Jim Parsons, Ben Aldridge on Spoiler Alert’s Universal Gay Love Story
Author: Tracy E. Gilchrist
At a time of increased visibility for queer couples in holiday romantic comedies, the Jim Parsons and Ben Aldridge-led Spoiler Alert, from Focus Features, delves into relatable epic love and eventual loss. The film, based on TVLine founder Michael Ausiello’s memoir Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies, about his husband’s death from cancer, is a universal story of love and loss with a gay couple at its center.
The Boys in the Band’s Parsons plays Ausiello in the film, while Aldridge (Pennyworth, Fleabag) stars as his husband, Kit Cowan, who is diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer. Oscar-winner Sally Field plays Kit’s mother, while Tony-winner Bill Irwin stars as his dad.
“What appealed to me when I first read it is that I felt like I hadn’t seen or read something myself, where the love and the relationship element of a queer story … was at the center of the film. It wasn’t about shame. It wasn’t about discrimination. It was about their relationship, and all facets of the relationship as well, not just the kind of romantic comedic joyful elements that,” Aldridge tells The Advocate. “They really whether they weather the storm together, and it’s about what life and time does to a relationship. And I think in that way, it’s completely relatable.”
Bill Irwin, Sally Field, Ben Aldridge, and Jim Parsons
For Parsons, who’s played gay characters before in projects including The Boys in the Band and The Normal Heart, Spoiler Alert afforded him an opportunity to play a gay character in a film that was about more than queerness.
“From the moment I read Michael’s book that it’s based on, it seemed very akin to the type of movies that I grew up watching and loving that were they weren’t about gay couples. And I related to them still,” Parsons says. “There was a universality because it allowed again, in many of those movies, a complicated full-world relationship to be shown to you. It has been somewhat rare that we’ve been offered the chance to see the same in a same-sex couple.”
“It’s the first time that I’ve had the chance to play in a story that — it’s hard to say that them being homosexual is secondary — but it kind of is it’s really just about two people who love each other and this journey that they go on,” he adds. “That’s what excited me about it and made it such a fulfilling project from start to finish.”
For Ausiello, a TV writer who cut his teeth at Entertainment Weekly before launching TVLine, the process of watching his memoir come to life has been somewhat surreal.
“The first day on set, it was a scene with Jim, and he was sitting in my TVLine office — not my actual TVLine office, a replication of my office playing me being a journalist. And I remember watching that thinking, This isn’t happening. This isn’t real. I’m going to wake up. This is a dream. This is insane,” Ausiello says. “And then the first day that Sally shot was just an out-of-body experience — just this incredible, iconic actress, watching her do her thing.”
While the experience of watching his story come to life in the hands of critically acclaimed actors was next-level, Ausiello has found grounding in the responses to his story from people across the board who identify with his love story with Kit.
Aldridge as Kit Cowan and Parsons as Michael Ausiello
“When I wrote the book, one of the most rewarding pieces of feedback I would get was from straight people who said how much they identified with my relationship with Kit. That’s a beautiful sort of thing to hear. It’s a universal love story,” Ausiello adds. “It’s relatable mostly because it’s a story about two imperfect people. And it’s an imperfect relationship. And it doesn’t shy away, the book or the movie, from those imperfections. That’s someone everyone can something everyone can relate to whether you’re in a relationship or not.”
Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Tracy E. Gilchrist