Director Doug Langway thought the original “BearCity” might be popular, but he needed to see for sure. He did. The sequel to Out On Film’s most successful movie ever hits Atlanta to wrap up this year’s gay film festival on Thursday night.
Langway and lead actor Gerald McCullouch will be at Thursday’s screening of “BearCity 2: The Proposal,” which is sponsored by Project Q Atlanta. They will answer questions from the audience after the movie, then there’s a Closing Night afterparty at the Atlanta Eagle.
The original “BearCity” caused a mini-riot at the Midtown Art Cinema two years ago when the local gay bears literally ate the theater out of popcorn during Out On Film 2010. The staff is well equipped for this showing, the theater assures.
Langway says that when he made the original film three years ago, he had no idea he’d be doing a fur-filled sequel so soon but that its popularity made the decision obvious. He sees “BearCity” as the first bear romantic comedy. Though there have been a few other bear-themed films such as “Bear Cub” and “Bear Nation,” this was the first to truly resonate in the community.
“We knew we had a fan base,” Langway says.
The sequel returns all of the original major characters, including Roger (McCullouch) and Tyler (Joe Conti), his younger, just-discovered-he-likes-bears beau. The two characters finally became an item at the end of “BearCity,” and n “The Proposal,” the bear gang ensemble heads to Bear Week in Provincetown where Roger and Tyler plan to marry.
What Roger doesn’t realize is that his hunky, hairy ex flame will be there too. The film has a marriage equality theme and cameos from the likes of director Kevin Smith and Varla Jean Merman.
New to the leading cast is gay fave Kathy Najimy, who plays a den mother to the group in Provincetown.
“I didn’t go after her – she came to me - but she was on our short list,” Langway says. “She is an amazing actress.”
She heard about the role and liked it. The actress was on “Chelsea Lately” this summer to memorably discuss gay bears and how she learned all about the varieties of them – grizzlies, cubs, otters, etc.
As the guests of Thursday’s screening, Langway and McCullouch both have ties in Atlanta. Langway’s father lives here, and his dad is more than fine with him and his films, in case you were wondering. He says he’s looking forward to having a beer with his dad at the Eagle after the movie.
McCullouch, known also for his recurring role on “CSI” (Read our interview from the first “BearCity” movie) moved to Atlanta with his parents when he was in junior high school. He got his first professional gig here – at Six Flags over Georgia. After leaving the area for a while, he returned to attend Georgia State University and did some work at Theatre in the Square.
A third ”BearCity” looks like it will happen, but Langway is hesitant to give away any plot details. He will work on it after the film finishes festival and theatrical runs this year.
“BearCity 2: The Proposal” screens Thursday at 8:30 p.m. at Midtown Art Cinema with Out On Film, followed by a Q & A with the director and lead actor, then an afterparty at the Atlanta Eagle.
Check out Thursday’s full movie lineup beginning on page 45 of the online Out On Film guide.
Columnist Jim Farmer is festival director for Out On Film