Physically, only a few hundred miles separates the Oakland Bay area of California from Hollywood—one small step for a man. But the cultural divide? To leave one for the other is one giant leap for mankind. Which direction constitutes progress depends on what makes you happy.
“Growing up in my area—not many gay guys there,” says 23-year-old Hayward-born Marco Dapper. “It was known as San Francisco is where all the gays hang out.”
So how did this blue-collar straight boy working in a UPS warehouse wind up wearing no collar at all in the year’s most subversively funny gay movie? He got there by making a giant leap away from home, toward accomplishing a lifelong dream, away from going with the flow. You don’t have to be gay to be a smalltown boy, to understand that the answers you seek will never be found at home. Sometimes it’s easier to change your destiny by changing the scenery. You might also change your own mind along the way.
Eating Out 2: Sloppy Seconds (Ariztical Entertainment), directed by Phillip J. Bartell and opening Friday, November 24th, in New York and L.A. and December 8th nationwide, is about a gay guy (out American Idol Jim Verraros) who’s just broken up with his “outta my league” boyfriend (Brett Chukerman) and is pursuing sexy, sexually confused artist’s model Troy (Marco) by pretending to be an ex-gay. Rounding out the cast are Rebekah Kochan as unapologetic slut Tiffani (who can taste how long it’s been since a guy last came), Emily Brooke Hands as gay-male obsessed Gwen and former teen heartthrob Scott Vickaryous as ex-gay activist (more like passivist) Jacob. It’s a film I’ve already given a KY-lubed thumbs-up to, mainly because it manages to be political and witty along with sexy and laugh-out-loud outrageous. The excellent script, co-written by Bartell and by Q. Allan Brocka (director of the first in the series and of Boy Culture), forces its actors to sink or swim—it’s not enough to be eye candy.
Eating Out 2 is Marco’s first movie. Before this, his claim to fame was on a two-part NBC reality show called Meet The Folks that aired in 2003, in which five bimbos curried favor with his scarily young mom and dad to compete for the honor of traveling to Greece with him. Sounds pathetic until you see what Marco looks like, whereupon it becomes fairly easy to think of hundreds of ways to butter up his parents, each increasingly undignified and none that you couldn’t see yourself doing if it meant winning.
Marco is eye candy. He looks to the whole world as good as Matt Dillon looks to Bruce Weber’s camera. He’s topped 247Gay.com’s Top 10 list of studs...and the movie hasn’t even been released there yet. But great-looking men are common in Hollywood, and talent is as likely to be found serving you hamburgers there as treading the boards. Everyone who wants to be someone needs a big break, eye candy or not.
Eating Out 2 is Marco’s big break in that he has a huge part in it (in more ways than one) that allows him to show off his easy charm on screen. It also represents his personal big break because making the film exposed him to so many gay people that he seems to have shrugged off his built-in preconceptions about what “gay” is all about. He’s hopeful that audiences—and the industry—will be similarly open-minded about his acting ability.
“I guess you could call me a homophobe back then,” Marco remembers of the time not so long ago when he arrived in L.A. “I was the kinda guy who if a gay guy came and talked to me I’d be like, ‘What is he doing? Is he hitting on me?’ It was fear of the unknown. This movie was like a whole 180. I just realized, ‘Not all of them are hitting on me.’”
Well, maybe the lesson should have been that it doesn’t matter so much if gay men hit on him, so long as they also take him seriously. Because unlike with homophobes who think all gay men want to get them into bed, all gay men do want to get Marco into bed.