Out writer/director Eric Henry’s debut film, “Seek,”is an engaging drama about Evan (Adrian Shepherd-Gawinski), a young man who chronicles the queer community for a local gay magazine. He interviews various drag queens, cross dressers, and fetishists for his work.
Evan lusts after Jordan (Matthew Ludwinski, of “Going Down in LA-LA Land” fame) a sexy model, and also meets Hunter (Ryan Fisher), a club promoter who helps him navigate the nightlife scene. In separate Skype sessions, Henry and Ludwinski spoke to The Mirrorabout seeking love, truth and happiness.
How did you conceive the film and the character of Evan?
Henry: It wasn’t autobiographical, but elements of the film are from my experiences, or things I’ve witnessed in the community. Evan is new to the city. He’s being exposed all these different things. Evan sees how other people [the couples he interviews] are happy in their lives in ways he doesn’t think people would be happy.
Your film can be seen as a social commentary on the superficiality of young urban gay men. Was that your intent?
The short answer is “yes.” There is a little bit [in the film] to show how shallow people can be, but I didn’t want it to be too much of that sort of message. That’s why we played off these different [happy] couples.
What is your experience with the party scene and the “in” crowd?
I don’t think I would be considered part of the “in” crowd. And I’m OK with that. I’ve gone to events and clubs, but I’m not at the VIP table. Mostly when I’m going out with my friends, I just want to have a good time. I’m not interested in being seen or holding court.
“Seek”features chiseled bodies but there are only a few same-sex kisses and no nudity. Was this deliberate?
I didn’t want to make an exploitative film. I don’t have anything against nudity in films. I just didn’t want to put the actors in the position where they would have this kind of exposure.
Evan talks about fighting for his dream — what is your dream?
My dream is to keep being able to create films, particularly with total freedom to fulfill my creative passion and make things true to myself.
Interview with Matthew Ludwinski
What appealed to you about playing Jordan?
Ludwinski: He was a powerful, possibly manipulative, sex symbol. It was fun to play someone like that.
Jordan is the fantasy object in the film. How did you research the role?
[LAUGHS] I understand that idea of an unattainable romantic ideal that most of us have from childhood. My character Jordan becomes that for the other characters in the film.
Did you have a childhood fantasy ideal?
I wasbrought up on Disney movies. The culture puts that on you. There was no specific person.
You model underwear in the film. You used to work as a model? Do you feel objectified by the camera’s attention?
I was a model for years in New York, Milan and London. It does make you think of your body in a different way. You start to think of your body as your product. You are objectifying yourself. It makes you familiar with your own skin. I’ve had days where I felt everyone was looking at me walking into a room and moments where I felt sexy and wanted. A good hair day kind of feeling. In real life, those moments are fleeting, but it was how [Jordan] carries himself in every scene.
You gained considerable attention from “LA-LA Land.” Do you actively seek out gay roles in indy films?
One thing led to another. It wasn’t a choice. I had a small role in a Casper Andreas film [“Between Love and Goodbye”] and that led to a lead role in Casper’s next film [“LA-LA Land“], and other gay film offers followed. I was happy to get all of those roles.I know I’ve gotten gay roles based on previous gay roles. Netflix got me recognized from “LA-LA Land.”
What are your experiences with the club scene? Are you a denizen of the night? Do you feel part of the “in” crowd?
Oh…NO! I like to go out. Sometimes I wish I was part of the “in” crowd, but when I look at acquaintances who are, it looks like a full time commitment, and I have to get up in the morning sometimes.
The film chronicles Evan’s encounters with drag queens, fetish guys, and cross-dressers. Do you have any interesting inclinations to share?
If you gave that question to me in writing, I would have come up with something hilarious…I’ll try anything once.
Do you read Evan’s character as naïve and Jordan’s character as jaded?
Evan’s naïve in the sense that he still has his hopes and dreams. Sometimes, because of inexperience, they are a bit misplaced. Jordan became jaded by living too fast too young, and getting too much attention, and getting things too easily too soon.
Just like you, right?
I was a really late bloomer, and I don’t get everything I want.