Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2015-09-30
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


Tommy Stovall Talks About Hate Crime
by Andrew Davis

facebook twitter pin it stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

Seth Peterson ( left ) and Brian J. Smith in the film Hate Crime.


In the riveting award-winning thriller Hate Crime ( $26.99 ) , violence ensues after an ultraconservative guy moves next door to a gay couple—but that's defnitely not the end of the plot. Windy City Times recently spoke with the film's director, Tommy Stovall, about dealing with religious intolerance, working with a kid and popping his cinematic cherry.

Windy City Times: I read somewhere that you hadn't been on a movie set before filming this. Is that true?

Tommy Stovall: Yes; I hadn't been on a movie set. My experience was in video production, and I had done pretty much everything by myself: shooting, editing and stuff like that.

WCT: So what was the most important lesson you learned?

TS: Oh, wow. This whole thing has been a big education, that's for sure. I learned how to work with actors, which was [ initially ] very daunting, but it turned out to be one of the most fun parts of the whole thing.

WCT: And speaking of actors, you have some pretty heavy hitters in this one: Seth Peterson, Giancarlo Esposito, Susan Blakely—and Bruce Davison, who's come a long way from Longtime Companion.

TS: Yes, and I didn't know who I could get to be interested in the project. I expected to cast mostly unknowns and have one or two names. [ However, ] when we put the casting announcement out in Hollywood, we got an overwhelming response from accomplished actors. [ Regarding Davison, ] I never expected to get someone of his caliber

WCT: However, with all the actors, my favorite character was Kathleen, the neighbor [ played by Lin Shaye ] .

TS: Oh, that's good to hear. She gets a lot of praise.

I had actually written that character for a much older woman. When Lin Shaye's name came up, I [ initially ] thought that she was too young, but then I thought that she would be great. She turned out to be incredible.

WCT: How would you describe this movie?

TS: I describe it as a compelling crime thriller. But at the same time, it's about something important—and there's been a lot of confusion because some people seem to think [ going in ] that it's just a message movie. My goal was to make an entertaining thriller that gets some messages across and, luckily, it's done that. There are mainstream audiences that may not think about hate crimes or religious intolerance but then they talk about it afterwards.

WCT: What statement is this movie making about organized religion?

TS: We show both sides of it. There's a scene involving the two sermons [ from gay-tolerant and -intolerant churches ] . People appreciate that we show two extremes of the same religion. Growing up in Texas and in the Bible Belt, that was something I wanted to explore. I didn't go to a church that was headed by someone like Bruce Davison's character, but I know people who did.

I was always interested in how religion fosters bigotry, particularly towards gay people. My research showed that most people who attack gay people use the Bible to justify their actions, so I wanted to explore that a little bit.

WCT: You actually answered my next question, because I was wondering why the movie was set in Dallas.

TS: My partner and I actually lived in Dallas for several years, and had friends and family there as well as access to location. Something like this could certainly happen in Dallas, where a gay couple could live right next door to fundamentalists. However, this story could happen anywhere in America.

WCT: I thought the scene that was most touching was at the wake with Seth Peterson's character and the ring.

TS: Oh, I'm glad to hear that. I was so worried about that scene and making it real. I've gotten a lot of good comments about it. Surprisingly, most of the people who talk about that scene and the scene where the [ gay couple ] talks about adoption while in bed happen to be straight. One person at a recent screening—a married woman with three children—said that she never considered herself a homophobe but she was bothered by the idea of two men kissing, but she said that [ the movie ] changed her and saw gay couples as being [ on par ] with her marriage.

WCT: And what were you saying about the character of Chris Boyd, a homophobe who has same-sex encounters?

TS: Well, being from the South, I know so many gay people who are conflicted over religion. They were raised in religious families, and were told that gay people are going to hell. I wanted to put in that idea; a lot of people don't think about gay people being cut out of their families.

WCT: Talk a little bit about the music in this film. It's used quite effectively.

TS: Chad Donella [ who plays Chris ] referred me to a friend of his, Ebony Tay. I contacted her and we were on the same wavelength, and her music really fit what I was looking for. Also, this was a personal journey for her; she has two gay brothers and a family member who was a victim of a hate crime. She just put her heart and soul into this movie.

WCT: I also heard that this one actor, Trevor Sterling Stovall [ the director's son ] , was a real terror.

TS: [ Laughs. ] Oh, he was the most difficult one to work with. Interestingly, we got a penalty from SAG [ The Screen Actors' Guild ] because we forgot to pay him; we had to go back and issue him an official check for his one day of work.

WCT: So what's your next project?

TS: I'm writing a project called Sedona, which is where I live [ Sedona, Ariz. ] . I call it a mystical adventure; it's very different from Hate Crime. It more along the lines of [ TV's ] Northern Exposure.

facebook twitter pin it stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Detroit mourns loss of community member 2015-10-06
Chicago domestic violence service providers call for Springfield to stop cuts 2015-09-30
Lambda to 7th Circuit: Law prohibits discrimination against lesbian instructor 2015-09-30
ACLU of Illinois' legal director stepping down 2015-09-30
Bully Project uses film, education, litigation to assist schools 2015-09-23
Law protecting the vulnerable may conflict with laws in IL municipalities 2015-09-21
Nepal ratifies new constitution that includes LGBT protections 2015-09-18
Long time ACLU leader Harvey Grossman moves to Senior Counsel role 2015-09-18
Court: Fired transgender woman can sue rormer employer for sex discrimination 2015-09-16
Relationships & the Law Today: Importance of estate planning 2015-09-16
HHS proposed rule would cover anti-trans discrimination 2015-09-16
19th transgender murder raises questions about reporting 2015-09-09
Saturday Boystown action for decriminalization of sex work in Rentboy raid aftermath 2015-09-03
National: Ashley Madison and Grindr; RentBoy; Facebook apology 2015-09-01
Report looks at implications of religious exemption laws 2015-09-01
Chicago panel calls for awareness, action for murdered Black trans women 2015-08-27
Virginia shooter gay, manifesto says 2015-08-26
Transgender murders in Aurora, IL and Kansas City, MO 2015-08-26
Homeland Security raids offices in New York 2015-08-26
THEATER REVIEW Chicago's Role in the Crime of the Century 2015-08-26
National: Hillary; Texas hate crime; Trump; 18th trans murder 2015-08-25
World: Murder suspect charged; fashion figure fired; Montreal parade 2015-08-25
LGBT groups join Amnesty International in call to decriminalize sex work 2015-08-25
UN brief to include ISIS terror against LGBTIs 2015-08-21
Rauner signs anti-conversion therapy bill 2015-08-20
LGBTQs in LA protest homicides targeting transgender people 2015-08-18
NCAVP mourns deaths across the nation 2015-08-18
Designer Dolce apologizes for comment 2015-08-18
Tidwell missing after several days 2015-08-17
13th trans woman murdered in U.S. 2015-08-12
Religious freedom, conversion therapy among event's issues 2015-08-11 signs off on petitions with hate speech 2015-08-11
Attorney calls for trans-related legal challenges 2015-08-10
McCarter introduces 'religious freedom' bill 2015-08-10
Landmark agreement reached on investigatory stops in Chicago 2015-08-07
Corporate giants support Comprehensive Federal LGBT Non-Discrimination Law 2015-08-06
Preckwinkle, Garcia announce $500,000 fund for restorative justice 2015-08-06
Demystifying sexual abuse in the LGBTQ community 2015-08-05
Attorney/activist works with marginalized communities 2015-08-05
Velvet Rope owner pleads guilty to arson and fraud 2015-08-04

Copyright © 2015 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.