By Lawrence Ferber
“I feel the safest when I’m with my gays,” Tori Spelling admits. And Spelling has felt very safe indeed throughout most of her career and life, from “Beverly Hills 90210” (she hopes to be part of its spin-off) to queer-themed films like “Trick” and the new “Kiss the Bride.” In the acknowledgments section of her bestselling memoir, “sTORI Telling,” she even wrote: “To gay men everywhere, I would be nowhere without you.”
“I just did my book signing tour,” she adds, “and I went to San Francisco – and it was such a great moment because there’s a drag queen (out there) called Suppositori Spelling, and I’ve totally been a fan and wanted to meet her for years. I took a photo and will put it on my MySpace.”
The latest feature from “Latter Days” director C. Jay Cox, “Kiss the Bride” stars Spelling as Alex, the bubbly bride-to-be of hunky nice guy Ryan (James O’Shea). A wrench gets thrown down their aisle when Ryan’s old high school friend, and sometimes sex buddy, Matt (Philipp Karner), arrives. An openly gay man now living in San Francisco, Matt is determined to bring Ryan back to his side of the fence and send Alex packing.
Spelling filmed “Kiss the Bride” while pregnant (son Liam was born last March), and the new season of her Oxygen reality series with hubby Dean McDermott will debut this month. She took a timeout to discuss hiding her baby bump on the set, dating queer boys, and her hopes for a gay child.
I understand they had to come up with clever ways to disguise your pregnant tummy on set.
Yes. (In) my wedding dress, I had to always keep the bouquet in front of me. Or a sweater over my arm. You want to be in the moment as an actor, and I always had to think about my tummy, which was distracting. My little trick, which probably didn’t work at all, was I would stick my butt out a little bit in the back and think it made my lower half go in.
So, how similar are you and Alex?
I really wanted that part, because I felt like Alex and I have a lot in common. I loved all these layers to her personality. She’s seemingly the proper ‘good girl’ from a good family. A schoolteacher. And then she has this naughty side and dirty sense of humor, she’s really fun and can let loose. I felt that was me in a lot of ways.
Have you ever been in a situation where a guy you dated turned out to be queer?
Yep. One of my first boyfriends ended up being gay. It was in high school; we were 17. People would say to me, ‘I think he’s gay,’ and I’d be, ‘No, no – he’s not gay.’ Then we lost touch and later someone said, ‘I went to college with your ex, and did you know he’s gay?’ Being in this crazy business, and he’s in it too, we reconnected and now we’re good friends.
Were there any telltale signs in retrospect; like he would sing Ariel’s songs from ‘The Little Mermaid’?
He didn’t really want to make out with me, so that was the biggest one.
Do you feel sexuality is complicated?
It is. I don’t think it’s so cut-and-dry. I truly believe you fall in love with the person and not the gender. So that’s why I think the lines are blurred with these three characters. In so many ways, they all fall in love with each other. The boys obviously have a past and have been in love. When Matt and Alex meet, on some level they have this strong connection. And in so many ways, she can open up to him that she can’t open to Ryan. I feel they fall in love on a certain level, and if he wasn’t gay, maybe they would be together.
Have you ever thought you might be into girls? You played a lesbian in 2004’s ‘How to Leave Your Lover.’
I appreciate women, definitely. There are so many things about women I love that I wish you could have in a man. And I’m sure it’s vice versa for men – they wish they could have their football buddy in a girl, and instead, they have someone who wants to go shopping all the time. It would be just so great if people fell in love with a person and there was no ‘gay’ or ‘straight’ or ‘man’ or ‘woman’ sexuality. You fall for someone’s heart.
How hot were the boys together?
The boys were very hot. When they had their kissing scene, I was all excited to hear about it.
How was working with out director, C. Jay Cox?
Amazing. He really challenges you as an actor, and I loved that. Every time we would do something, he would say, ‘That was great; now why don’t you try it this way.’ He would give me a whole other take on it and it was like game time, seeing if I could step up to the plate and batter-up. I loved working with him.
Mormons: hot or not?
Can be hot!
Is Liam sassy yet?
Oh, Liam is so sassy. I don’t even have to teach Liam to be sassy; he just is. He is so funny. He’s a crackup and loves to make everyone laugh.
Are you going to warn him away from Suri Cruise?
