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Soul Food Hunk's Gay Kiss!

Despite its veneer of political correctness, it's clear homophobia is alive and well in Hollywood, as indie writer/director Patrik-Ian Polk discovered while trying to cast Punks. He needed a strong, handsome boy-next-door type for his debut film about the lives of black and Hispanic gay men in Los Angeles, and almost every "semi-well-known" candidate turned down the offer — until he found tasty Rockmond Dunbar of Showtime's Soul Food. "I kept running into this road block with actors who didn't want to do a gay kiss," says Polk, who declines to name the reluctant thesps. "It was really a big issue. Everybody loved the character, and they loved the script. I had meetings and went through a nice number of actors [who] did not want to do the kiss, and I wouldn't change it." It wasn't until a week before filming that they turned to the relatively unknown Dunba

Sabrina Rojas Weiss

Despite its veneer of political correctness, it's clear homophobia is alive and well in Hollywood, as indie writer/director Patrik-Ian Polk discovered while trying to cast Punks. He needed a strong, handsome boy-next-door type for his debut film about the lives of black and Hispanic gay men in Los Angeles, and almost every "semi-well-known" candidate turned down the offer — until he found tasty Rockmond Dunbar of Showtime's Soul Food.

"I kept running into this road block with actors who didn't want to do a gay kiss," says Polk, who declines to name the reluctant thesps. "It was really a big issue. Everybody loved the character, and they loved the script. I had meetings and went through a nice number of actors [who] did not want to do the kiss, and I wouldn't change it."

It wasn't until a week before filming that they turned to the relatively unknown Dunbar. He didn't think twice about taking the role of Darby, the "Is he or isn't he?" neighbor of a romantically challenged fashion photographer (Seth Gilliam) — kiss, short notice and all.

"To tell you the truth, the kiss at the end didn't even make a difference to me," Dunbar shrugs. "By reading the script, every question that I had was answered. Every problem that I might have had was answered through Darby's words. He was just living his life simply and trying to find out what love meant to him, and I haven't played a character like that before."