Doug Spearman, best known for playing Professor Chance Counter in the groundbreaking series Noah’s Arc, premiered his second feature film, From Zero to I Love You, last year at BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival. It has since screened at other LGBTQ-oriented film festivals and is now available for viewing at ArizticalNow.com with a subscription and digitally on June 2.
Starring Darryl Stephens and Scott Bailey, From Zero to I Love You is the story of Jack who is in a seemingly perfect marriage and can no longer hide the secret desires that plague him. When he meets Pete, Jack must decide to walk away from the family he’s built or choose a road that could possibly lead him to real happiness.
Spearman wants audiences to know that there is no limit to love, and OUT FRONT had the opportunity to talk more with him about the film.
Hi, Doug! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me about your new film From Zero to I Love You. Without giving too much away, can you tell us more about it?
It’s a film about two guys who meet in a bar, and one of them has been married to a woman, his college sweetheart, for 12 years. The other guy lives his life as an openly gay man, and what was supposed to be a one-night-stand becomes a life-changing love affair.
Can you talk more about the concept? This sounds like a story that many people can relate to.
It’s not that original of a story. Star-crossed love stories are pretty standard. Every good romance has a bunch of obstacles in the way. Sometimes it’s family; sometimes it’s society; sometimes it’s a planet. I wanted to make as many real-world obstacles as I could for these two, especially since the story is based on my own experience with married guys. Yes, I have dated married guys [laughs]. Sometimes on purpose, sometimes not.
I also wanted to make a film where these two guys were not living in a gay-verse of two. I wanted their families, work and friends to be involved in the arc of the story. Especially the wife, Karla. When I was doing research, I discovered that according to a New York Times poll, the number-one search women do on Google when they type in “I think my husband is …,” the number-one answer is gay. Wow. So, yeah, there are a lot of people who can relate to this story.
Why did you want to make this film?
I don’t like not finishing things. I get something in my teeth, and I have to see it through. I got the idea a while ago and wrote the script in the 90s, then rewrote it and rewrote it. I think it wanted to be told. I wish I could say there was some greater and noble purpose, but I think it just wanted to happen. To be born. It was not going to stop at all until I got it made.
How has From Zero to I Love You been received by audiences?
For the most part, really well. What has been amazing is talking to men in particular after a screening who were married and for whatever reason found themselves married to women and then came out of the marriage and came out very late in life. There are so many more than I imagined. It has also been great talking to gay, black men who come to see the film and see themselves. The character of Pete comes from an upper-middle-class family. He has a job, a dad who wants him to be happy—things we don’t normally see on screen or on TV in the lives of gay, black men. Well, until very recently.
What do you hope people take away from this film?
That they should not waste a moment of their life living the expectations of other people. That is not the road to happiness.
And what have you personally taken away from it?
That I am tenacious as hell. That in the end, making the movie was one of the best, most important things I will do with my life because I got to do it with friends and people I love and respect, and we made something very beautiful.
In addition to writing and directing, you also work as a producer and actor. Have you always had a passion for the entertainment business?
As long as I can remember, actually. Everything about the process of making a film, a play, a TV show—I don’t care if it’s building sets, managing props, hanging lights, writing, directing, acting, whatever. I have done it all, and I love every part about it. Except for the waiting in trailers [laughs]. But still, I’m on a set!
From Zero to I Love You is your second time directing a feature film. Much of your work has been with television. So, how much more challenging is it to work on a film than a TV show?
I started as a commercial writer/director. I did that up to and after Noah’s Arc. Directing a film is like shooting a commercial every day for a month, or months. It’s the same process; it just takes a lot longer.
Speaking of Noah’s Arc, playing Professor Chance Counter is one of your most iconic roles. How was the show so groundbreaking?
There had never been a show specifically about the lives of gay, black men. Ever. I mean, we were always there window dressing, supporting, delivering the odd snappy/sassy line, but we were not the main. For a whole group of people to finally see themselves as real people with problems, solutions, friends, children, it was incredible.
You even got your Noah’s Arc co-star Darryl Stephens to participate in the film. How was it working together again?
It was great. Easy. I know him well enough as an actor, and I trust him enough as a pro to get out of his way and let him work.
What’s next for you? Any other, upcoming projects we should be on the lookout for?
We shall see what happens after the world turns right-side-up again.
Watch From Zero to I Love You on ArizticalNow.com with subscription, or get it on digital June 2.