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 2019-04-24
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



MOVIES Queer actors play gay couple in 'Rendezvous'
by Lauren Emily Whalen

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Call Me by Your Name left an impression with Michael Glover Smith—but maybe not the one a viewer might think.

The Chicago filmmaker "didn't buy the chemistry" between the leads. "I went home and Googled, 'Is Armie Hammer gay?' [and] 'Is Timothee Chalamet gay?'" said Smith, who is straight. "I didn't want people to have that question while watching my movie."

Rendezvous in Chicago—Smith's third feature film that he wrote and directed—chronicles a relationship's beginning, middle and end through three different segments. The second, "Cats and Dogs," follows Andy and Rob, a gay couple who have recently moved in together. As they walk through Rogers Park, a nervous Rob marks time before proposing.

Smith wanted "the film's most romantic segment" to feature two gay men. "If an alien studied our movies and TV, they would come to the conclusion that we don't have many gay people," he said. "Making these characters queer was my attempt to be a good ally."

He also didn't audition straight hopefuls for Rob and Andy. "We had a really great casting director, Clare Cooney. I told her I only wanted to see queer actors and she was able to funnel them my way."

Enter Rashaad Hall, who's appeared at Goodman and Victory Gardens and acted in the Emmy-nominated webseries Brown Girls.

"Being a queer man of color, it puts me in another category," Hall said via phone while while out of town with his partner Isaac Gomez, whose play La Ruta is currently running at Steppenwolf. "When we think of queer or gay characters, we think of one kind. So I'm really thankful to Michael for casting me in this way, and giving me an opportunity to show there are multitudes of representation."

"Rashaad immediately owned the character of Andy," said Smith. "I had done bios for each character and described Andy as cool and laid-back. Rashaad was just perfect."

When casting Rob, the director said, "it became a question of who had the best chemistry with Rashaad."

That was Matthew Sherbach, who had previously worked with Hall. "Part of why the script appealed to me is that [it] is very simple," said Sherbach, who's acted in Chicago for the past 13 years. "It's a sweet, heartfelt story about people who truly get along. I find that extremely compelling, especially for a queer narrative."

As an actor, Sherbach often found himself pigeonholed. "In my twenties, I kept getting called in for roles that were all about gay teenagers who were hyper-precocious and using their sexuality as a weapon," he said. "My agent and I were like, first of all, I'm 27, and why is this a recurring theme?"

Sherbach called Rob and Andy's storyline "deeply refreshing" in that "two gay male characters live their lives. Heterosexual narratives get to have that a lot, and I feel like every time a queer story gets told, it's only one type. And we contain multitudes."

During the two-day shoot, Sherbach and Hall had to generate believable chemistry. Director Smith had to illustrate a gay relationship, which he has never experienced. Thankfully, all were ready to work.

"I said to Rashaad and Matt, like I say to all my actors, if something doesn't sound right, we'll change [the words] to make them more authentic," Smith said.

"I'm a natural worrier, and I didn't worry about Rashaad," said Sherbach. "I felt confident that I had a good partner, that I was safe in his care. We wouldn't have to act the warmth between our characters—that already existed."

"Matthew is a phenomenal actor," Hall said. "He's also hilarious as a person. In between takes, we would be cracking up at our off-kilter, very goofy sense of humor." Shared jokes went a long way: "[W]e were able to dive in and shake off the nervous energy."

Both actors complimented their director's active listening.

"Working with Michael was a pretty collaborative process," Hall said. "I might say a line slightly differently than [he'd] written, and he'd run over and say, 'I like that better.' He really works in the moment and allows our voices to shine through."

"It doesn't escape my attention that a straight, white cisgender male wrote and directed this film," said Sherbach. "But Michael wasn't trying to impose his vision on who this couple was and what it was like to be gay," he added. "Which, hopefully, is why that scene seems real. I think it's a credit to Michael that he gave us the floor."

Rendezvous in Chicago has already won awards at the Adirondack and Strasburg Film Festivals, as well as "Best Ensemble" from the website Indie Outlook. Hall couldn't be more excited for what this means in terms of representation.

"It's a blessing folks are vibing with it," he said, "and aren't batting an eye to see a queer couple just living their lives like everyday people."

Rendezvous in Chicago will open in February at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St. For more information, follow the film on Facebook or the director's website at .

facebook twitter pin it 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.


Gay News

MOVIES Director Wanuri Kahiu on groundbreaking film 'Rafiki' 2019-04-24 - Director Wanuri Kahiu said there was one main idea that drew her to adapt the 2007 short story "Jambula Tree" for the screen: ...

Gay News

Billy Masters 2019-04-24 - "Although my career may seem to glitter with hits, it has also been splattered by plenty of trash. I don't remember who it ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Tegan and Sara, 'The Boys in the Band,' Charlize Theron, Janet Jackson 2019-04-23 - Twins/indie band Tegan and Sara are releasing their memoir, High School, reported. It tells their coming-of-age story: growing up in Alberta, Canada, ...

Gay News

'Intersectional feminist' web series turns dating app disasters into romantic comedy 2019-04-22 - Unflattering selfie angles, men posing with freshly caught fish and an abundance of "Rick and Morty" references are just some of the horrors ...

Gay News

EVENTS Talking with the stars of 'Heroes & Villains' 2019-04-20 - Heroes & Villains Fan Fest battled its way back in the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont on April 19-21. The Easter ...

Gay News

Wild Nights with Emily offers new takes on Dickinson myths 2019-04-18 - "Emily Dickinson wished to be published posthumously," says Mabel Todd ( Amy Seimetz ), the poet's editor, at one point in the new ...

Gay News

MOVIES Classic lesbian film stages re-'Bound,'and the stars weigh in 2019-04-17 - The popular 1996 film Bound is a lesbian centered crime thriller written and directed by the Wachowskis in their feature film debut. Jennifer ...

Gay News

Wild Nights with Emily screening through April 25 2019-04-17 - Wild Nights with Emily is a film about a little-known aspect of the iconic poet Emily Dickinson, starring Molly Shannon. In the ...

Gay News

'Moonlight,' 'Wonder Woman' part of summer film series 2019-04-14 - The Millennium Park Summer Film Series will offer a lineup of classic and recent movie selections on Tuesdays, June 4-Aug. 20, at the ...

Gay News

Millennium Park Summer Films to celebrate Year of Chicago Theatre 2019-04-12 - The Millennium Park Summer Film Series will offer a lineup of popular classic and recent movie selections on Tuesdays, June 4 through August ...


Copyright © 2019 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 publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.