April 25th, 2011   Publicity No Comments

Assignment X have posted a fantastic, in depth interview with Thomas, discussing ‘Cinema Verite’, ‘Secret Circle’, ‘Kaboom’, growing up in Hollywood and more. He also gives more details on his new movie, Walk of Fame.

In an age where no one bats an eye at watching a man with mascara on network family hour, or showing off their flamboyantly great fashion style for reality television, it’s hard to remember when homosexuals were barely shown (and swishily condescended to when they were) on America’s sets. Don’t even ask what you mostly got on the big screen.

Leave it to Lance Loud to make his sexuality heard loud and clear for millions of Americans when PBS cameras became part of his clan’s lives for their groundbreaking series AN AMERICAN FAMILY. Beyond showing that “real” people were just as fascinating as any made up person, while turning them into characters in the process, AN AMERICAN FAMILY signaled that men were physically, if not vocally open, to declaring their sexual orientation like Lance Loud.  Though he’d go on to front The Mumps, write for friend Andy Warhol’s Interview Magazine, and turn his own passing into a TV event, AN AMERICAN FAMILY would remain Loud’s true moment in the reality headlights – even if Loud himself never expected that glare would end up turning on him as he tried to play the show to his own instant fame-seeking ends.

Though Thomas Dekker makes a big impression as Lance in HBO’s CINEMA VERITE (airing Saturday night) this certainly won’t be the first, and last time this charismatic young actor will be in the spotlight. Starting from the age of six, Dekker’s grew from parts in SEINFELD and TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL to cartoon voices for LAND BEFORE TIME and AMERICAN TAIL spin-offs, then turned in notable teen performances in BOSTON PUBLIC, CSI and HOUSE M.D.

Dekker then gained a true cult following on the shows HEROES and TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES before entering film and TV adulthood with magnetism to burn in A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, MY SISTER’S KEEPER and KABOOM. Usually playing young men desperate to find themselves in one way or another (even if it’s discovering they were fated to save the Earth), Dekker has made it a point to remain just as busy as a recording artist, and an aspiring writer-director, with one movie about a fame-seeking WHORE-dom of teen Hollywood already. Now the CW coven of SECRET CIRCLE awaits Dekker’s brooding magic.

Yet it’s the part of Lance Loud that’s turned into a real eye-opener for Dekker. It’s a role that’s allowed him to connect his own hard-worked aspirations to that of a young man who thought it would all come easy at first, only to find, along with his family, that television cameras and a seemingly understanding producer can just as easily destroy what they create. And in the process, Loud’s unabashed homosexuality, and heart would be outted in millions of American living rooms over twelve episodes in 1973, even if he never mentioned an orientation that’s now an easily dispensed household word.

ASSIGNMENT X: PBS’ AN AMERICAN FAMILY was essentially the first reality television program to achieve mass popularity. Viewers certainly had never seen a gay “character” on TV revealed with this kind of honesty.

THOMAS DEKKER: One of the key things that fascinated me the most about Lance and the entire situation was that he never officially came out. There was never really an episode where he declared he was gay.  The first and only “open” mentioning of that was on THE DICK CAVETT SHOW, where you could see he’d been so obviously scarred in the public for his homosexuality. To me, that really spoke of this young man who was so completely self-aware, so open, and so fearless in just presenting what he was. And he did it in a showy way that he thought would garner attention and a lot of success. It brought a lot of the opposite to him at the time, which I’m sure was very painful and overwhelming.  Now we’re in a culture where you can garner so much fame and notoriety by declaring you are gay. So I think it’s interesting that there was a young man who was just himself, and a unique person. He became a hot topic of conversation.

AX: How important was it for you to not go into the swishy and effeminate stereotype with Lance? That’s basically how homosexuals were depicted in Hollywood at the time.

DEKKER: My chief concern was that I never played Lance as a flamboyant stereotype. I’ll be honest that I’d never heard of AN AMERICAN FAMILY or Lance Loud when I got the script. When I got off the pages was a flamboyant gay guy. Yet everything changed when I saw his footage on THE DICK CAVETT SHOW. I became obsessed with playing Lance. And I never entered into it mentally like “How can I be flamboyant. How can I be clearly gay?” It was to just be him, because I’d never met anybody like Lance, I studied every piece of footage I could get of him.  His voice alone reminded me a lot of Judy Garland, and the kind of classic, early actresses like her.

I don’t know if Lance idolized these women as he was growing up, or if they became his portal as to what he deemed would sound like a “celebrity.”  Not to be cliché, but to sound fabulous. I never tried to swish around and do a lisp thing or any of that. That wasn’t Lance at all.  My fear is that people who see the film won’t understand what I’m doing, because they’re not particularly familiar with Lance, but if they are, they’ll see how I put in every effort I could to study the way he moved his head and hands, the pitch of his voice and the way he spoke.  All those things took precedence over me playing the first publicly gay person in media history. That really wasn’t my key point of interest.  It was to capture this very specific man that I was watching.

AX: I don’t think many people would be familiar with AN AMERICAN FAMILY as the series hasn’t been released on video.

DEKKER: I assume that’s because of licensing from PBS.  I know it was a major battle just to get the clips from the show into the film. This is my first project with HBO and I have to give them so much credit for everything from the meticulous production design to getting the entire cast the entire 12 hour series, and the entire two hour Dick Cavett interview. I got to work so closely with the creative guys from everything to my wig and clothes to the styling. You very rarely get this kind of support.

AX: More than any other Loud, Lance really played up to the camera.

DEKKER: I’d say yes, and no. I think Lance was really attracted to the fact that there was a camera on him, especially because he had a huge interest in Andy Warhol and The Factory. That was the one area I really had in connection with Lance, because I’ve been fascinated by that period of time of New York, and all those Warhol figures when I was a kid. The Factory’s viewpoint was to be famous for doing nothing. AN AMERICAN FAMILY was Lance’s perfect opportunity to do just that. Of course he ended up applying himself to all these incredible things later in life. So I think that when the show started, Lance really took it as his opportunity to be as controversial as possible. He definitely played it up to the camera because it was his shot to propel himself to what he wanted to be.  There are all these kinds of things he says in the series.

One of my favorites is when says that he had no friends back in Santa Barbra, just enemies, but he much preferred his enemies to friends.  All these sort of surprising, very specific mindsets of thinking. However, as the show progressed, Lance wasn’t as aware, unlike his mother, of how negatively all of these things could be perceived- like taking his mother to see this show at La Mama, Lance probably thought, “Oh, this will get me noticed.” I don’t think he realized it would for all the wrong reasons. Yet, I don’t think he would have really cared in any case. That was the sort of great thing about Lance.  He really didn’t seem to be afraid of very much anything. But I still think he must have been hurt that so much poison shot all over his life when the show came out.

AX: Lance basically steals CINEMA VERITE whenever he’s in it.  Do you wish you had an even bigger part in the film because of that?

DEKKER: I’d love to have been able to do more of course, but I think this movie is about the whole family and their show. That’s a lot to cram into one film, especially with so many interesting characters. We shot a lot that we couldn’t fit. I’m just very happy to be part of the project and to have had the opportunity to play this guy.  Like I said, it was a very scary proposition when I got the part, because I basically had two options.  Do I do my own interpretation of Lance, or do I really try to become Lance?  And I went with the latter, which is rather risky.  I’m a bit nervous to see how people respond to it.

AX: Since Lance, do you think reality television has made gay people more acceptable to the masses? Or do you think it’s made them go backwards?

DEKKER: I think it’s sort of ended up somewhere right in the middle. Because of reality television, the influx of gay information has definitely entered society in a way that hasn’t made them a subculture any more.  Everyone from five year old kids to ninety year olds know what a drag queen is, and has probably seen an episode of QUEER EYE FOR THE STRAIGHT GUY. I do think there’s a flip side as well, because reality makes so many people into extroverts of the gay culture and the gay lifestyle. That’s put up quite a bit of segregation that maybe wasn’t as strong before. It’s made a wall that shouldn’t be there.

It’s great that we can have a show like RuPAUL’S DRAG RACE on television, but I do think that for non-gay cultures and young people, it’s drawn a divide that makes the gay lifestyle into a very different culture. My parents were both in the arts and both in theater. I grew up knowing of gay people and straight people and lesbian or otherwise as just being people.  Now, obviously I’ve learned the historical importance of it all.

Though Thomas Dekker makes a big impression as Lance Loud in HBO’s CINEMA VERITE movie based on the 1970s PBS documentary series AN AMERICAN FAMILY,  this certainly won’t be the first, and last time this charismatic young actor will be in the spotlight. Starting from the age of six, Dekker’s grew from parts in SEINFELD and TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL to cartoon voices for LAND BEFORE TIME and AMERICAN TAIL spin-offs, then turned in notable teen performances in BOSTON PUBLIC, CSI and HOUSE M.D.

Dekker then gained a true cult following on the shows HEROES and TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES before entering film and TV adulthood with magnetism to burn in A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, MY SISTER’S KEEPER and KABOOM. Usually playing young men desperate to find themselves in one way or another (even if it’s discovering they were fated to save the Earth), Dekker has made it a point to remain just as busy as a recording artist, and an aspiring writer-director, with one movie about a fame-seeking WHORE-dom of teen Hollywood already. Now the CW coven of the pilot series SECRET CIRCLE awaits Dekker’s brooding magic.

