The Many Shades of Thomas Dekker
This position may sound familiar to fans of screenwriter and director Gregg Araki (The Doom Generation, Mysterious Skin) who cast Dekker in his latest film Kaboom, in which Dekker plays a bisexual college kid navigating all manner of uncertainty, from who his father is to whom he prefers sleeping with. The actor had dreamed of working on an Araki film since he was 15 and lobbied hard for the role. 'The character fascinated me -- this guy who you believe likes boys who also likes girls yet he doesn't come off that straight. I feel like there are so many people in this world who are searching or don't know or make a decision of what their life is and then someone comes in and breaks it. I never see that in movies, where it's not the sad gay kid whose parents didn't love him or the fabulous partier or the butch football player. Because how many people like that do you really meet on a regular basis? Some people decide from the get-go and some people decide later on.'
Though he will soon be relocating to Vancouver to begin filming his CW show, Secret Circle, and his film Angels Crest, in which he plays a young father, premieres this month at the Tribeca Film Festival, he's also set to begin directing a movie he wrote based on the lives of teenage hustlers and prostitutes in Los Angeles. Dekker spent three years researching for the project (which is being produced by indie-film fairy godmother Christine Vachon), interviewing under-21 sex trade workers in Los Angeles and New York City.
'Love is so complicated, and sex is so complicated, especially when you're young. But there's such a blurred line of what both those things are and how they manifest themselves, especially in harsh circumstances like these. So that's really what the film's about,' he says.
What, then, is the guiding principle of a man jumping between a starring role in a CW teen drama and the director's chair on an indie hustler film? 'I'm trying to make my father proud. He passed away last year, and I think he'd be proud with this trajectory. From the beginning he said, 'If you want to keep doing this, we'll keep doing it,' and I'm still kind of pinching myself now that I'm still doing it 18 years later!'
And how accomplished does he feel at the wise old age of 23? 'Up until about 22, I catastrophically hated birthdays,' he says. 'I've gotten a bit more Zen about it, but I hate -- and it sounds so stupid -- that I'm already this old. I have an addiction to feeling like I'm never wasting time. I have to take everything to the ultimate degree, and I have such a drive to succeed that nothing negative has ever taken over my life -- whether it's too much food, too much anger, too much drinking, too much whatever. It always sort of reaches a breaking point, and then I come back down.'