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.