Post by director/screenwriter Wade Gasque –
Growing up gay in a small town can be an isolating experience. I think most everyone can agree with that. But growing up gay with a gay brother or sister… what’s that like? Do you talk about it with one another? Does it make the experience less isolating? How do you disappoint Mom and Dad, twice?
I have a handful of gay sibling friends and I’ve always been fascinated by their stories. But I’ve never seen a movie about them. So when I read Mark’s script I was immediately drawn in. Here are gay brothers who not only grew up in a small town (with all the small-mindedness that goes with it) but with a single parent to boot – the Dad! I love how Chet and Todd are so wildly different, how Todd ran away to be himself while Chet quietly assumed the burden of loyal son, and how they’re never able to really connect with one another until Dad dies. It speaks volumes about the tremendous force he had (and still has) over them and the internalized shame they both carry as a result. With our pride parades and general acceptance by the mainstream, why is telling Dad still so hard?
One of the questions I’m asking with Tiger Orange is, as gay people, do we stand out or do we fit in? It’s a negotiation that I think everyone faces on some level but it’s intrinsically linked to the gay experience. When we meet someone new, there’s almost like this tiny voice inside us that wonders, is this person an ally? Should I worry about what I say? Screw that, I’m gonna say whatever I want! We crave community, of course, to fit in and just be, without anything to fight for or prove. But we also want to stand out, to be loud and proud, to show ourselves, all of ourselves. Chet and Todd are on the opposite sides of this dynamic and that’s where a lot of the film’s conflict stems from. They’ve chosen very different lives for themselves yet there’s a deep bond they share as gay brothers that keeps them tethered to one another.
I had the pleasure, last year, of directing Mark in my short film Housebroken and his ability to be open and vulnerable is absolutely captivating. And Frankie Valenti (the one and only Johnny Hazzard) as Todd could not be a more perfect foil. There’s a rawness to Frankie. He’s not afraid to take risks and it pays off in his performance.
Tiger Orange is a story about gay brothers and gay brotherhood. It’s about that drive in all of us to find a place in the world where we belong.