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 wouldnt 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, Its 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 thats not just because hes gay and has to come out of the closet. Its because Don Roos is such a fantastic writer, he makes full characters.
What was it like working with Don?
Hes 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. Hes a cool guy.
So, what do you do when you actually have free time?
I really like hanging out with my friends. Thats my favorite thing to do. When Im by myself I play lots of video games. Its such a waste of time, but Im addicted to it.
OK, whats the worst audition you ever had?
It was like a month ago. I went in for a horror moviea remake of The Fog. It was reading for this guy who I didnt really feel right for: a tattooed guy with spikey hair whos a rebel and a tough guy. But I thought instead of being tough, I would be a guy who doesnt 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 annoyedright 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, whats up next?
Im doing a movie called Lenexa-1 Mile. Im doing it with a bunch of cool guys. Its 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 accidentwhich 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.