Days of our (Sordid) Lives
By Christopher Lisotta
'Gay actors make me crazy,' says gay actor Jason Dottley as he sits at the hangout for so many budding gay actors -- a chain coffee shop in the center of West Hollywood. Dottley, who stars in the new television version of the film and play Sordid Lives, may not recognize the irony of his remark, but his ire is directed specifically at the internalized homophobia in industry players: 'The more you embrace who and what you are, the farther you are going to get on your path in life.'
That could be the theme of Logo's Sordid Lives: The Series, in which Ty (Dottley), a young aspiring actor, struggles to come out to his lovably dysfunctional Southern Baptist family. Expanding on the original screenplay by Del Shores -- Dottley's husband of five years -- the show features members of the film's cast, including Leslie Jordan, Beth Grant, Bonnie Bedelia, and Olivia Newton-John, with Rue McClanahan and Caroline Rhea as series regulars. Dottley (top) plays Ty, while his longtime straight friend Ted Detwiler (bottom) takes on the newly created role of Jacob, Ty's love interest.
Detwiler, who also starred in Shores's play Southern Baptist Sissies, thought he understood the devotion fans have for Lives -- until he recently saw a production of it with a screaming, laughing, crying audience. 'It was pandemonium,' he recalls. 'I was blown away.'
With his husband writing and directing all episodes, Dottley knows he'll be accused of landing the gig through nepotism but says that kind of move would be completely out of character for the man behind Lives. 'Del Shores could never compromise. Trust me, I've asked for other roles before.'
Sordid Lives: The Series plays at Outfest on July 19 and premieres on Logo July 23.