We sat down in late February to talk with John Suazo, who plays the heteroflexible porn star and escort Kip in ‘Coffee House Chronicles: The Movie’, on Dekkoo. We wondered what it was like for a straight guy to be playing gay and bi in various film productions and web series the way he has.
Suazo’s first LGBT role was the J.C. Calciano-directed web series ‘Steam Room Stories’, also on Dekkoo, which was produced by fellow actor Nicholas Downs from ‘Coffee House Chronicles: The Movie’. Suazo said the producers asked, “‘Are you okay with twerking on camera?’ I said, ‘I’ll try.’” A legend was born.
Before he was modeling and acting, Suazo was in the Navy, and he was there when the infamously restrictive Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy was repealed. Suazo says, “I had a couple of gay friends in the Navy. After the repeal a couple more came out. But as far as being accepting, I really hadn’t had gay friends until the military. And even though it is a very macho atmosphere, you work so hard and you sweat and bleed next to these people, and it really kind of opens your eyes to the fact that it doesn’t matter. Nobody’s trying to peek at me in the shower or try anything. They’re just people, and good guys.”
When Suazo moved to Los Angeles, before he turned to acting, he found that a number of photographers wanted him to model for them, and demand rose for Suazo as an underwear model. Almost all of the photographers were terrific to work with, Suazo says, and he met a number of gay men who welcomed him into their broader artistic community.
Given the revelations of the #MeToo movement, did Suazo have any experiences with photographers taking liberties during that time? He says, “Any shady experiences I’ve had were very few, and they were when I was brand new to L.A.” But a few times, Suazo admits, he had to say, “That’s not a legitimate project!” Suazo even walked out on one name photographer who was acting inappropriately.
Fortunately Suazo had a number of colleagues and collaborators, gay and straight, who could keep him working with strong professional photographers, and that’s one of the things that contributed to his acting career.
And his LGBT roles have continued. In fact, at press time, Suazo was up for another gay role in a pilot. We asked him whether he senses straight actors having any trepidation taking on gay roles like they may have had in decades past. He replies with a wink, “Not real actors!” Then he adds, “I have met one or two out there that don’t want to take on a gay role or wouldn’t feel comfortable doing a scene where they have to be in love with a man. But every role you take on its not you, it’s not your real life. You’re playing somebody else.”
Suazo recalls that one straight actor was accused of being gay on social media. “An interviewer asked him ‘If you’re straight, why haven’t you defended yourself?’ And he said ‘I don’t see the need to defend myself against something that’s not offensive.’”
And how about actors outing themselves as LGBTQI in today’s Hollywood? Suazo says, “Actors are far more comfortable being out.” He adds, “I come from Arizona and, growing up in a red state, it was not quite as accepting of different lifestyles. I could see the difference in California and Los Angeles where I’m surrounded by artists, and the culture and the atmosphere here is based on people expressing themselves. So I think it’s wonderful we’re very comfortable being who we are.”
And now Suazo has numerous productions under his belt, including multiple LGBT ones. And in case it isn’t clear, he loves his gay fans! Suazo gets recognized from his various productions, especially in his neighborhood of West Hollywood. Do those fans ever overidentify with his gay or bi characters and get flirtatious? Well, Suazo admits sometimes he has to resort to saying he has a girlfriend. That way, he says, he positions it as “It’s not you, it’s me.”
Suazo has been working on honing his already sharp comedy skills since his ‘Coffee House Chronicles’ shoot. He says, “You hit your beats better when you are taking it very seriously. And when you have some very funny writing behind you.” High praise to his shows’ writers!
As we wrapped up our conversation, we found out one last detail: that John Suazo has stunt driving experience. And he even went to stunt-driving school briefly. Now we wish there had been a chase scene in ‘Coffee House Chronicles: The Movie’.
(New York, NY) April 20, 2018–On May 10, Dekkoo.com, the global streaming media service catering to queer men, will launch the six-episode first season of “Paper Boys,” a romantic San Francisco-based dramedy about discovering who you are–and, with a newfound magical power–becoming who you want to be.
“Paper Boys” tells the story of Cole, who, in a brash decision, secretly moves to San Francisco under the guise of his straight best friend’s engagement party to escape a dead-end career and the memories of a passionate summer fling with a boy in New York.
But when he arrives, he runs into the former fling and old feelings resurface. And after his friend, Daren, reveals his engagement was an accident, Cole uses the mysterious powers of a re-discovered sketchbook to try to put their lives back on track, whatever the consequences.
About the Creators
“Paper Boys” was created by Curtis Casella and Kyle Cabral. Casella writes, directs, and edits, and Cabral directed the first two episodes and plays Cole.The two initially met when they both lived in New York City, and became friends when they realized they shared a passion for storytelling.
Casella and Cabral (above with cinematographer Dan Chen) self-funded the first two episodes out of their own pockets and funded episodes 3 & 4 with Kickstarter. They had shot and released the first two episodes when Dekkoo stepped in to finance, expand and release “Paper Boys” as their fourth original series. Previous Dekkoo original series include “Feral,” “Love is Blind” and “I’m Fine.”
Cabral describes the somewhat-autobiographical “Paper Boys” as “the story of a young, gay Asian-American artist who moves from New York to San Francisco looking to jump-start his career and relationships, and discovers he has a magical power that allows him to reshape his life through his art.”
In real life, Cabral is a director, producer, illustrator, and animator who has created cinematics for video games (The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones) as well as his own queer art.
Three-quarters of cast, crew Asian-American, African-American, Latino, trans
In addition to being that rare queer series centered around a gay-straight male friendship and the struggles of millennial friends at disparate stages of their careers, diversity was also important for the creators, so nearly three-quarters of the cast and crew is Asian-American, African-American, Latino, or trans.
“There isn’t much media out there that explores these issues from the point of view of a queer person of color, or even a person of color,” says Cabral, who is Filipino-America. “One of the things that is really important to us is that ‘Paper Boys’ isn’t seen as just a series with gay people of color, but a series with gay people of color with a story and characters audiences like and want to see more of.”
When asked if they planned to expand the show to appeal to straight audiences, Casella says, “I don’t really care about that, to be honest. Straight people have literally every other show on TV that represents the varying experiences of being a straight person in today’s world. I think Kyle and I are proud for people to think of ‘Paper Boys’ as a ‘gay series’. There should be a lot more gay media!”
In a frat house where no one can be trusted, a new brother becomes the target of a masked killer. This over the top horror flick is chock full of hot guys in their skivvies! Stream ‘Alpha Delta Zatan’ on Dekkoo!
After drinking heavily and getting stuck in a YouTube hole of “It Gets Better” videos, a man reflects on his life and decides to tell his own story. Watch the Dekkoo Films short ‘It Gets Better?’ now on Dekkoo!
In her powerful documentary, which unfolds like a mystery novel, a young woman investigates the shadowy circumstances of her Uncles death. Watch ‘108’ now on Dekkoo!
Coming next week: Sir Ian McKellen delivers a riveting, award-winning performance as gay Hollywood horror director James Whale.
The dark history of Spain’s Franco era, including the punishing persecution of the LGBTQ community, is the subject of this absorbing and unsettling documentary. Stream ‘Bones of Contention’ now on Dekkoo!
After a few years of their relationship, Eryk leaves Filip and disappears without a trace. Filip is unable to handle the new situation and is convincing himself that the end of the relationship is also the end of his world. Watch ‘The End of My World’ now on Dekkoo!
Ray is a loner until he meets the mysterious Paul whilst exploring the woods, a place he can see in his dreams. As their love deepens Ray begins to suspect that Paul may not be who he seems and that the sinister figures that haunt the woods may be coming for them both. ‘The Secret Kiss’ is now available on Dekkoo!
Coming next week: A bloodbath of sexy studs!
Two young men – one a needy and lost man-boy, the other a guarded but lonely bartender – embark on a fun, intense relationship only to see it threatened when one is imprisoned for drug possession. ‘Beyond the Walls’ is available to stream now on Dekkoo!
A ghostly love story unfolds as two men look for answers where ocean meets sky and city meets wild in Rockaway Beach, NY. Watch ‘The Surf Report’ now on Dekkoo!
Chase has not confessed to his best college buddy Tyler that he is gay. When Tyler bring him home for the summer to hang out with his family, things get even worse. Chase finds a that he and Tyler’s dad Nathan have a strong attraction to one another. Soon, they’re left alone together and a shocking family secret develops. Watch ‘Mulligans’ now on Dekkoo!
Coming next week: A wonderful documentary that explores the theme of historical memory in post-Franco Spain, focusing on the unknown story of LGBT repression under “Franquismo”.
When John discovers his sister’s fiance is Jack, his childhood crush, passions ignite and his life spirals out of control…losing his job, his playboy reputation and his underwear, all while rushing to the altar to finally confess his love! ‘John Apple Jack’ is available to stream now on Dekkoo!
Pepijn and Sjors’ steady, seven-year relationship is shaken up after they allow a young student named Cas to sleep on their couch. Watch ‘CAS’ now, exclusively on Dekkoo!
A mischievous disabled girl absconds to London to find love and opportunity, but finds an unlikely outcome in her life when she hooks up-with a washed up male escort. Watch ‘Little Devil’ now on Dekkoo!
Coming next week: A wonderfully acted and taut love story of two outsiders.