Del Shores returns to the ‘Sordid’ world 17 years later

That was truly my inspiration. That is a really great question. Do you think you would return to Sordid   down the line? Show Full Article When I wrote Southern Baptist Sissies that was the first time that I really ventured out into pure drama with themes where there was not one laugh sometimes. You can’t have Leslie Jordan not perform Tammy Wynette. We need to move on to some other stories. Fans first met Juanita, Brother Boy, Latrelle, Sissy, and the gang in Del Shores’ play-turned-movie   Sordid Lives   in 2001. Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling, and deals   with the ensuing responses to the decision from various members of the community. With Sordid, that’s why: People genuinely care. That’s why so many gay fans are comfortable to share Sordid Lives with their families. Advancing it all the way to 2015, just made so much sense. Because I saw what happens when equality comes roaring into these rural areas, where these religious bigots are still fighting and screaming even louder because we now have laws that protect us. As a kid I was always inspired by the comedy of Carol Burnett. I guess Modern Family in a way if you have to. I do. We lost the amazing Sarah Hunley after we shot. When the original movie came out, it was never my intention to have people come out to their families by showing Sordid Lives to them, which I always thought was a little bit odd. Since then, the cult favorite has spawned a short-lived TV series (Sordid Lives: The Series) and now, 17 years later, a movie sequel in   A Very Sordid Wedding. It’s not really a gay story. The series has such a following, were you thinking of just giving fans what they want? Never say never. I like that tone but in that, but I didn’t have to go to that well. [But] they saw people in that. Is representation better? There you have family members happen to be gay and the show is not really gay. That could be a possibility. They were asking this question at a Q&A. Oddly enough I’ve never been worried about the tone as long I stay true to the characters. So it’s a combo in writing. The limited-release film   is set in the small town of Winters, Texas in 2015, following the U.S. Let’s take the character of Brother Boy. and I was able to return to my characters and see how they have evolved or how they haven’t, given the circumstances of their lives and the circumstances of what’s going on in the country. I had that ability to remember verbatim things that they said. I just became an observer of behavior and dialogue. If you don’t care about [the characters] you’re not gonna think about it the next day. You touch on   real issues in the movie. But I’ve always gravitated organically to blending tones and usually get good reviews about that. But you and I could sit here and probably list 15 shows with gay characters — and very good gay characters. Having worked in television and film, do you feel like one medium is more progressive than the other in terms of representation? But I think it’s the end. Sordid is rather unique. I think so. I would literally go back in my head to the town I grew up in and then returned to every single summer. Where would you fit Sordid in terms of gay representation? Were you afraid of losing the Sordid tone? Queer as Folk is gay gay gay gay gay. What made you want to return again? I really feel that Queer as Folk preceded it all. I love that, that we don’t have to have our own show. I knew the fans would love that. I often say I’m really not a writer, I’m just a thief. You suddenly had gay characters who weren’t just the clown. Or were you focused on what you wanted for the characters? I literally re-write for every single character so that I can get inside their head and kind of breath them throughout the script. Suddenly it gave them the bravery to come out… I can’t think of any other show. I immerse myself into this world. At the same time, my movie’s the only one so far that has really captured what happened after that Supreme Court decision. I loved Dick Clair and Jenna McMahon’s Mama’s Family. What makes a film or show something that culturally moves the bar? All I had to do was go to my mother’s family. EW caught up with writer-director Shores to discuss returning to his Sordid   world, and whether gay   representation in pop culture has really gotten better. We’ve seen it in both mediums, but I do feel like TV paved the way. They were actually people with relationships, with children, with problems, who actually have sex. Beard Collins Shores
Gay rights have really progressed since the original film and Queer as Folk, which you wrote for. I did feel like in telling this story that it was the last chapter for Sordid Lives and for the Sordid characters. You   jumped so many mediums with Sordid   — was there anyone or any series you looked at as a model for how to do this? My actors, they’re getting up there… I guess I could always do Sordid Lives the early days. And Rue McClanahan. That’s what life is about. I added Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton and just had such a blast. ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Since Sordid Lives, you also made a TV show with these characters. We don’t really have that show anymore. SHORES: I love these characters, and people wanted to know where they ended up, with what was going on with the LGBTQ community and our progress that was being made, yet so much hatred is being spewed from pulpits and politicians’ podiums. I do know my fans and characters and what they expect. It’s just much more a family story that happens to have gay members, which most people do.