Hey, if he wants to date Suri he can date Suri. I prefer Shiloh, but that’s just my preference.
Are you just as much rooting for him to be gay as straight?
Absolutely! Obviously! My dream would be to have one straight boy, one girl, and one gay boy. My perfect family!
Was there a gay person who proved to be that first positive influence or left an impression on you?
Probably people who worked for my parents. I probably just gravitated to them at an early age. But my best friend is gay, and we’ve been friends since we were 15. And we knew when we were 15 that he was gay, even though he wasn’t out yet.
Is ‘sTORI Telling’ truly a tell-all as advertised, or did things need to be edited out?
Everything is in there. The bad; the good. Even the bad about me, things I wouldn’t want people to know, I still put it in there because I didn’t want people to go, ‘Oh she’s making herself look great and other people look bad.’ It wasn’t my intention to make anyone look bad, but everyone has his or her different version of every story. This is just my truth through my eyes, and I think the person I call out the most is myself.
On reality show ‘Tori & Dean: Inn Love,’ you two ran a B&B in Fallbrook, Calif. I’ve read some blogs and reports alleging the show was all staged – so, just how real was ‘Inn Love’?
It was real! I can say that now that I’m not doing it anymore. The inn was a pain. It was crazy. Not what we expected. We had this idea of opening a B&B and went to World Of Wonder (Productions) and Oxygen and based a reality show around it, but it was actually a business we really wanted to start. It was really fun decorating and setting up the inn – and once you get there, it’s like, oh my god.
Did any Tori stalkers check-in?
That was fear of mine. Anyone can check in as long as they put down a credit card deposit. But the only thing was, because it was us running it, (everybody) just wanted to hang out with us 24 hours a day. We’d be like, ‘There are some wineries 20 minutes away, we can hook you up with tours.’ And they’re like, ‘No, we’re fine,’ and literally wanted to follow us around.
You were ordained as a minister and officiated a gay wedding on the series.
I did! It was their suggestion. And I was terrified! They had written everything out, all their vows, but I thought, ‘What if I screw this up? I don’t want to be held responsible.’ In the end I was so happy I did it; it meant so much to me. It was beautiful. And the greatest thing about it is – and I have been to a lot of weddings – it was such a different perspective. I could see the blissful looks on their faces and how in love they were, and it was just amazing.
So, what sort of time do you put into your MySpace page – and what sorts of messages do you receive?
I’m totally addicted. I read it completely myself and nobody believes it. Whenever I look at my messages, they’re like, ‘Hey Tori’s assistant, can you help me answer this question or ask Tori this?’ And I always have to answer back, ‘Hey, it’s actually me!’ I was having such a great time with it until the gay wedding aired. I got all these hate messages from people telling me I was going to burn in hell. It made me cry reading it; I can’t tell you how disheartening that was. I can’t believe people are so … lame, basically! What’s wrong with them, that they’re so close-minded? I did something really beautiful and they’re like, ‘I used to like you and I’ll never watch you again! God has no place for you because you married two gays!’ I cleaned (those messages and friends) off my page; I blocked them.
Now a serious question – although it may sound glib at first. We have more young gays checking into ‘BB’ today than B&Bs. And by ‘BB,’ I mean bare backing, which is leading to huge spikes in HIV infection rates amongst young gays. What are Tori’s words about that for the young gay fans out there?
I personally don’t understand that, because I love life so much and want to live life – and if there was anything that I knew would endanger my life I wouldn’t do it. It’s not worth the risk. I guess that’s why I never got into drugs. And today people are so informed, it’s just ignorant not to protect yourself. It was different in the ’80s when they were just discovering AIDS, but now you’re completely informed (about HIV and its prevention) from an early age. Parents, schools are doing a better job; there’s just no reason for it.
Your erstwhile ‘90210’ co-star Brian Austin Green was going to play gay in a TV pilot last year, but it didn’t get picked up. Were you happy to hear about that?
I didn’t know that. He’s pretty straight.
Any shot the next season of your reality show will be based around a Tori Spelling gay wedding chapel?
That could be Season 4! ‘Tori’s Chapel of Love.’ OK, now I have my next gig. Thanks!
Pride Movie Event: ‘Kiss the Bride’
7:30 p.m. May 31
Landmark’s Main Art Theatre, Royal Oak