The year was 1999, and the cinematic excellence was in full swing. It was a year that produced such film classics as Eyes Wide Shut, American Beauty, and The Virgin Suicides among others. It was also the year one gay film became a timeless classic.
Directed by Jim Fall, Trick was a film about a young composer named Gabriel (Christian Campbell) and his chance encounter with a go-go boy named Mark (JP Pitoc) in New York City. Desparately searching for a place to hook up, they encounter obstacles in the form of Gabriel's best friend, Katherine (Tori Spelling) and a drag queen (Coco Peru) who allegedly had her own unfortunate hookup with Mark. Although they don't find a place to be alone, their night ends on a hopeful, yet hopelessly romantic note that leaves audiences wondering what happens next.
Gay media recently went into a frenzy when Fall announced that a sequel to the beloved gay classic is in the works, just in time for the original film's 20th anniversary. It catches up with Mark, Gabriel, Katherine, and Coco 20 years later in Los Angeles. Although the characters might not be where the audience imagined all these years later, it seems to be an interesting plot in the romantic vein of the original.
Fall and the original cast reunited Friday night at the Los Angeles LGBT Center for a reading of the new script, produced by Milton Ventures Media and Alan Koenigsberg. It was a reunion for the ages and the dawn of a new era as one generation of gay film meets the new. We caught up with Fall to chat about Trick's legacy and what's in store for the sequel.
How did the reading go?
The reading went amazingly well. It was the first time I ever heard it read out loud. I was blessed to have this amazing cast, with most of the original cast; Tori, JP, Christian, Steve Hayes. And Brad Beyer was supposed to be here. The joke is that Brad and Tori’s characters ended up getting married, Gabriel’s dog of a roommate. And we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Alan Koenigsberg, he produced this whole thing. I was so happy to see my Trick family back together again.
What made you want to revisit this and make a sequel?
I didn’t for a really long time because I just didn’t want to touch the movie. I thought it was lovely the way it was. But after going on almost 20 years now, so much has changed. And when I ran into JP and Christian, they all looked so good. I was like, you know, this would be great if that hadn’t gotten together and had met as 44-year-olds. And I wanted to write a story that emotionally tracked from the first movie, where you think they’re going to get together. But this movie, if you watch them back to back, it will emotionally track. This is the movie where they kind of actually fall in love, whereas the first movie, they fell in lust.
Kinda like Before Sunset?
Right. It was only one night, whereas this is two weeks over a year, really. It is more time. So, maybe because I’m 20 years older now, I wanted to make a movie about adults and not kids. Not really kids, but you know what I mean.
What was it like making a gay movie in 1999 with an actual happy ending?
That was one of the reasons I wanted to make it. I just felt like there were so many wonderful movies about AIDS or coming out or sadness. But it was that time when people were living longer. The AIDS cocktail had come out, and people weren’t dying as fast. I think there was an upswing in joy, in general. So, I wanted to tell a simple human story where being gay wasn’t really the point. It was a human story.
Do you get a lot of fans reciting Coco Peru’s monologue to you?
Yes! And it’s amazing but it’s also a little scary, because I want to make another movie that people will love. I mean, in a weird way, the bar has been set kind of high, unbeknownst to me. I just made a movie that I loved 20 years ago, that I wanted to see. But now it’s like, crap! People love it so much that I don’t want to make something that’s going to disappoint them. But in there, the audience was so great, laughing at everything. Ok, good! Maybe I’ve written something that’s a good follow-up that’s worthy. I think I’ve written a worthy sequel.
Would you say “Enter You” or “Como Te Gusta Mi Pinga?” has become a more popular song?
That’s a very hard question. Probably “Enter You” because it sticks so hard in your brain. It’s kind of what I make fun of in this script, because “Enter You” actually plays a role in this movie too. The song is reprised. But “Como Te Gusta Mi Pinga?” is just hilarious.
I laugh every single time. I know this one’s set in LA. What else can you tell me about the plot of the sequel?
Well, so many people wanted me to set this one back in New York. First of all, I don’t know New York anymore. I’ve lived here for the past 20 years. And I already made a movie about New York. I want to make a movie about LA. But I can tell you the movie starts in New York and flashes back to LA where the boys meet again, and then catches up to itself back in New York. So, the movie actually culminates back in New York. But I can tell you that Gabriel’s character has moved to LA, because there was a clue in the original movie that Jason Schafer wrote. Tori’s character mentions El Camino High School. That’s Sacramento, and Jason is from Sacramento. So, in my mind, they’re from California, and they’re transplants to New York. So, they go back to California, both Katherine and Gabriel in this movie. Gabriel has kind of lost his dream of writing musicals and has sold out a little bit, and in comes Mark, visiting LA. And it reminds him of who he used to be and what he used to want. And I can tell you that the drama in the movie is that Gabriel is in a relationship already, a seven-year relationship. So, when Mark enters his life again, he has to choose whether he’s going to stay or go with Mark. So, that is the story.
How do you think this one will translate to a new generation with all these gay apps and the general growing acceptance of this era?
Well, the whole movie hinges on the fact that they meet online and don’t know that it’s each other. They meet again online. So, it’s very current in that sense. I mean, I didn’t really consciously think about it as much as it just is what people do now. And I do it. I mean, I met my boyfriend on Scruff. So, the two of them meet online and don’t know it’s each other. When they first meet, comedy and drama ensue.
Now you’ve gotten me really excited to see it.
(LAUGHS) There are a lot of switches in this movie, where people you think were evil in the last movie are now great. Tori’s character is still trying to be an actress, and a lot of good things happen for her in this movie.
The original was already such a classic, compared to a lot of indie gay movies of the time. Do you have a lot of high hopes for this one, given the mainstream success of films like Call Me by Your Name and Love, Simon?
I hope so. I feel like I’ve heard that though for 20 years. When we made Trick, there was this bubble of movies getting made then. Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss had made a bunch of money, But I’m a Cheerleader, all of these films. There was a wave of gay movies. They thought Trick was going to break into the mainstream, and it didn’t really. It did well over a long period of time. So, I didn’t really think about it because it’s weird, there’s no way to kind of compare what it is. It’s a sequel to a 20-year-old movie. But I just think if the movie’s really good, people will come.
Are you hoping this kind of pays tribute to Mark Beigelman, who produced the original?
Yea, I mean Mark was such a good friend. And the first movie wouldn’t have happened without him because he basically lent me money to survive and was my lawyer. And we optioned the script together, way back when before anybody was. He believed in me before anybody did. And sadly, he died a few years ago. It’s sad he’s not here.
Any chance we’ll get a sequel to The Lizzie McGuire Movie?
You know, I would love to do a sequel to The Lizzie McGuire Movie, because I love that movie. I think it would be amazing to conceive a sequel and bring that cast back.
Someone reminded me that there was a RuPaul song in that movie.
Yes, there was. And you know what? It’s funny, the reason it’s not the RuPaul version is we had to rerecord it with Taylor Dayne. And this isn’t a dig at Disney because I love Disney, but I think it was a little bit of a “we can’t have a drag queen song in our children’s movie.” Because I wanted that song, and Disney said I could have the song if we rerecorded it. But that movie was my second movie, and it’s one of those things where this was such a labor of love, homegrown movie, and Lizzie was this corporate movie. And I thought this was going to be like selling my soul to the devil, but it was not. Lizziewas charmed in a completely different way. It was an amazing experience, everyone was wonderful.
A crowdfunding campaign for Trick 2 will launch soon. In the meantime, catch up with the original on YouTube. Watch the trailer below: