“THE Birdcage” … Patrick Askin has the right of it.
The 1996 film, based on the French-Italian film, “La Cage aux Folles,” is the last (and one of the few) mainstream comedies featuring openly gay lead characters played by Robin Williams (Armand Goldman) and Nathan Lane (Albert Goldman). Think about it ... Name another ... There has not been one since.
If PA has his way, his filmmaker debut (actor, writer, and producer), “Nick and Nicky,” will be the next, or at least one of the next. The New-York based actor talked up his film to Yours Truly and the result of our tête-à-tête is a series of questions and answers interspersed throughout this report.
YOURS TRULY: What is "Nick and Nicky" about?
PATRICK ASKIN: "Nick and Nicky" is a modern-day screwball comedy and murder mystery.
PA, whose credits include “Sex in the City,” loves film. He is particularly partial to old films and comedies.
He hopes “Nick and Nicky” will attract both a gay audience and classic film buffs. That's a lot of eyeballs.
YT: What inspired the title and project (Nick and Nora Charles, for instance)?
PA: They are modeled on Nick and Nora.
When one considers the pantheon of screwball comedies, “The Thin Man” film franchise, starring Asta the dog and William Powell and Myrna Loy as The Charleses, should come easily to mind.
The leads in “Nick and Nicky” are PA as Nick Darling, a slick, smart aleck sleuth. Fetching, flippant fiance Nicky (Ian Whitt) is his life partner. (See trailer above).
YT: Does the couple have a dog or pet?
PA: Yes. A dog. Her name is Nora [Dakota].
It should be noted that at the moment, “Nick and Nicky" is in production. This is an exceptional disclosure because PA is raising funds to finish it, in part through his second crowdfunding campaign.
YT: Why have you chosen a comedy as your debut project?
PA: I have always wanted to be in movies that have sophisticated wit.
In other words, PA is hoping for help from you, you, you, you and you as well as your friends family frenemies and other$ to finish and promote "Nick & Nicky." He has until 30 Dec. to raise enough to qualify for matching funds. (Visit http://www.hatchfund.org/project/nick_and_nicky and http://www.nickandnickythemovie.com/contribute/
Robin Williams and Nathan Lane in "The Birdcage." Archive photo.
YT: You've been open about the fact that the characters are not heterosexual. Why have you made them homosexual?
PA: Making the leads a gay couple makes contemporary the concept of a 1930s style screwball comedy.
Yet PA, who has gotten good notices for his one-man show, “Posing,” discourages future audiences and potential donors from becoming fixated on the fact that the leads in “Nick and Nicky" are gay. (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Posing/133593443323760)
“I didn't write this just to be a gay, independent film,” he has said. “I wrote it with a crossover audience in mind, because I think there is an audience out there for a more sophisticated kind of humor.”
YT: Describe briefly how you plan to, if you can explain it, go about making a screwball comedy featuring openly gay characters appealing to audiences that populate the metroplexes of this country?
PA: I think audiences are ready to embrace films where the leads just happen to be gay.
Myrna Loy and William Powell as Nora and Nick Charles in "The Thin Man." Archive photo.
Perhaps. On paper, the wedding scene in “Nick and Nicky” is exquisite: Nick is the groom. Nicky is the bride, to be married in white. His mother gives him away. The best man is a lesbian detective. The maid of honor is an ex-boyfriend. Nora, the dog is the flower girl … Just a typical wedding party. No?
Said PA, “All of these are archetypes that people will relate to. I have turned everything on its head, gender-wise.”
Visit http://www.nickandnickythemovie.com/ to learn more about “Nick and Nicky,” including how to contribute to the production.