(Editor's note: San Diego Gay & Lesbian News will be previewing the 14th annual FilmOut San Diego LGBT Film Festival, which runs May 30 through June 3 at the historical Birch North Park Theatre. Look for Q&A interviews with celebrities and directors as well as film reviews.)
Frank Christian Marx has it all going for him: great looks, sexy body, intense blue eyes, smart, funny and talented. FilmOut fans will want to check him out in the German romantic comedy, "Men To Kiss," in which he stars and co-writes. It screens Sunday, June 3, during the 14th annual FilmOut San Diego LGBT Film Festival.
Marx spoke with San Diego Gay & Lesbian News about his break-out role and his steamy sex scenes, and how he is finally gaining international attention after a successful career in German TV and theater. Marx and his co-star Udo Lutz clicked so well that they have launched their own production company.
SDGLN: You were so sexy and very funny as Earnest in “Men To Kiss.” How did you land this role in Robert Hosfogel’s film?
A: Before Udo and I founded the production company Ente Kross Film, there was another company involved. I knew the guy who runs it for many years and he wanted to cast me for an earlier film but that didn´t worked out because of my schedule. So when he announced the next movie, I told him that I´m available if they want me. And so I got the role of Earnest.
SDGLN: Did you have good chemistry on set with Udo Lutz, who plays your love interest Tobias?
A: I really love Udo. He is like my brother. I remember clearly that we both felt a little bit odd on our very first day of shooting together because we had to do a very important scene so early. But later on this day, we sat on my terrace for hours and you could hear the glass breaking. On the next day everything was changed. Everyone on set asked us what we did because suddenly we had this immense chemistry and trust in each other. A connection that developed even more when we founded our production company together and made us very best friends. I think you can see that in the movie.
SDGLN: Tell me about that very steamy sex scene! One take or many takes? How awkward is for actors like yourself to make out on the set, as called for in the screenplay? Do you rehearse or wing it?
A: Are you kidding?! I was scared to death before the shoot. Imagine a team of only heterosexual crewmembers and you and your co-star have to get it on. But everyone, from the director of photography to the gaffer, were all so sensitive and encouraged us to really go for it. We did the scene for about four or five hours with many, many different takes.
We started in a very quiet mood and ended up quite similar to an adult movie. We didn´t rehearsed the scene before. I mean we did go through our positions but the acting only started when the camera was rolling. After the scene the whole team applauded. That was wonderful and strange at the same time.
SDGLN: “Men To Kiss” offers an interesting glimpse into the trendy clubs in Berlin, which has an long history of being gay-friendly. Do you think this film is a realistic view of Berlin’s gay nightlife today, or simply romanticized for the movie?
A: It´s not at all romanticized; Berlin is the most gay-friendly town I know. You can do everything in this city and nobody cares. Even in the straight clubs nobody has a problem when a gay or lesbian couple are dancing with each other. For every sexual diversity, there is a club or a bar, whether you´re into leather or darkrooms or an innocent flirting atmosphere. We welcome visitors and are always interested in new people. I could never live in another German town. During my film festival tours, I went to so many American cities but I there is nothing like Berlin in the matter of welcoming people.
SDGLN: Alexandra Starnitzky ate up her scenes as Uta, who turns into a rather evil character. Describe working with her.
A: To work with Alexandra is like watching a train go by. You have the choice to jump onboard and experience a ride that you will never forget or she rushes past you. I have known her since we did a camera acting class together. She is very special in almost everything. Her Italian roots make her very “I'm playing international and appealing to an international crowd” and she worked really hard to bring this character to life.
In the first draft of the script, written by one of the co-writers, Uta was a badass uber-villain. When Alexandra came into the picture, I rewrote the script to give her more space and much more depth. Beside all her nastiness, she´s a human person and she really loves Earnest. So the thought of losing him to someone else shakes her to the core and forces her to take actions … even when these actions threaten to destroy Earnest’s happiness. Now, one year after we wrapped up shooting, Alex and I still have a very strong connection and I would love to work with her again sometime.
SDGLN: Do you see yourself as a leading man now that you are in the prime of your life?
