Featured in 2003’s Q Cinema Film Festival presentations “Found” and “Leather Jacket Love Story,” Texas Christian University (TCU) graduate Christopher Bradley has been trying his luck in Hollywood.
Bradley starred in “The Deviants,” a 2003 film and has also been in the movies “Black Gulch,” “Roberta Loved,” “Urbania,” “Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss,” “Killer Instinct,” “Hit the Dutchman,” “Waxwork,” and “Iron Eagle.” (Source: Todd Camp).
Television credits include “Gunsmoke V and VI,” “An Early Frost,” a featured CBS movie about AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndome), “Midnight Caller,” “Guns of Paradise,” “Heartbeat,” “Our House,” “Family Ties,” and “The Young and the Restless.” (Source: Q Cinema).
Stage performances include “The Fantastiks,” “Rebecca, Tea and Sympathy, “American Medea,” “Urban Folk Tales, “The Normal Heart,” and “Henry V.” (Source: TCU).
Bradley, a native of Northumberland, PA, but raised mostly in Albequerque, NM, received his Master of Fine Arts degree in Film & Television from UCLA and dreams of one day directing one of his award-winning screenplays.
“I want to encourage any gay and lesbian filmmaker out there to do a little research when they’re casting they’re gay and lesbian roles,” said Bradley. “Why are there so few gay and lesbian actors in these roles? I had a heated discussion with a gay producer who said, ‘I just hired the best people for the roles,’ and ‘I didn’t audition any gay actors. The agency didn’t send any.’ Is anyone else a little tired of straight actors doing gay roles and then reminding the press over and over about their wives and three kids and the press fawning all over them? – – ‘Oh, aren’t they SO BRAVE to take on a gay role?’ What about the bravey of gay and lesbian actors who are living the risk of telling the truth every day?”
Bradley, who won “Entertainment Weekly” and Alfred J. Sloan Fellowships, both in screenwriting and a Lew Wasserman one in Animation, said there is “a gentleman’s agreement” situation in the acting world and that if directors only use talent agencies to get their actors they are unlikely to read any gay actors for their gay roles. According to Bradley, “out” gay and lesbian actors are rarely signed by agents and when they come out of the closet they are often dropped by them.
“Yes, it is still happening,” he said. “I have a manager looking out for my interests. I’m one of the lucky ones.”
Marshall Thronton, director of “Found,” one of 2003’s Q Cinema films in the Fort Worth, TX festival, went into a gay internet chat room and asked if there were any gay actors out there. He got plenty of resumes and he cast a number of his roles this way. (Source: Christopher Bradley).
“Get creative, get on the grapevine, and ask!” urged Bradley. “People know out gay and lesbian actors. Agents aren’t going to send them to you. And who’s more likely to authentically embody your gay characters? Someone who IS gay or some desperate, washed-up 90s sitcom actor looking to use you and your project to make himself look ‘edgy’? Look for gay and lesbian actors for your gay and lesbian roles!”
Bradley, a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and Writer’s Guild of America member, advises new actors to do the footwork tirelessly and stay out of the results. He said the challenge in his position is finding funding.
“I have a quote from Aristotle that I think is a good inspiration for anyone confronting prejudice,” he said. ‘We become brave by performing brave acts.’ My background as an actor has given me a strong instinct as a writer and animator. Also, any writer or animator ‘acts’ through his or her characters.”
Bradley’s role models are Morris Knight and Harry Hay who he says stood up for gay rights when no one else dared to do it and when the consequences were far more dire than anything any American faces now.
Some loglines for some screenplays Bradley is looking to produce and direct include:
*Twist in the Wind – After witnessing the violent death of his protective and spiritually-expansive father, Manny Chula, a gay Latino teenager, is forced to overcome the increasingly brutal forces pushing him to the edge of insanity and murderous retaliation.
*Too Good To Me – Drug dealer and hustler Erik Coyle, 20, returns from prison to find that his soul mate, Heather, 19, and his most dependable john and father figure, Tommy Martinez, 40, have both moved on without him. All three learn a bloody lesson about faithfulness and abandonment when they try to reassemble their fractured version of “a chosen family.”
Bradley, who came out of the closet his junior year of college, something he was “pretty nervous” about, got into theatre when an actor friend of his got a job through a Dallas agency but they would only hire Bradley as a model. Then he starred in what he calls “a really bad horror movie in Dallas.”
“I showed them I could get a job,” he said.
Through a series of “insane coincidences,” a Broadway actress was visiting Bradley’s friend in Dallas and she told him her husband, a director, might be interested in seeing his work.
When Bradley starred in “Leather Jacket Love Story” he was on the cover of Genre Magazine and Next, a local gay magazine. He said the gay independent films he’s been in have been “no frills” like “Leather Jacket” that was shot in ten days and had no dressing room. But in the “Gunsmoke” reunion movies Bradley had a chair with his name on it.
“Most independent films I’ve done, generally there’s the passion,” said Bradley. “It’s risky to be a gay actor still. I’m not in the closet and I refuse to be. I’m out and I have a certain amount of visibility. A lot of people invest so much time. The job market is crazy, competitive.”
Bradley, who didn’t know anyone when he moved to California, has been in the same room with some celebrities like at an “A-list” party he went to where Irwin Winkler, the director of the second “Star Wars” movie and Leonardo DiCaprio were present. He also worked with Kathy Bates and Richard Dreyfus.
“They were both incredible,” said Bradley. “Richard was really great backstage. He had a great b.s. detector. A number of lucky things have happened. They say luck is where persistence meets hard work.”
Four years ago Bradley was stuffing envelopes with his pictures and resumes trying to get an agent and a writing agent. He sent out 50 letters for the latter but hadn’t heard from any of them back then.
“The person opening the envelope can change every few months,” he said. “And circumstances can change.”
Bradley’s family has been supportive of his lifestyle.
“I was surprised because I was raised very strict Catholic,” he said. “Really none of my brothers and sisters cut me off, either. At the time I came out I almost had no life. I was leaving so much out. The community’s gotten stronger since I’ve been out. My only worry is that it’s becoming more acceptable in the mainstream that we forget about those who aren’t accepted.”