Windy City Media Group Frontpage News Home
CELEBRATING 28+ YEARS OF Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender NEWS

Search Gay News Articles
Advanced Search
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2014-07-23
Download Issue
  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime

Paul Oakley Stovall: no 'Qualms' about Steppenwolf show Paul Oakley Stovall: no 'Qualms' about Steppenwolf show
Steppenwolf Theatre Company has a brand-new show titled The Qualms, and one ...

Browse Gay News Index   Browse Gay News Archives
  Windy City Times

HELLO, SAILOR! Jamie Harrold Doesn't Ask, Doesn't Tell but Doesn't Offend
by Steve Warren
2001-03-14

facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


Ordinarily actors who won't discuss their sexuality give me a pain where pain can be pleasurable, but Jamie Harrold is an exception. He's played a drag queen, a notorious gay murderer and a teen hustler. He's also played a number of straights, including his current role as a man whose life was ruined by the accusation that he was gay, in the FX original movie A Glimpse of Hell, which premieres Sunday, March 18 at 7 p.m.

Harrold doesn't discuss his political views either, but appears in films that take on PG&E ( Erin Brockovich ) and the U.S. Navy ( A Glimpse of Hell ) and has stood up to filmmakers who wanted him to play stereotypical gays. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. "I'm not an activist," Harrold declares; but when you review the work he's done and his reasons for doing it ... we need more non-activists like him!

He's not a household name and doesn't want to be. This is, he says, the first interview he's ever done-;despite many requests-;except for his hometown paper. He purposely picks diverse supporting roles ( "I like being the person on the set everybody likes and nobody's threatened by" ) rather than getting locked into a screen persona and being typecast.

If you remember Harrold it's most likely from Erin Brockovich, where he played Scott, the nerdy clerk at the Lahontan Regional Water Board.

For A Glimpse of Hell, Harrold says, "I had to shave my sideburns and goatee" to play Gunnersmate Kendall Truitt. The film is the true story of the 1989 explosion aboard the USS Iowa that killed 47 sailors, and the Navy's subsequent attempt to paint it as a murder-suicide carried out by conveniently dead and allegedly gay sailor Clay Hartwig, seeking revenge on Truitt for dumping him.

Harrold never met Truitt during the filming ( "At that point he'd stopped doing interviews. He wanted to get on with his life." ) and was surprised to learn the man lived 45 miles from Taylorville, Ill., the "small farm town" where Harrold was born and raised. The actor was able to fall back on the native Midwestern twang he's spent 12 years trying to lose.

The film makes it clear that the Navy, desperate for a scapegoat to conceal that the ship had been poorly maintained without regard for the safety of the men aboard, fabricated an absurd story, assuming from their own homophobia that a homophobic nation would believe it.

While the Navy didn't try to interfere with the production of A Glimpse of Hell and even permitted some scenes to be shot aboard a real battleship, it remains to be seen whether the film will generate what Harrold calls the "desired response: that they'd come out with an apology." The late Hartwig was officially exonerated in 1991, but the Navy said the true cause of the explosion has never been determined.

Since Harrold reveals himself through the roles he chooses, we'll let him talk about them. His debut was in the little-seen urban drama Up Against the Wall, directed by Ron ( Superfly ) O'Neal. It was followed by the TV docudrama Darrow, which starred Kevin Spacey and featured Calista Flockhart, neither of whom was well-known in 1991. "I did a play with Calista Flockhart too," Harrold says. "I remember she was rocking back and forth a lot and playing with her hair."

In Darrow Harrold played Nathan Leopold, the youth who with friend and sometimes sex partner Richard Loeb, murdered a young boy for kicks. The story was explored in more detail in Swoon, part of the New Queer Cinema of 1992, and fictionalized in Compulsion.

Next came Chain of Desire, one of a wave of contemporary versions of La Ronde in the '90s on stage and screen. The premise is that 10 people are connected to each other sexually, with the new character in one sequence becoming the old character in the next. "I had the best-written part," Harrold boasts. "I link Malcolm McDowell to Tim Guinee. I play a teen prostitute crack addict"

In To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar, Harrold was Billy Budd, the stutterer who worked in a clothing store where Wesley Snipes found some fabulous frocks. "Patrick Swayze gave me a book, Diana Vreeland's autobiography, and it cured my stuttering."

