The Digital Fix meets David W Ross
We’ve all suffered heartbreak at some point in our lives. Some of us blub like babies to get it all out, some of us keep ourselves busy, some of us go out and get drunk and some, like David W Ross, use this experience to write a film!
I Do is very much a modern day love story that deals with many prejudices and obstacles along the way. The movie’s trailer says it all: Jack is a British gay man living in New York. When his green card marriage goes wrong, because he can't marry the man he loves to stay in the US, he has to make an impossible choice.
Intriguing eh? Well I caught up with David (who plays Jack) to find out a bit more about his upcoming film and also to chat a little about his teen heartthrob past! Yes, David W Ross may look familiar to some of you, especially if you were a teenage girl of the 90s! David was a member of 90s naughty but nice boy band Bad Boys Inc!
After two years of churning out pop hits like “Don’t Talk About Love”, non-stop touring of teen nightclubs and bagging numerous front covers of teen pop bible Smash Hits, Bad Boys Inc called it a day and David escaped the sobbing teenage girls and media scrum and headed across the pond to America to try his hand at acting.
1. Did you get into acting straight after Bad Boys Inc split up?
No. I continued to write and record songs. I was really inspired by trip hop at the time, Massive Attack, Tori Amos et, so my material was much more confessional/electronica. My mother's death from cancer really influenced a lot of my writing, so as you can probably tell people were a bit perplexed. I was offered a record deal but they wanted me to go back to pop.
2. What made you move to LA?
I toured with a band called EYC who were based in LA. We all became friends and when I realised after Bad Boys Inc was done that I wasn't able to lead a normal life in the UK, I moved there to be able to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.
3. What inspired you to write the script for I Do and how did the movie come about?
I was inspired by a breakup and all the Proposition 8 rallies in California (an amendment that eliminates the rights of same-sex couples to marry). I was filming a lot of them and began to realise I could tell a human story that also had a civil rights element to it. I was determined to tell a story that would show what it's like to be denied over 1300 rights just because of the person you love.
4. The subject matter is something very close to your heart. Tell us why you decided to write about this and has it been seen as controversial?
It's not been seen as controversial yet, but I wrote it because after meeting so many people fighting for their rights I was moved to do something about it. I thought that I could write a movie that would be entertaining, moving and show people how marriage inequality can affect everyone. In America, if you're straight and in love with someone from another country you can get married, and that very day sponsor your spouse's green card. If you're gay, even if you've been married for years, you can't. Immigration is one of over 1300 Federal level rights you don't get in a gay marriage, as gay marriage is only on a state level. It’s heart breaking and it's ripping families apart. It means people have to make impossible choices to be with the people they love.
5. How did you find the whole experience of making the movie?
It's been quite a ride. I'm the lead, writer and a producer on it. I wasn't planning on wearing so many hats but it just happened that way, which in hindsight is awesome. When the team was in place I was able to relax but I was still on high alert during filming, after all, I have over 200 people who believe in me and the film. I feel a tremendous sense of responsibility to not only the people who are going through what the film is about, but also the people that backed the film.
6. Do most indie films have to generate the backing money in campaigns like the ones you set up?
There is a trend for indie movies to get money this way. Since the market crashed, very few films are finding funding. Of course the idea is to get stars on board and the money should come, but it's a little more complicated and difficult than that. I wanted to make the movie so it could hit in 2012. I just decided that I had waited long enough. I was really blown away by the response. People have been amazing! A lot friends have chipped in and they're all tired of me banging on about this project but happy we finally made it!
7. You're very active on Twitter and Facebook and these outlets can only have helped with the promotion?
We're raising finishing funds on IndieGoGo and I'm excited to be funding the film in this way. I can safely say Twitter brought in about 95% of the kick starter money. $53,000 is a lot of money to get via crowd sourcing, but I was hell bent on getting it made! So yes I spend a lot of time on Twitter and Facebook and I've also made some good friends through them both. I love how these simple tools can help artists or even overthrow governments, it's very powerful stuff. I feel very lucky to be in the situation where I can make this film because of social media.
8. Would you say it's easier or harder acting in something you've written?
It's very, let’s say interesting! I had an amazing cast and felt very supported by them and the crew. It was a dream going onto set every day working with people like Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Alicia Witt, Maurice Compte and Grant Bowler. It was weird finally being able to put a face to a character or a location. I was very open to the casting as I wanted the material and actors to surprise me and not be stuck on a specific look or feeling. There were definitely more than a few surprises!
9. You've been in quite a few films and TV shows, won awards, do you feel fulfilled as an actor?
Never! There's an amazing quote that says artists have to be ok with always feeling unsatisfied. It's what drives us I guess.
10. Do you ever miss the boy band days? Feel compelled to jump into a dance routine every now and again?!
Well I definitely feel compelled to bust a dance move occasionally! But no I don't miss that time of my life or my twenties either! It was fun at the time but best left in the past.
11. It must have been difficult being in the public eye and not being able to come out?
It was weird, but we were having a laugh all the time. My twenties were not so clear for me and being under that pressure and in the public eye made me start to question many things about myself. I felt very isolated because of being the band, famous etc. I’m glad I am where I am in my life now.
12. Did being in a boy band help or hinder you in your career?
Both really. It gave me the freedom to know you can have a career in entertainment, but it also made me question my motives about pursuing a career in front of the camera again. But it's just in my blood I guess and I’m glad I found film, I love it.
To find out more about I Do the movie and David W Ross see the Facebook page and follow on Twitter @IDoTheMovie @David_w_ross