LESSONS FROM DEL SHORES
I was first introduced to Del Shores in 1999 when I happened to catch a film playing on television late one Friday night. I was nine years old and this film was definitely not for nine year old eyes. “Daddy’s Dyin’… Who’s Got the Will?” is a dark comedy that’s rooted in reality yet oozes unbelievable moments that focuses on a feuding family who reunite at their Texas home as their father lies on his deathbed.
Of course, at the time I had no idea (and no comprehension probably) that the movie had actually been written by someone. It didn’t trigger in my head that someone had actually put thought and reason into each and every character and plot detail of the story. But when I grew up and when I became more intrigued by the film industry I began to realise that someone actually directed this story, someone produced it and first and foremost someone wrote this story.
And it turned out the mind behind this particular story that I had been exposed to at nine years old was a man named Del Shores. Born in Texas in 1957, Del has a lot of strings to his bow including Playwright, Producer, Director, Actor, Comedian and self proclaimed “Shit Stirrer”. I have been in correspondence with Mr. Shores since 2010, and supported his recent film projects closely. Del is a gay and human rights activist and campaigns strongly for equality – something that I believe vehemently in life. Currently he is raising funds in an exciting new venture to create a film sequel to one of his most popular creations. Earlier this week I caught up with Del and asked him a few questions about his life in the film industry, and about his life in general.
First Movie You Ever Saw?
DS: I really do not know the answer to that. I remember watching lots of Westerns as a kid with my Dad. When I started paying attention to movies? Late night in Zapata, Texas, staying up and watching “Valley of The Dolls“. I thought it was brilliant.
Movies That Inspired You?
Last Movie That Had You Crying with Laughter?
Last Movie That Had You Sobbing?
DS: I saw a screening of “Southern Baptist Sissies” (Facebook Page HERE) last night in Nashville. I never see my film without a tear or two. Matthew Scott Montgomery, Dale Dickey, Leslie Jordan — and Emerson Collins and Luke Stratte-McClure break my heart in my film. Outside of my own, “12 Years A Slave” and “Dallas Buyers Club“. That hug between Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey was as powerful as it gets.
Scariest Film You’ve Ever Seen?
DS: Oh horror movies fuck me up. When I was a kid, I remember this one called “Blood & Lace” I saw at the drive-in. Scared the shit out of me.
“Oh horror movies fuck me up!”
The Next Movie You Will See?
DS: Not sure. I really want to see “This is Where I Leave You“. Looks like my kind of film. I’m flying today, so it may be one on the plane I can watch.
How does a small town Texas boy get to be a writer for such shows as “Queer as Folk” and “Dharma and Greg”?
DS: You simply tell stories and make sure someone hears them. I wrote plays. People came. Offers came because of the plays. And luck!
What made you go into writing and filmmaking?
DS: I’ve just always been a story teller. My mom’s family encouraged me to “lie” as a kid. I blame them!
You take a lot from your childhood and family life for scripts – do you find writing from what you know is the best way of writing
“You simply tell stories and make sure someone hears them…”
You have gone through a lot in life – marriage, coming out, divorce, break-ups etc. Does your personal life ever affect or impact your inspiration for scripts?
DS: Of course! I write what I know. I embrace my damage. I always say — without damage, I wouldn’t have a career.
You have worked with many great actors and people in the industry, who are some people you would LOVE to work with?
DS: Sissy Spacek, Whoopi Goldberg and the goddess of all – Meryl Streep. Jessica Lange. And Robert Duval for one amazing actor, since I’m usually obsessed with actresses.
You seem to form really close bonds to specific people you work with (Leslie Jordan for example) – Who are your closest friends and how easy is it to keep in touch with people?
DS: Leslie is one of them. We text daily. Talk weekly. See each other when we can. Debby Holiday is an amazing friend! I have friends who are not as famous. Wyatt, McGhee & Jamison. Emerson Collins and Louise Beard, my producing partners, are two of my best friends. Two of my best friends, Sharyn and Rona, passed away and that hurt like hell. But on we go!
Can you tell me a little bit about the exciting new SORDID LIVES project, A VERY SORDID WEDDING?
DS: We are crowd funding now and it’s going well. The excitement is mounting. The theme is Equality and many of the actors are coming back.
Because you campaign and feel very strongly about equality, sexuality and discrimination I want to know what YOU think the future is for the LGBT community? Can you see a light at the end of the tunnel, a time when we will no longer have to campaign?
DS: Oh a huge bright light. We have over 60% of all states now here in the USA and daily more good news. The fight is really almost over!
“Oh a huge bright light… the fight is really almost over!”
Del is currently planning to film a sequel to his famous “Sordid Lives” television program and movie, with many of the original actors returning to their roles. It’s a very exciting project for fans of Del’s writing/directing and also for fans of the original series.
What makes it more exciting and fun is the fact that fans themselves can help to produce the film by helping to fund it! To find out more about Del’s new project “A Very Sordid Wedding” and help support the production of the film, please visit the Indiegogo Site HERE!
LIKE! Del Shores on Facebook HERE!
SUBSCRIBE! To Del Shores on YouTube HERE!