Interview: Andrew Nackman, Evan Todd, Kate Flannery, Jon Gabrus, and Parker Young talk FOURTH MAN OUT
Fourth Man Out is a heartwarming and honest portrayal of what happens after a young man comes out as gay to his closest friends and family. As played by actor Evan Todd, the events surrounding his coming out always feel genuine, in large part due to actors Parker Young, Chord Overstreet, Jon Gabrus, who portray his eclectic group of pals, and Kate Flannery, who plays his Mother. In one of our most enjoyable interviews yet, we sat down with the charming ensemble of Evan, Parker, Jon, Kate, and director Andrew Nackman prior to the film’s premiere at the Inside Out film festival.
Scene Creek: Congratulations on the wonderful film! How did you get involved with the project?
Andrew: One of our producers had read an earlier draft and he really liked it and was holding on to it, trying to decide what to do with it. And then I reached out to Aaron, the writer, and met him and his family and that went well. Then from there we spent about nine months developing the script further and at that point we tried to get it made. I had previously met our other producers at the Palm Springs Short Fest, and they had seen other short films that I had done. So then once this project came about I showed it to them and they were fully on board.
Jon: (looking at Parker) Parker and I only met on the plane ride to Albany from LA. I got involved with it in the typical way-they called me in to audition so I auditioned and they thought I was right for the part so I got it. Only one audition so that was exciting. None of us had really met each other before, well Parker knew Chord, and then the three of us were in Albany for one night before Evan arrived and I feel like it was on purpose by the producers because it kind of solidified Evan’s slightly outsider group of friends. That one night we really partied hard, there was even dancing with one homeless man. Then for Evan to show up and play the scene where he expects us to have a hard time with his coming out, it really felt more real. Art imitated life.
Parker: I read the script and thought it was really funny. So I asked if I could get on the phone with the director and we chatted a little bit where I expressed my enthusiasm for the part. So then we all flew out to Albany and made it happen.
Scene Creek: What was the biggest challenge of making the film?
Andrew: We shot it in 17 days and then we had a B roll day so it was tight. One of the concerns for me was that we had a lot of dialog in the script and in a lot of the scenes there are four characters in them or more so you need a lot of different shots. It was hard to breeze through a scene really quickly so that was definitely a challenge. It was a tribute to our crew who worked really well together. Our DP Damian really took on a leadership role so him and his team were fantastic. On the most difficult day we shot all the scenes at Adam’s parents’ house and we didn’t have a ton of time to prepare for the most emotional scene. Maybe it was better that we didn’t overthink it because lack of time.
Kate: Yeah we really hit the ground running. I landed and literally had all of my scenes on the first day with Evan. It goes back to the writing and the direction and I think Andy did a good job of setting up something very real right away.
Evan: Also the house we were shooting in felt really homey and cozy and very much of that world.
Scene Creek: What was your favorite scene to shoot?
Andrew: The kitchen scene where Adam comes out to his Mom was definitely one because as we were watching it we knew we had it. There were other ones where you think you got it but you’re not completely sure. But that one we knew it worked.
Evan: I love that scene because I also came out to my Mom in our kitchen so I remembered that. She was just so confused but accepting. Kate played that so well so it brought back those memories.
Kate: It’s interesting because I’m from Philadelphia and also Evan’s Mom is from Philadelphia so we had talked about that before and there’s sort of this cultural connection. Your Mom was Catholic and I was raised Catholic so the love has kind of a sting to it but it’s still love.
Jon: Oooh, that’s a good question. I will say I had my first on camera kiss in this movie. I did not know the actress before either. I knew it was coming up and I met the actress, Danelle Eliav, that day. I mean normally I don’t get to play the guy who kisses girls in movies. Normally I’m the gross friend of the guy who kisses girls. So it was really exciting for me and a fun scene for me. I hadn’t kissed anyone but my now wife for twelve years so I was genuinely nervous. The acting thing isn’t nearly as hard because I was wondering, “I hope I’m a good kisser.” I mentioned it to my wife beforehand and she was surprisingly cool about it. There’s also a scene in the montage where we’re playing basketball and it sort of became a basketball game. It was so hot when we were filming in Albany and then one day it was sort of cool but beautiful out and we had to shoot basketball. I mean I’m not an athlete, well none of the guys are athletes, and then all of a sudden it became a two on two game. Then the producers yelled, “Ok guys, time to shoot something else” and we kept saying, “hold on, hold on” because we were having so much fun. It was one of those times where actors think they’re athletes all of a sudden. On the blu-ray there’ll be a full on streetball tournament deleted scene.
Parker: I was going to say the basketball clip too!