In Part 2 of our exclusive interview, Dekker talks about growing up in Hollywood, HEROES and what SECRET CIRCLE is all about.

ASSIGNMENT X: You’ve been [an actor] since Christopher Reeve tried to blow you up VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED.

THOMAS DEKKER: But I survived! I made it out of the schoolhouse alive. Yeah, I started when I was five. So this has been a long haul.

AX: What’s the trick to growing up on screen and not becoming Lindsey Lohan?

DEKKER: I think it’s incredibly hard.  I’ve had a very lucky past of when I was in the public eye, and when I haven’t been. I’ve never stopped working, but certainly there were periods where I had to discover myself, or maybe behaved badly in the process. They were fortunately during times in my life when no one was really watching. Lindsay Lohan is someone who seriously has a problem that’s beyond celebrity gossip. Now, it just hurts me when I find there’s another thing she’s in trouble for.

I think in general about the rest of the kid actors who’ve gone astray while growing up. It’s very, very hard to have that kind of pressure of the public eye on you when you’re probably trying to discover yourself. Also, you have so much more at your fingertips in this industry, literally and figuratively. I guess for me, my biggest addiction has been working.  It’s been applying myself as much as possible as an actor, a writer and a director. I’ve also done three albums as a musician. So in the end, it’s really about staying focused on what it is that you’re doing, and having awesome parenting.

AX: I first noticed you on HEROES. You were fortunate enough to get out before the entire series jumped the shark.

DEKKER: That’s what everybody says to me now. Everybody originally told me I was crazy to leave at the time. Now it’s a reversal.

AX: Where do you think the show went wrong?

DEKKER: To be honest, I’ve never seen an episode of HEROES. When I was on it, I was just a guest star in four episodes. So I didn’t realize my character was getting noticed at all, or realized how big the show was.  I just left because I got another show TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES. The chance to play a cult figure like John Connor was very exciting, so I just left to go do that. Then I heard that HEROES shifted gears after the first season.

AX: While I couldn’t wait for someone to put HEROES out of its misery by the end, I really enjoyed TERMINATOR all the way through. The series actually got better as it went along. I was sorry to see it end.

DEKKER: It’s a tricky thing.  It sometimes still upsets me that TERMINATOR ended after two seasons, because I really loved playing the role.  I loved the people I worked with. Yet I’ve gotten to work since with Gregg Araki on KABOOM and to do CINEMA VERITE and a bunch of other films I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do if TERMINATOR continued.  Everything happens for a reason I guess.

AX: Where do you think the show would have gone if it had continued to a third season?

DEKKER: Well, the writers were very secretive, so we weren’t ever really told much beyond a couple episodes.  I think TERMINATOR would have followed John’s story into the future, then go back and forth between the future and the present where Sarah still was. All of it would have been about how I rise to become the John Connor of the Terminator saga as opposed to being just a random guy.  It would have been really interesting, and I’m really proud of that series for being my first show where I got to play a lead, other than the Disney HONEY, I SHRUNK THE KIDS show I did from age nine to 12.

AX: Gregg’s KABOOM was a real return to the kind of sexually sassy movies that started his career.  Is shooting a fun and sexy movie as fun and sexy as it looks?

DEKKER: It’s very fun. I don’t know about sexy.  It’s very pragmatic because Gregg is so specific with his shots.  He storyboards the entire script with little drawings next to every line. I’m sure it could be very sexy if he was shooting it very loose and handheld, with that sort of feeling like you were really in it, which makes it a little more comfortable I guess. But I just had a great time on that film.  That entire cast was really talented, and full of smart young people. I knew it would be because it’s Gregg’s, but the fact that we got a standing ovation at Cannes and Sundance was terrific. KABOOM is Gregg’s biggest financial success, even if were shot in what was basically an abandoned warehouse with a tiny little set, no craft service and no money. We were all just doing it for the love of it.  Gregg’s kind of a magician in making a film look much bigger than what it really was in person.  It’s just wild that it’s doing everything it’s done.

AX: Can you tell me about your new CW TV series SECRET CIRCLE?

DEKKER: It’s based on the same books by the author of THE VAMPIRE DIARIES and it’s Kevin Williamson’s new baby.  I’ve been a very big fan of Kevin’s for a long time. SCREAM was really my pre-teen obsession.  I met with Kevin and I guess he enjoyed what I’d been doing these last few years. He cast me in the role of Adam Conant. He’s a sort of an all American normal guy who becomes involved with a convent of witches.

AX: What’s also cool is you also keep doing these little genre pictures like LAID TO REST and ALL ABOUT EVIL on top of your bigger projects like NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET and MY SISTER’S KEEPER.

DEKKER: I told my publicist that it’s got to be a nightmare to try and work with me, because my whole m.o. since I basically became an adult has been to try to do as big, and different a variety of work as possible- with one thing right after the other. I’ve been very fortunate to get that opportunity. I have another film that’s opening the Tribeca Film Festival that I’m really proud of called ANGELS CREST I made it a week after KABOOM, and it’s probably one of my absolute favorite things I’ve done, I went from playing this bisexual college student to a hunter in Montana with a two year old son and an alcoholic ex-wife. So I’m definitely following my path of specific desire as an actor to now go from that to Lance and a new CW show.

AX: Yet you’re one of the youngest-looking actors who’s this busy. That makes you just right for the CW.

DEKKER: I just turned 23.  It does feel a bit weird to be doing scenes in a high school this week, but there are far older actors playing younger roles than me so I’m not feeling too guilty yet.

AX: You’ll be making your second film as a writer and director soon as well.

DEKKER: Though I made WHORE with my own finances, it’s gotten me enough belief and support to do a fully budgeted movie with actual money that’s not my own. The movie’s called THE WALK OF FAME, which will have Shiloh Fernandez is in it. I’ve been friends with him for years and years, and I’m very excited about working with him. WALK will also have a pretty big ensemble of talented young people that I’m very excited about.

AX: Lance Loud certainly revealed how much talent he had beyond being on AN AMERICAN FAMILY. He did so much with his life that you could make a whole other film about him.

DEKKER: Yeah, I’d love to see a film all about Lance. His life after the series ended was a fascinating road. As I told you, I hadn’t known about Lance prior to the project. Now it’s pretty much that happens with everywhere I go and anyone I meet, because the generation above me seems to have know Lance personally.  I mean it’s just crazy.  People who are already friends of mine like John Waters and Mink Stole were close to him, as well as the owners of Serendipity in New York. Greg Gorman, the photographer I just did a shoot with for Venice, knew Lance very well too. So all these people that I knew or run into had a connection with Lance, which really speaks as to how much of a presence he was.

AX: If you got to meet Lance what would you say?

DEKKER: “Can I buy you a drink?”  I guess that’s what I would say.  I would like to get a good old bottle of whiskey and talk with Lance for a good long time. And I’d probably be very entertained. Lance definitely gave me one of the most fascinating dream roles I could ever play.  So I owe a lot to him.

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Current Projects
Backstrom
Thomas as Gregory Valentine
Quirky crime drama featuring Thomas as a former gay prostitute and Backstrom's connection to the criminal world.
Genre: Drama | TV Series
Airdate: January 22 / FOX
More Information Photos Website

Fear Clinic
Thomas as Blake

Thomas plays a damaged young man checking into the Fear Clinic.
Genre: Horror | Movie
Airdate: DVD Release in March
More Information Photos Website

Enter The Dangerous Mind
Thomas as Jake

Thriller about a mentally ill musician.
Genre: Thriller | Film
Airdate: Unknown
More Information Photos Website

The White City
Thomas as Kyle

Moving story about a pair of troubled young artists in Israel.
Genre: Drama | Film
Airdate: Unknown
More Information Photos Website

My Eleventh
Thomas as

Thriller about a kidnapping.
Genre: Thriller | Film
Airdate: Unknown
More Information Photos Website

JacobJosephAimee
Thomas as Jacob

The story of a love triangle between Jacob, Josef and Aimee.
Genre: Drama | Film
Airdate: 2015
More Information Photos Website

The Potters
Thomas as Asher Potter

Animated story of a girl seeking memories of a forgotten life.
Genre: Animation | Film
Airdate: 2015
More Information Photos Website

Links
Thomas doesn't currently have any official sites other than the following:

Twitter
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Site Information
Site Name: Thomas Dekker Source
Established on: August 2008
Owner: Sarah
The webmaster(s) of this website claim no ownership to any material seen on this website and is used, to the best of their knowledge, under the "Fair Use" copyright laws.
Musical Projects
Zero Times Zero
Thomas's brand new musical venture is the art collective 0X0.
Official Site | Twitter.

Plush
Thomas has 2 songs featured on the Official soundtrack for Plush, which he co-wrote. "Half of Me (Enzo Remix)" and my personal obsession, "Ultraviolet".

iTunes | Amazon

Psyanotic
Thomas's eccentric but inspired debut album Psyanotic.
CD Baby | iTunes

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