Soon afterward Harrold was the one in the dress, playing Jackie Curtis in Mary Harron's I Shot Andy Warhol. He says they were given a tremendous amount of research material on the people they were playing. "I had three scenes. I tried to mimic Jackie and personalize him at the same time. I was told he could care less if he was in drag or not, he was most known for his extraordinary wit. He was just a boy in a dress, not like Candy Darling who lived as a woman."

Whatever the character's psychology, Harrold must have been convincing. "I didn't work for the next year and a half," he says. Of the next 20 scripts I got, 19 would have had me playing a drag queen."

He had a similar problem after the telefilm Family Pictures, in which he played "a low-functioning autistic retard." Most of the job offers that followed were to play developmentally challenged individuals.

In Getting Away with Murder Harrold was Dan Aykroyd's stepson. The picture, which also starred Jack Lemmon and Lily Tomlin, "was hideous," Harrold admits, but it started with "one of the best screenplays I ever read in my life." It shows you can never tell how a movie's going to turn out.

On the other hand was "one of the cheesy movies I've done that I loved: Bed of Roses." He almost quit in the middle of shooting, he says, because the writer-director suddenly decided to make his character gay "to make Christian Slater look cool." That was too cheesy for Harrold, who threatened to walk. The idea was dropped.

When he auditioned for last year's Autumn in New York Harrold turned down the first role he was offered. "It was a gay part just to make Winona Ryder look cool by having a gay friend." Instead he took a smaller role as Ryder's ex-boyfriend, and it was subsequently cut from the film. "I saw it," he says. "It was a terrible movie and the gay character was stereotypical, just as I thought."

Not that Harrold shies away from playing gay. When he was cast as the groom in the heterosexual wedding at the center of I Think I Do, he says, "I specifically wanted to make him a feminine straight guy who gets married. In A Glimpse of Hell, on the other hand, I wanted to do hyper-masculinity."

Barring more cuts you'll be seeing Harrold this July in The Score, a caper comedy with a high-powered cast: Robert De Niro, Edward Norton, Marlon Brando and Angela Bassett. Playing a computer hacker, Harrold has most of his scenes with De Niro and a couple with Norton.

Since the press no longer has a "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy, we have to ask Harrold if he's gay, even though he doesn't have to answer. "I'm not going to answer for several reasons," he says. "I understand why people ask that, but I chose specifically to be an actor and I want the widest range of parts possible ... . Being an actor I have gone out of my way when gay parts are involved to take excruciating pains to make sure they're not stereotypical."

It's not that he thinks people are so much prejudiced anymore, but "if you go to Middle America-;Matthew Shepard land-;if somebody's known to be gay it's hard for them to suspend disbelief" and accept them in straight roles. "Look at Rupert Everett. Every time you read about him it's 'gay actor Rupert Everett.'"

By avoiding the spotlight, Harrold feels, "I've been allowed to do absolutely everything. I'm 33 and still don't want to get stereotyped. I like hiding behind characters."


facebook twitter del.icio.us 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.

Jamie Nabozny to keynote free screening of "Bullied" 2012-09-11
Jamie and Jessie Are Not Together premieres in Chicago 2011-11-01
Talking with the stars of 'Jamie and Jessie' 2011-10-26
Knight at the Movies: Jamie and Jessie Are Not Together; Martha Marcy May Marlene 2011-10-26
'Jamie and Jessie' actress wins award 2011-10-12
Wendy Jo Carlton: From 'Hannah' to 'Jamie and Jessie' 2011-09-14
Lesbian Singer-Songwriter-Parking Lot Attendant Jamie Anderson coming to Rockford, Downers Grove 2011-03-30
Robert Downey Jr. with Jamie Foxx, June 4 at Siskel Film Center 2011-03-22
MOVIES Wendy Jo Carlton: From 'Hannah Free' to 'Jamie' 2011-03-02
Entertainment news: Oprah, Neil Patrick Harris, Jamie Foxx and more 2009-11-11
3 Cheers for Director Jamie Babbit 2006-08-30





Copyright © 2014 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
the 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.

 

 

 



 

Report: PrEP 90% effective with just a few doses per week
 
John D'Emilio: Renowned professor, historian retires
 
NLGJA names LGBT Journalist Hall of Famers, Excellence honorees
 
Tony Tripoli tag-teams with The Cabaret Project
 
Knight at the Movies: And So It Goes; film notes
 
Windy City Times Current DownloadNightspots Current DownloadQueercast Current Download
Windy City Media Group BlogsJoin Our Email List!Donate Now








  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime



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      News Videos      Nightspots Videos      Entertainment Videos      Queercast Videos      Comedy Videos     
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.