Paul Dawson and PJ DeBoy are the sex stars of the hottest (in every sense of the word) movie of last year – now out on DVD! Hear them talk about self-sucking, musical rimming and all sorts of crazy shizz, all in the name of art.
So, did you two know each other before Shortbus?
Paul: Yeah, we’ve known each other for ten years or a little more.
And you were lovers before this? I’m assuming you’re gay…
Paul: We’re lovers but we’re not gay [laughs]
Didn’t everyone work out who they wanted to shag during workshops for Shortbus?
Paul: John approached all of us and said, ‘You know, I’m thinking of making this film’ and we both said, ‘Make sure you call us when you do and when you call us in make sure you read me with him because you’ll get some chemistry,’ and so he did!
So, it’s a Mike Leigh sort of thing, where you all develop your own characters…
PJ: Exactly! We met Mike Leigh in New York when he was promoting Vera Drake and we told him what we were doing…
Paul: Told him we were doing the sex scenes and stuff and he went, ‘Urgh, I wouldn’t touch that with a barge pole’.
Have you ever had sex in front of other people before?
Paul: Oh, I’m sure somewhere [laughs]. But it’s an un-sexual environment. On the day that we shot, I was like, ‘OK, just pretend you’re in that sex club you were in years ago.’
PJ: Years ago!?
Paul: OK, last week. But I couldn’t do it. Our friends were the people behind the camera. It was a real challenge. And for men, you can’t act a hard-on or ejaculation.
PJ: The thing is that society only wants a hard-on in specific places, like pornography or a magazine. But it’s such a beautiful sight and to be part of this film that actually allows hard-ons! It’s really liberating… And it shows sex in a healthy way.
Did you get turned on in the orgy scenes?
Paul: We weren’t even in the room. We were in like a holding room.
PJ: The actors in the orgy scenes were sextras.
It’s quite a polysexual experience, with gay men getting it on with women…
PJ: That’s the fluidity of sexuality. It’s only in a society where we try to rigidly define who we are by saying ‘I’m this and you’re that…’ Life’s not really like that.
From now on, are you going to be known as the guys who fucked in that movie?
PJ: It’ll be on my gravestone. The Star-Spangled Banner theme [There’s a scene in the film where he sings that up some guy’s arse] We’ve heard that the act of singing Star-Spangled Banner like that has actually become known as ‘spangling’…
Come back tomorrow for part two of this exclusive interview and some words from director John Cameron Mitchell. Shortbus is out on DVD from today. Really, you should buy it.