I DO: A Film about Love, Family and a Green Card Marriage
Photos by: Peter Dive
You’re a young, rich, successful British boy band member told the careers of everyone around you depend on you hiding your sexuality... Do you:
A: Ensure you’re photographed at strip clubs, bubbling over with champagne and birds B: Go off the rails, crashing and burning or
C: Give up fame and fortune for the USA, where no one knows you, come back stronger with artfully chosen and artfully played gay film characters and go on to write your own movie about one of the most divisive inequality laws in America?
Meet David W Ross, the Boldest Bad Boy on the Block
Oh he’s out now alright, and he’s ready to give back to his community
The story: As one of the four members of Bad Boys Inc in the mid 90s nineteen year old David Ross was a household name. A&M Records relentlessly publicised the band as a naughty but nice boyish foursome with sell out tours of Europe and Asia, hundreds of live televised shows and thousands of magazine covers and appearances. It worked. Their debut album, imaginatively titled Bad Boys Inc., was a hit and the five singles that followed brought massive chart success, riches for all involved and a loyal following of screaming girls. Problem was David liked boys. And he was ready to come out. That didn’t fit the profile of clean cut girl fodder that Bad Boys Inc’s creators were pushing so David, not wanting to ruin the blossoming careers of his band mates, revealed nothing more than a bemused grin when prodded by the media. It was painful and frustrating however, not least because he was also struggling to come to terms with the recent death of his mother. When the record label’s decisions for the band threatened more than just his piece of mind about owning who he was sexually, he saw an opportunity to end the lie. Two years after storming the charts with “Don’t Talk About Love” Bad Boys Inc was over and David fled the media furore and solo career offerings to move to the US where he was an unknown.
Drawn to acting, but choosing his roles with integrity, David triumphed in award winning projects such as The Receipt (Best Comedy, LA International Short Film Fest), Sneaux (nominated for six LA Weekly Theatre Awards) and Quinceañera (most notably the Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, the Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award and the GLAAD Outstanding Film Award).
David has now written and will star in the feature I Do, an intelligent, sexy, romantic dramedy highlighting one of the most divisive civil rights, political, social, moral and religious issues in America today: marriage inequality. The film’s script has attracted prolific producer Stephen Israel whose films range in diversity from Kevin Spacey starrer Swimming With Sharks to festival hit Boy Culture. The film is a grass roots project and is taking advantage of the hugely popular funding platform, Kickstarter.com, to raise the first money in the budget. Kickstarter allows filmmakers to offer pledgers escalating involvement in the film’s process without losing control of their material and with a cut off period for creatives to achieve their goal. I Do has started strongly and has 71 days left to achieve it’s goal!
I Do short synopsis: Jack is a British gay man living in New York raising his niece with his widowed sister-in-law. When his green card marriage goes horribly wrong, because he can't marry the man he loves to stay in the country, he has to make an impossible choice....
The politics behind the film: Many countries, including The United Kingdom, Spain and Mexico, now offer either Civil Unions or same-sex marriage providing nearly all the same rights of heterosexual marriage. In America certain States offer same-sex marriage but Federally same-sex couples have no rights, with more than 1,300 marriage benefits being withheld, including hospital visitation, pension and joint adoption and foster care - as well as gay couples being further discriminated against by paying higher taxes then their straight counterparts.
By focusing on one withheld benefit, immigration, I Do challenges us to re-think our beliefs on relationships, equality and love. Gay or straight. With the Prop 8 trial, the proposition that banned same-sex marriages in California, heading to the Federal Court of Appeals, coinciding with the run up to the Presidential elections in 2012, marriage inequality could become the defining issue for the race to the White House. Just last month the Obama administration announced it will no longer oppose legal challenges to DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, as it discriminates against gays. This is a step in the right direction but there is still much work to be done and DOMA still stands as a major threat to equality.
I Do’s release could be perfectly placed to help change the conversation in America and maybe the world. To show people that same-sex couples deserve the same chance to start families and be protected under the law. It is love that makes a family but it’s marriage that protects it.
What can be done to help raise awareness of the film and the issue? Please link to I Do’s Kickstarter page to pledge and see a video interview with David about the film
Join I Do’s Facebook page and get links to other campaigners
Tweet and follow the film’s progress at
The I Do Website tells all
For more on David
A Quick Fire Interview with David W Ross:
Rather fun and rather mad. Give me more words and I’ll tell you things to make your toes curl!
When did you “come out” in your own life?
I kissed my first guy at 14 but I've been all over the Kinsey Scale since!
When did you finally “come out publicly”?
I’ve been openly gay for many years with those around me but as far as “the public”, as you call it, are concerned...I guess this is it! Being in Bad Boys Inc there was a huge pressure to act straight. It wasn't a good time to be out in the media. Then being in Hollywood you're told you'll never work if casting directors, directors and producers know you're gay. That screwed me up for many, many years.
How did the transition come about from singer to actor and now writer?
I wrote, and have written thousands of songs since being a kid. I finally recorded some demos after Bad Boys Inc and they were too introspective and dark for everyone, especially as they were expecting the next George Michael! I had a bit of an artist’s nervous breakdown and all of a sudden I was surrounded by actors (funny that, living in LA!!) and so started writing scenes and I loved it. I love story so acting made sense, as does writing.
What are your favorite movies?
Movies that make you think, movies that bring you closer to yourself and others. Subtitles don't scare me, neither do huge explosions! I love a good script, it starts from that. The script really is what everything else hangs off. I'd say that ‘cause I'm a writer!
Do you feel, as a gay man, that you are badly or under represented in TV and film?
Yes and then all you seem to see is the same stereotype played again and again. I love films and TV where the characters just happen to be gay but it's often not the case. It’s like having a movie where all the black people are playing basketball and eating fried chicken or all the Jewish people are throwing their arms up in despair and worrying about money: dumb, lazy, writing.
What are your favorite/most inspirational gay characters in TV and film?
Horst in Bent. He had dignity and stayed true to himself, even in the horrors of a Nazi concentration camp. And Bree Osbourne in Transamerica. Trans people are the bravest of the brave. They fight every day to be who they are, against all odds. In TV, and on a lighter note, I guess the guys in “Brothers and Sisters”. They aren't portrayed as stock homos, arguing over where the cheese plant should be put.
What lead you to want to write I Do?
I've heard so many stories over the years of people who are gay getting married for their green cards. Sometimes it goes well, sometimes it ends up with the couple actually falling in love, I kid you not, and sometimes it ends up a disaster! Obviously, sexual politics aside, I was more interested in the disasters. I fell in love with someone who couldn't get his green card and my paperwork was in a place where I couldn't leave the country, so we couldn't continue the relationship. That's really when I started to write I Do. it was out of utter heartbreak at this situation that neither of us had any control over. Ah, you know, love conquers all! But not when you're a 12 hour flight away with no means of actually seeing each other. Pretty sad. With DOMA still in place and marriage rights denied to so many same sex couples I wanted to write a film to highlight the issue in a way that everyone can relate to to take it from the political to the personal.
Are you a US citizen?
No. Green card holder. Looking into Citizenship. I’ve been here 15 years after all!
What are your hopes for the film?
For it to be seen by as many people as possible. For it to be seen as a film, not a gay film. Of course I’d like awards and all that, but only for the awareness of the film, the issue the film highlights and ultimately for people to realize that while it’s love that makes a family, it’s marriage that protects it and everyone deserves the same protections under the law.