The first time I saw Darryl Stephens was in his breakout role of Noah in Noah’s Arc on LOGO. He also appeared in the film version of Noah’s Arc: Jumping the Broom, as well as in Another Gay Movie and Boy Culture. It was nice to catch up with Darryl shortly before he will be appearing at the Miami Beach Bruthaz “Bruthaz Speak UP” event at the World Erotic Art Museum on Friday, July 17th.
How did you get cast in Noah’s Arc?
A friend of mine forwarded me an open call casting notice for a new gay series called “Hot Chocolate” and I auditioned and the rest is history.
Tell me about the two years of filming.
Before the show was picked up, we shot about three promotional clips as well as an independently financed version of the pilot…it was very low-budget. Because we were doing so much for so little, the cast really bonded. We took what we had done on tour, presenting this at Black Pride events, et cetera, and we got a lot of good response to the show. We were making no money, but it was a great experience. Then an executive from LOGO came to an event and picked us up. After that it became a very different experience filming, because there was money to fund the project.
How was it to come back a few years later and make the movie?
After the second season we were waiting to hear from LOGO [regarding whether] a third season was going to happen. After about five months we found out there would not be a third season, but rather a film to wrap it up. At first it was disappointing, but then it became exciting to do a film. It was really nice to come back after almost two years and get to see everyone and work together once again.
Do you stay in touch with any of the cast of Noah’s Arc?
Yeah, Rodney is my commercial agent and Doug is directing a film that I am starring in called “From Zero To I Love You.” Jensen and I check in with each other every now and then, and I see Christian at auditions quite a bit. Black Hollywood is a small world, so we see each other often.
You are also a writer, and your novel, Shortcomings, was published in 2011. How long have you been writing? Tell me about the process of writing Shortcomings.
In college I took a few creative writing classes and I have always liked it. During the second season of Noah’s, I started a blog on MySpace and I would post playlists and I also would post short stories. People were getting into the short stories way more than the playlists, so I realized my fans liked my writing. I wrote Shortcomings during a time when I was not acting very much.
You have also made a lot of commercials. What’s your favorite?
Before Noah’s Arc, when I first started growing my hair out, I made a lot of commercials. It was the look for African-American actors back then. I shot a commercial in San Francisco for Ford that I really liked. I think it hit home with me because I went to college at Berkeley and that’s where I started my acting career, so it was like I was coming home.
Tell me something people would be surprised to know about you.
I have a new book that I am going to be promoting when I come to Miami called Required Reading and it’s about how gay black folks should start looking to integrate their lives to live more authentic lives in America.
As an openly gay actor, I must ask what you thought about the Supreme Court decision legalizing marriage equality.
It’s such an interesting time…Marriage equality was a big deal for me in 2008 when it was first being proposed in California. It feels like a constant push and pull with being black and being gay.
Are you excited to be a part of Miami Beach Bruthaz?
Yeah, I haven’t been to Miami in quite a few years and I am excited to come back. They reached out right around the time I decided to write this book and it worked out well.
What’s ahead for Darryl Stephens?
Besides the new book and new movie, I have quite a few things on the horizon. There is a new gay social app called MOOVZ that I am part of and I am super excited about it. There is also talk about doing a Boy Culture web series.