Jason Ritter

6.6.2005

By Jeffrey Epstein

Jason Ritter, son of the late John Ritter, hits the big screen this month in the new film from out writer-director Don Roos, Happy Endings. In the movie, which includes several gay characters, Ritter plays Otis, a closeted teen with eyes for his boss (Steve Coogan). In the July issue of Out, Ritter talks about the film; here are some of the exclusive outtakes from our chat with the young actor.

Had you ever played gay before?
No. I played a guy who was in love with his brother on Law & Order: SVU. But it was only his brother. And he was a horrible murderer who made people rape each other before he shot them in the back. So I wouldn't necessarily define him as gay' or good. So this is the first character I have played who is gay.

Was that an issue at all?
No, it was really easy. People were saying, 'It's gonna be weird.' No, it was easy. But it was weird to kiss someone with stubble. I now understand why my girlfriend asks me to shave all the time. It really does hurt quite a bit. Otis is a complicated character, but that's not just because he's gay and has to come out of the closet. It's because Don Roos is such a fantastic writer, he makes full characters.

What was it like working with Don?
He's great. He is so much fun. During the shoot, he made sure the set was a totally positive, creative atmosphere. We felt free to try things and trust our instincts. Don was able to see things in a new way and change things, which is rare. He's a cool guy.

So, what do you do when you actually have free time?
I really like hanging out with my friends. That's my favorite thing to do. When I'm by myself I play lots of video games. It's such a waste of time, but I'm addicted to it.

OK, what's the worst audition you ever had?
It was like a month ago. I went in for a horror movie'a remake of The Fog. It was reading for this guy who I didn't really feel right for: a tattooed guy with spikey hair who's a rebel and a tough guy. But I thought instead of being tough, I would be a guy who doesn't care about anything and go at it that way. An apathetic crazy guy instead of a tough guy. I went in there, and the director was this huge guy with a shaved head and tattoos. I started to do my audition and in the middle of it he [sighed really heavily] and shifted and looked really annoyed'right in the middle of the scene. I saw it out of the corner of my eye and decided I would go on. And then he was like, [short and dismissive] 'Thank you.'

Yipes! Well, what's up next?
I'm doing a movie called Lenexa-1 Mile. I'm doing it with a bunch of cool guys. It's about five friends growing up in Kansas in the '80s and they get into all kinds of trouble. I play a guy who dies in a car accident'which I seem to have a lot of. In the Hilary Duff movie [Raise Your Voice] I died in a car accident. On Joan of Arcadia, I was in a car accident.

Huh. Well, as long as it stays on screen.
Exactly.

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