A: The funny thing is that now in my 30s I´m breaking my own pattern. When I was 20 and I did theater and TV for 10 years, I was always as the good guy, the guy next door or the good-hearted lover. I enjoyed playing these kind of roles but I always wanted to break out of this. With the next movie, I have the opportunity to do that, with a role that will be the hardest and toughest role for me yet. You know two years ago my agency threw me out when I decided to be openly out. And now I have more work than I ever had before.
SDGLN: Do you prefer the LGBT genre?
A: As a producer, yes. With Ente Kross Film we want to make films with LGBT themes and issues. We made it very clear from the beginning that we will exclusively make movies for the LGBT community. There are so many films for straight people out there that we do want to change that a little bit. But what we don´t want is making films about coming out or disease stories. We want to make films about the everyday life of grown-ups and go through very different genres.
SDGLN: American audiences probably don’t know you well, since you have a background in theater and German television. Are you now focusing on your movie career?
A: Strangely I´m getting involved in international productions right now. I did “Don 2” with Sha Rukh Khan in India last year and I will do an Australian film later this year and an American film next year. I´m starting to think that I have a more international appeal than a national one. I´m not at all your typical German actor so we´ll see where my life will take me in the future.
SDGLN: You and your co-star Udo Lutz have founded your own production company, Ente Kross Film. What plans do you have? What’s next for you personally?
A: In September I´m playing one of the leads in the Australian revenge thriller “Nancy Pansy Hairy Mary” in Melbourne. It´s a very dark story about a man who loses his best friend because of a hate crime. And when he falls in love with a boy who has a similar past they become the worst nightmare of every homophobe who crosses their way. Believe me, this movie will be so controversial, and I´m very proud to be a part of that.
With Ente Kross Film, we´re right now in the stage of planning our next movie. It will be a dramedy with four wonderful older gay characters. Movies for an older audience are really hard to find, especially in the gay and lesbian market. The filming is planned to take place in Germany and America.
SDGLN: Single or taken?
A: If I´m single? Well, I´m keeping that as a secret. At times you have to be a little mysterious! But I´m always interested in meeting people so if you want to know feel free to contact me on Facebook :-)
SDGLN: What is something your fans don’t know about you?
A: Oh my God, you want to know gossip about me? Hmm … when I was younger I was a crazy fan. I started the first German Sandra Bullock Fanclub. Today I still love her very much. She is one of the persons who was underrated all the time until she got a little buddie called Oscar.
SDGLN: Will you be coming to California for the FilmOut San Diego LGBT Film Festival?
A: I would love to, but at this time I will be in Hawaii for the gay and lesbian film festival. But I would love it … if you become a fan of the movie on Facebook: www.facebook.com/men2kiss or to get in contact with me www.facebook.com/frankchristinmarx. Hopefully I will come next year with the revenge movie :-)
Ken Williams is Editor in Chief of SDGLN. He can be reached at email@example.com, @KenSanDiego on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to (877) 727-5446, ext. 713.
Sunday, June 3 – 6:30 pm
Sponsored by SD PIX and SDGLN
Co-presented by Roberts Electric Service
“Men To Kiss” (2012), directed by Frank Christian Marx, 83 minutes, Germany.
West Coast premiere
Colorful balloon dresses, long party nights in Berlin’s trendy clubs and erotic evenings on the dining table – this is the chaotic relationship of the unequal couple of Ernst (Marx) and Tobias (Udo Lutz). Though opposites attract, respectable banker Ernst is often unsure, whether bubbly and always cheerful Tobias takes their relationship as seriously as he does. Soon they rise to a challenge of every relationship: everyday living together and mutual trust. The sudden appearance of Uta (Alexandra Starnitzky), Ernst’s eccentric school friend, fundamentally changes their relationship. Uta forges out a scheming plan, which Ernst completely falls for. Together with his friends, Tobias spares no efforts to checkmate the unwelcome guest as soon as possible – and sets events in motion that increasingly get out of control. This entertaining comedy about love, friendship and Berlin, full of vivid dialogues and emotional moments, that captivates the viewer with its taking characters from the first minutes on.