a dirty martini and they were always there. It was the first film I’d written, produced and played the lead but the cast and crew were amazing and everyone supporting me really kept my head on straight.
Is David W Ross still L.A’s most eligible bachelor, How’s Hollywood treating you? (David was voted one of L.A’s most eligible bachelors in Frontiers magazine 2011) I’m happily ‘loved up’, as they say in England. We met at the end of 2012 and made it official at Palm Springs International. ‘I Do’ won the “Best of the Fest” there. That was a fun week and I was so happy to have my boyfriend at my side.
What are you currently working on? I’m an associate producer on Limited Partnership about the original same-sex marriages that happened legally in Bolder, CO in 1975. Richard and Tony petitioned the INS for Tony’s green card and were denied because they were “two faggots.” The doc is really their love story and how they fought for 40 years for Tony to stay here legally. We just had our world premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival and showed at Frameline and Outfest. The documentary is one I am deeply passionate about. It’s really the doc version of I Do in a way.
So what do we have to look forward to, whats next for Mr. Ross and will we being seeing you in the shower again anytime soon? I’m pursuing some acting gigs and I’m always looking to work with amazing writers and directors. I’ve also got a couple of scripts I’m noodling in my head and plan on directing a short very soon. I read a script recently I loved in which there’s a hot tub/pool scene, so yeah, you might be seeing more of me in the future!
You can catch ‘I Do’ on Netflix and iTunes. Watch out for great performances by co-stars Jessica Tyler Brow, Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Alicia Witt. Have a tissue handy (no! not for that), it’s a real tear teaser!
David Burgoyne is a stylist, writer, photographer and artist in Los Angeles. He is a regular contributor to Left Magazine.