Today marks the release of the highly successful Patrik-Ian Polk film Noah's Arc: Jumping The Broom on DVD. Cast member Doug Spearman who plays the uptight and intelligent Professor Chance Counter on the beloved series and feature film sat down to speak with Loldarian.com earlier today.
Spearman, a D.C. native and former television writer and producer with over twenty years of experience in the business is one of the original Noah's Arc cast members. Besides his passion for acting, Spearman has lent his voice to the fight for marriage equality and sits on the board of Equality California. In 2006 he graced the cover of Advocate Magazine as the only openly gay cast member of Noah's Arc(at that time).
Spearman opens up to Loldarian.com about the end of the series, the birth of the film, the infamous episode based on a real life experience, the role he originally wanted to play, and why marriage equality matters to black gays and lesbians.
Loldarian: The DVD is being released today after the film's huge success in the theater. What was your initial reaction when LOGO told you their wouldn't be a third season but a film instead?
DS: Well Patrik actually made the call...he was very disappointed. He said LOGO was not going to do the show again, we always knew that it was a 50/50 chance of either coming back or not depending on LOGO's financial situation. He then said they were dedicated to making a movie about this..and then I said we'll see cause you know in Hollywood nothing is set in stone. And then within a half an hour my manager called and said they really want to make a movie so don't do anything. And then an hour after that the executives from LOGO called me personally to reassure me that they were really dedicated to seeing Noah's Arc on a larger screen.
Loldarian: Doug I must admit I was one of the naysayers, so I was really happy to see the show actually transition to the big screen.
DS:Well you've gotta understand it was my job, my livelihood. They called us up the day our contracts expired so we were all off the chain. For the audience it takes an hour or two out of your day but for me it takes months of preparation. I just wanted to know what I was going to do with my life. If we're gonna make a movie I needed to know the particulars. Making a movie is like moving an army across the country.
Loldarian: The word "groundbreaking" has been used to describe Noah's Arc many times over the years. Can you tell me how it felt as an actor and an openly gay black man the first time you saw the film?
DS: Punks actually hit me harder. The first time I saw Patrik's movie Punks I'd never seen a romance that featured two black men. And I remember at the end of the movie Patrik saved the big kiss for the end and he did it beautifully under water. I remember grabbing my chest because I'd never seen two black men kiss on screen, and I thought "oh my God that's possible".
When I went to the screening of Noah's Arc you've gotta understand I was in that, and watching a movie you're in is kinda cringy (Laughter). I was thinking "oh my God does my ass really look that big"?
Loldarian: Yes Doug! It is that big.
DS: Thank you! Wow! (Laughter)
Loldarian: Marriage and commitment is central to the plot in Jumping The Broom and ironically the gay community was fighting a huge war against Prop 8 around the time of the films release and you were very visible in that fight. As a black gay man why was it important for you to lend your voice and celebrity to the fight for marriage equality?
DS: I think it's important to fight for what you believe in. Standing up for something where people feel disempowered is something I was brought up to help change. It's the reason why I'm an openly gay actor...it's the reason why I did Noah's Arc in the first place. I play an openly gay married man. So why wouldn't I want to lend my voice to it in reality? To play an openly gay man on television is huge. I believe if you can make things better for someone you should do it.
Loldarian: Switching gears a little bit. Is it true that you initially wanted to play Ricky?
DS: Yes. If you look at the first season DVD you'll get to see our auditions and I actually read for Ricky and I loved Ricky so much and I had a very different idea of who Ricky was. I'll be perfectly honest, at the time I wasn't a celebrity so I could be on sites...I could hook-up online, so I understand where that sexual obsession comes from. I really like complicated characters and I think that's one of the reasons why Chance isn't one of my favorite characters to play.
Loldarian: I heard the episode from season 2 when you ran into the house with the mini-van because Eddie was cheating was actually based on a real life experience.
DS: Yes it is. My boyfriend was cheating on me. He wasn't home but I had his car and we'd been at this party in Virginia, and I left him there, and I drove back across the 14th Street bridge...and I thought "I know what the hell I'm gonna do", and I was just drunk enough to do it.
Loldarian: One thing that I love about you Doug is that you seem so comfortable in your skin as a black gay man. Any advice to a young person who may be struggling to accept who they are?
DS: Yeah. I'd say if you don't learn to like yourself nobody else will. Every mirror is gonna tell you a different story, so you better look in one and pick that guy and learn to deal with him and learn to like him because you can't please everybody. Life is too short to be unhappy.
Loldarian: Before I let you go I'd like to toss out five names and I'd like to know the first thing that comes to your mind. Ted Haggard.
DS: God Bless him.
DS: My fierce ruling diva of the moment.
Loldarian: Barack Obama
DS: (Silence) Wow.
Loldarian: One word huh?
Loldarian: Janet Jackson
DS: Nice girl but she needs to move on.
Loldarian: Careful Doug...I like you! (Laughter)
DS: Seriously, even Queen Latifah knew to switch it up and did a jazz standard album.
Loldarian: Aretha Franklin
DS: The most intimidating and fantastic interview I've ever done in my life. She's one of the smartest people I've ever met in my life...she's a genius.
Loldarian: So what's next for you Doug?
DS: I'm producing a movie, writing a novel, and continuing to work with Equality California around marriage equality.
Loldarian: Thanks so much Doug for taking the time to speak with me. I really appreciate it.
DS:Awesome! It was my pleasure.
Order your copy of Noah's Arc: Jumping The Broom here. Many thanks to Iman Criner of Bazan PR