Whether he’s captivating us on Instagram or competing to be the hunkiest gay hunk in Atlanta, local guy Jared Allman knows how to get our attention. Now you can see him on the big screen and in the flesh at Out on Film.
Allman (top photo) will attend the festival on Wednesday with his newest film “More Scenes from a Gay Marriage,” a sequel that's on our Out on Film shortlist of must-sees, and one that you may actually have helped make a reality. After the screening, he’ll take your questions with director/co-star Matt Riddlehoover. You may also see him around with some other actors while working on a side project that will benefit Atlanta's homeless LGBT youth agency Lost N Found.
Before the big Out on Film reveal, we spoke with Allman about that new project, the Out On Film flick, his fellow Top 10 Out on Film hunks Charlie David and Rodiney Santiago, the importance of gay film festivals, and how he’s adjusted to Atlanta since moving here in 2012.
What can audiences expect from “More Scenes from a Gay Marriage”?
I think the film itself is not a serious film, but the message about marriage equality is. It’s funny and quirky. What better way to create a dialogue or perpetuate a narrative than through humor? The struggle of maintaining a relationship is hard, you know? It’s a lot of tears and laughter. The film itself is a comedy.
With the first film, we were doing something kind of daring and bold. We were making a gay film that didn’t have any sex or nudity! A lot of people said, “Oh, you’ll never get distributed,” but we didn’t make it to get distributed. We made it to tell a story and poke a little fun at ourselves.
The success was a surprise for us, and fans wanted another film. When we set out to make the sequel, we wanted to give it to them.
Do audiences need to see ‘Scenes from a Gay Marriage’ (second photo with Santiago) to understand this film?
That’s what’s great about it. A lot of sequels try to make it where you don’t have to see the first one to understand what’s going on. In the second film, basically, they’ve made a film about the first one.
It’s a film within a film, and it’s a running joke that it’s on all the time, and that they can’t turn on the TV without seeing it. And then we recap all of the crazy parts of the first film that actually happened, and exaggerate them. So I think that yeah, you can watch it and not see the first one to know what’s going on.
Where is your character Joe in this film compared to the original?
In the first film, I was definitely lost. I had a divorce from a woman, and I was trying to find myself – soul-searching about whether I was gay, which, of course I was gay. Trying to find a career where I could be happy. This time, I’m definitely gay, and dating a man. I joined the national police force. I was more “rough around the edges,” and now I’m more straight laced, character as a result of my career. I’m definitely a little more stuffy than I was in the first film. I don’t think I mean to be, but in life, it just happens. You change – sometimes for better, sometimes not.
You’ve worked with co-star and director Matt Riddlehoover before. What’s your collaborative process like?
I think it’s really always a joy to collaborate with talented people you’ve worked with before. When you get a job, on the first day you might hold back a little. It’s natural. You’re trying to test the waters, see who you jive with and who you don’t. When you work with the same people over and over, you don’t have those first-day jitters. You’re comfortable, and you know everybody.
You also worked with some new cast members this time. What was it like to get so cozy with Rodiney Santiago (third photo) and Charlie David?
I feel like anyone who’s watched “The A-List” or who knows Rodiney before. I met him at a GLAAD party in New York City. We were hanging out and got to know each other a little bit before he even got cast. It was kind of awesome, how it worked out. He’s great – not just a pretty face, but a sweetheart.
And Charlie David is just a cool dude. He’s Canadian, and super chill. Just awesome, you know. It’s been really refreshing. You know, I’m a new actor, and Charlie’s been doing it for a long time. He’s had success producing and starring in “Dante’s Cove” and all the other stuff he’s done.
It felt like family, and that’s the way I like to work. I don’t like attitude or ego; it just holds everything up. On our set, we really don’t have any of that. We want to build each other up and support each other. Shine together.
What else are you doing professionally these days?
I moved in Atlanta to be more involved in the film community, and it’s been great. Atlanta talent’s really getting a showcase, and they’re casting more roles here. Of course, they’re coming here to save money, and they were casting in L.A. and bringing people in, but there’s more opportunity here.
One of my goals this year was that I wanted to learn more about the art of filmmaking, so I’ve been working on producing a film right now. It’s a short called “Unconditional Love,” and it’s going to benefit Atlanta’s Lost-n-Found Youth. It’s a lot of work – planning and prep, but the film itself is a great story.
GLAAD and The Trevor Project do amazing work, but I think of Cody Wayne Phillips, who’s in the news right now. We lost someone here in the South, and the South is where we need the outreach the most, not New York City or L.A. We’re, unfortunately, 20-30 years behind those cities. The South is getting more attention now than it was five years ago, but still, this is where we need outreach and help and volunteers, just to get that point across – you’re not alone. You may feel alone, but soon you’ll know you weren’t.
I’m actually working on a film we’re going to shoot at Out on Film. It’s a comedy about film festivals. I wanted to do a film about film festivals because they’re crazy and fun; it’s a comedy about this girl who, for her senior class project, is writing on the relevancy of LGBTQIA film festivals in society – do we really need a gay film festival, and why? David Moretti, Chad Darnell and I are all in it, and it’s going to be kind of an improv thing where we all play exaggerated versions of ourselves and get into shenanigans.
But do we need it? As gay actors, there are gay characters on every major network, and in most films. But I think we do need it. I don’t see it as a negative thing, ever, getting to showcase people’s hard work and dreams. We love it, but we want to poke fun a little bit.
Now that you’ve lived in Atlanta for a few years, how have you adjusted?
Well, at first, I really didn’t like it. I lived out of the Perimeter at my brother’s house, and I didn’t really get the experience, I don’t think. I lived so far away, and I was scared to go out, because I’d have something to drink, and then I didn’t want to drive all the way back to Alabama, basically, and risk it.
Now that I live in Buckhead, I’m getting to experience more and I like it. I just like the vibe, and how it feels like it’s the Capitol of the South, in a way. There’s the large LGBT community, and a good mix of folks. Talented folks, hard-working folks. There’s a lot of nightlife, concerts, events – you can do something every day, if you want.
And I like options. Even if I don’t take options, I like to have them, so I like that about the city. I grew up in the country. We had, like, two stop signs, a Hardees, and a Save-A-Lot. It’s a far cry from there, for sure. It’s starting to feel like home.
“More Scenes from a Gay Marriage” screens on Wednesday, Oct. 8 @ Landmark Midtown Art Cinema, 9:30 p.m. Watch the trailer.