Tanner Cohen gained a huge amount of fans after he played the lead role in the gay-themed musical Were The World Mine. However except for brief appearances in the likes of Looking, we haven’t seen too much of him since (although he’s certainly been busy). Now he’s back with Getting Go: The Go Doc Project, which is released on DVD and VoD in the UK on June 23rd.
In the movie Tanner plays Doc, a young man fascinated by go-go dancer Go. After Doc gets Go to agree to be the subject of a documentary he wants to make, their relationship develops in unexpected directions.
Yesterday we posted our chat with Getting Go star Matthew Camp, and we were also fortunate enough to chat to Tanner about the film and what he’s been up to since Were The World Mine. He also made us wonder just how close him and Matthew got!
Getting Go is your first film since Were The World Mine? Had you been offered other roles, and if so, what was it about Getting Go that lured you in front of the camera?
I’ve actually spent the last few years writing novels. I’m finishing my third one now which comes out in January, it’s about a sorority and it’s called ‘Dirty Rush,’ pretty intense stuff. Kind of, haha. And as far as getting involved with Getting Go, I loved the risk and the creativity of the concept. I thought the role would give me some room to play around a lot, and it did.
You’re a bit of a multi-hyphenate as you write and do other things as well. What do you consider yourself most as – actor, writer, musician, artist?
To be honest, I have no idea. I think I’d like to never have an answer to that.
How did the process of making the movie work?
Different sections were maneuvered in different ways. Some were scripted, blocked and rehearsed. Other moments were entirely instinctive and off the cuff.
Getting Go has an improvised feel (in a good way). To what extent was it scripted and how much were you just allowed to find your own way though it?
It’s tough to give a percentage. It all blended together in the end.
Were you involved before Matthew, and did you and he have to spend time getting to know one another, to ensure the project might work?
I met Matt when I read with him at the audition, he was already attached to the project. And I think that was our only interaction before we started shooting. The idea was to capture our meeting as authentically as they could on film. So, our relationship really did unfold as we shot, not before.
How much is the character of Doc based on you?
A little bit. I brought some of my own physicalities and speech patterns, but his outlook and personal philosophies… yeah, we wouldn’t agree on much I don’t think.
Did you ever wish you could do a bit of go-go dancing yourself?
Every damn day. Just kidding. Kind of.
Did you end up filming a lot of the movie yourself (i.e. you had to hold the camera). Was that a skill you had to master?
That was new for me. Cory, our director helped a lot. There are even scenes where he would stand behind me holding my arm as I shot, leading me where to go.
How did you make sure the sex scenes would seem frank without being gratuitous?
I think we just got lucky that it worked out that way. By that point in the schedule, we’d become pretty close, pretty fast!
During production did you wonder whether it would work? What did you think when you saw the final product?
Yeah, I wondered that throughout, but honestly that kept it exciting. I was happily surprised when I saw the first cut of it. Mostly at how sweet it is.
The film is interested in what it means to be gay in the modern world, is that something you’re interested in yourself?
Of course, a little bit. Although when I really get into thinking about it, I’m more observant and analytical than philosophical.
I was interested in how the movie dissolves the line between the side of gay life that’s sexually driven and the broader, often political/social sides of gay life, and how we set up artificial divides between those things. Do you think generally gay people need to find a better synthesis between those two things – that go-go boys and gay rights aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive?
I think it’s important for any culture, gay or otherwise, to accept and incorporate the variants within the group. There’s never just one way of looking at something.
What do you hope people can take from Getting Go?
I guess I’d want people to have fun while they watch it, and think about the dilemmas in these character’s lives aftewards.
Do you still have a lot of fans who recognise you from Were The World Mine? Are you proud of that movie?
I do, it’s fun. I’m super proud to have been a part of that movie.
I read that you take pride on taking interesting gay roles. Some LGBT actors talk about being straitjacketed into playing gay people, but you seem to have embraced it. Why is that?
Being cast as gay roles doesn’t present an issue to me. There need to be more gay roles, different gay roles, unique gay characters. I want to be a part of that.
What are you working on now?
Finishing the last stages of editing my new book, and also starting a screenplay with my brother, David, who’s also my writing partner.
You popped up very briefly in the pilot of Looking. Do you think there’s any chance you’ll make a reappearance in Season 2 – after all, Agustin is single now?
I don’t think so, but you never know. I think in the real world, that character would definitely pop up again some time or another in his life.
Thank you, Tanner.