Scene Creek: The central character of Adam creates a dating profile in the film. What would be on your dating profile if you were to create one today?
Jon: I feel like mine would just be a list of TV series that I haven’t watched yet and then try to line it up with a girl who hadn’t watched, let’s say, Deadwood either. So on a Sunday we’ll order Chinese food and watch a whole season of a TV show together. I mean that’s probably aiming pretty low for a relationship but you’re going to end up doing that together anyway so may as well fast forward to that point. And if she doesn’t eat, that’s sketchy.
Parker: I want someone fun loving, good sense of humor, very open minded. I think women are great and the more you can have around, the better. Ideally someone who can keep up with me outdoors with rock climbing and things like that, so an outdoors-y person. It would be nice to have someone who could help me watch more television because I can’t do it alone.
Kate: I was actually on eHarmony for six months and never went on one date. Every guy on the site was very bait and switch- they weren’t themselves really and it was all very phoney. I never ended up meeting anyone. There was one guy who was a comic so I could look him up online and his picture was definitely ten years younger than he was. When I did the dating profile it was more for me to figure out what I wanted, as opposed to putting it out there on the internet. What do you say? Long walks on the beach?
Evan: I haven’t had a dating profile in about two years so I feel like they’ve evolved since then to include your social media profiles. Now they’re linked to your Facebook, which is great because it’s more an accurate presentation of who you are and who you have in common and all that. I just want to be with someone who makes me laugh and who I can have fun with because that’s important to me. I’ve had the romance and really great relationships but they were lacking fun and excitement. A partner in crime, that’s what I want. And I have that so I’m good.
Kate: Oh I do too so thank God I don’t need the internet for that.
Scene Creek: Adam goes on some very uncomfortable dates in the film. What is the most awkward date that you’ve been on?
Evan: Oh I know mine! It was so weird. It was from a dating site and I was in college and I had no free time. So we went out after I got out of rehearsal at like 11 o’clock at night. We went out and he said, “There’s this really great movie down the street”. So we started walking and it ended up being a documentary about the potato famine. Then we got there early and there was time to kill, so we got coffee and there was a bodega and he was standing around just counting his change. I just kept thinking, “this is not how I want to spend my one night off”, so I texted a friend to call me and pretend like something had happened. Yeah, I did that, the most cliched thing you could do on a bad date.
Kate: I’ve had so many weird and awful dates. One guy took me to a movie that literally had a fifteen minute rape scene. First date. How romantic. And then we got into a fight afterwards because I joked and said something like, “I want my two hours back” and he said, “how dare you! That was an important film!”
Evan: I bet he’s doing really well now and really loving Game of Thrones lately.
Jon: Oh I’m crazy about Game of Thrones! Anyway I thought of this not too long ago. I’ve dated my now wife since college and you don’t really go on dates in college. You just start hooking up. So I’ve never been on a date really. I mean I went to get pizza with high school female friends or took a girl out for a meal but it wasn’t like we met for the first time and then went on an official date.
Parker: Yeah I’ve also been with my girl since high school. I remember once, when me and my girlfriend were on a bit of a break, I met this girl and her friend so me and my buddy met up with them at a bar. She was really cute but we were immediately not compatible so it was kind of awkward at the bar. I did get along with her friend but she wasn’t as cute so it was weird.
Scene Creek: What are you hoping the reaction is to the film?
Kate: I think any time you try to evolve a genre, it’s a very brave thing to do. This movie takes that idea of coming out and the frat boy bro movie and it’s a nice evolution. The experience is evolving so much because there is that acceptance.
Evan: I love the movie because it takes this bro-mantic genre and infuses it with a gay storyline and it doesn’t feel like it falls too far into the gay, cliché movie territory. And I feel badly saying that because there’s some beautiful movies about someone coming out. But usually there’s that person coming out and they’re worried about losing their family or friends and then they struggle through that. I don’t think that that really is ever a question in our movie. There’s the fear of coming out and then wondering what the friendship will come, not that it will end but what will it be afterwards. I think that’s a very honest representation of how people currently come out.
Andrew: Well aside from just enjoying the movie, I hope it gives people faith in other people in a way. I think Adam in the story is so concerned about everyone’s reactions and scared that they’ll react negatively to him coming out and it turns out that they took it very well, almost too well. I think for anyone coming out or even thinking about it, giving them an example of someone whose friends still stand by him afterwards is affirming. If people cared about you before, they’ll still care about you. The strength of friendship can overcome any sort of challenge that people face. Your friends are behind you.
Fourth Man Out played recently in Toronto as part of the Inside Out Film Festival and in Seattle as part of the Seattle International Film Festival. For more information about Evan Todd’s non profit organization, please visit artsINSIDEOUT.org.