Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Simon Pearce's "Shank" - Sexual Confusion in the Uncompromising Coming-of-Age Film

Cal is an 18 year old thug who runs around with his violently wayward friends, sniffing coke, beating the anonymous guy on the streets of Bristol, smashing cars and vandalizing walls. But Cal is having feelings he couldn't share with his best mate Jonno (Tom Bott). So on the side, he meets up with strangers for sex. He gets off being filmed while being sodomized. Once the deed is done, he scurries off, but not before he mauls them bloodied! One day, he rescues a visiting French student Olivier, and he falls from Jonno's grace! Suddenly, his life is turned upside down! But he soon reluctantly embraces his feelings toward Olivier. But their lives are in peril from one pissed off Jonno!

Cal is played by newcomer Wayne Virgo who's too handsome, it was hard to take my eyes off the screen. But that's bonus! Simon Pearce's film is an uncompromising slice of British life that deals with violence and acceptance. Some scenes are exceedingly graphic, it isn't an easy watch. But with its searing honesty, "Shank" (which is slang for "knife") takes the cake for being one of the most compelling works we've seen this year! Released 2009, "Shank" enjoys a main stream quality of film making that has to be seen by every one who loves great cinema - straight or gay!

Words of warning: violent, sexually graphic scenes, frontal nudity! Lots of it!

Wayne Virgo is a working chef!

Here are excerpts from Gaydarnation.com's interview with Wayne Virgo:

Tell me a little about Shank. What can we expect?
Shank is a coming of age film where a gang member, Cal, is getting new feelings in life that he can't share with anyone until someone comes into his life. You can expect to be shocked and amazed by what the story holds.

So what was it that drew you to the film?
What drew me to the film was the lead role. [Laughs]. It was my first film and I don't think anyone would dream of giving up the chance to play such a demanding role in a film.

What does the title mean?
The title means knife or blade.

Tell us a little about your character in Shank.
Cal is an average lad who likes to hang out in a gang, take drugs and party. He has his own secret - he's gay - and hanging around with the people he does, he can't afford to let it slip, until someone he fancies is on the end of Jonno's knuckles. This is where Cal's life changes, experiencing new feelings in different places.

So, how similar are you to him?
I'm pretty similar to Cal - we have the same things in common, hanging about the streets, partying and really just chilling.

I’ve seen some sexy images from the film, do you mind getting your kit off onscreen?
When I first got my kit off, I was a little bit embarrassed but I knew exactly what was needed for the scenes. I stepped up to the mark as an actor and accepted what was needed.

There are some great sex scenes in the film. Are they quite as sterile as actors make out?
I'm not really sure because seeing it on screen looked and felt completely different than on set.

How did you go about filming the sex scenes – what’s the process?
We had rehearsals beforehand, so knowing what was needed out of the scene was the key point. But when we were on set, we went over and over what was needed until we were comfortable then took the shots. I was comfortable with it all and just got on with it.

How do you feel about the fact that there’s going to be a lot of guys lusting after you?
I'm flattered, but as long as they enjoyed it, I'm happy.

What would you say is your best asset and if you could change one thing about your body, what would it be?
My best asset has gotta be my cheeky smile. One thing I would change about my body is to gain some weight.

What was the most challenging scene for you to film?
The most challenging scene has got to be the sex scene because it was weird getting it on with a bloke and being naked. I was taken out my comfort zone but I'm really pleased it went down so well.

What about a scene or moment that you’re most proud of?
I'm really proud of the rape scene because it was so brutal and shocking. Seeing my mum's reaction to that scene, I knew we got what we wanted.

Finish the sentence: A good night out starts with….?
A good night out starts with a beer.

And it ends with…?
A stranger in bed.

What’s one of the most outrageous things you’ve ever done?
I broke a bouncer's car window with a pushbike and ended up in court.

What comes first for you: sex or love?
A bit of both, but if I had to pick, sex.

What do you think is the secret of a good relationship?

What has been your greatest discovery online?
My greatest discovery on line has gotta be Facebook - I don't really go online that much.

And finally, what’s next for you?
Hopefully more film or TV work, but at the moment, my job as a chef and getting money.

Gang leader Jonno played by the dangerously gorgeous Tom Bott.

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