Nicholas Brendon Puts the Heart into Big Gay Love
a. Nicholas Brendon as Andy at a pool party;
Almost everyone knows actor Nicholas Brendon from his role as Xander on the beloved TV series Buffy The Vampire Slayer. As hot gay chef/caterer Andy in indie queer rom-com Big Gay Love (Canteen Outlaws), now available on DVD, Brendon adds a wonderful new part to his resumé of gay characters. When fit Andy falls for full-figured party-planner Bob (Jonathan Lisecki), they seem like the most unlikely of couples. But Andy’s attraction is the real thing and Bob, plagued by an abundance of issues, with body image near the top of the list, seems intent on grounding the relationship before it ever has a chance to take flight. I spoke with Brendon about the movie and more in November 2014.
I want to begin by offering my congratulations on your recent marriage. How is married life treating you so far?
So far, so good. No complaints at all [laughs].
In Big Gay Love, your character Andy is a restaurateur and caterer. Have you ever worked in the food service industry?
Yes, I have, but not in a chef’s capacity. I was the one that the chef was yelling at to get the food out faster.
Andy is also fond of Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches. Where do you stand on banh mis?
I love banh mi and I love pho. I love Vietnamese food.
Body image figures prominently in Big Gay Love, even for Andy who talks about how good it felt not to have to suck in his stomach when he felt fat, when he was with new love interest Bob. How do you feel about society’s ongoing obsession with body image?
I hate it. I believe that there are other worlds out there with human beings on them that have a higher spiritual level [laughs]. The whole body-shaming, like bullying, I don’t understand that mentality for people to be that unhappy with themselves. It bums me out. I wish people who had time on their hands to do that would find something better to do. I wish we lived a place where everybody loved everybody else, whether they were gay, Chinese, Vietnamese, black or whatever.
b. DVD art for Big Gay Love;
You appear shirtless a couple of times in Big Gay Love, including the pool party scene and the love scene, exposing a tattoo on your shoulder and bicep. Is it yours or is it Andy’s?
It’s mine. The one on the outside of my arm are four angels. There are two-archangel Michaels that represent me and my twin brother. The two other angels represent my little brothers Christian and Kyle. I’ve got Jesus surfing on the inside of my arm, just because I think it’s funny.
Trust becomes an issue for Bob and Andy. What do you think is the secret to establishing and maintaining trust in a relationship?
I think communication would be key. Talking about fears and not judging. And do a background check [laughs].
Andy’s boots are a meaningful item of clothing for him. Do you have something in your closet that has special significance to you?
I own a lot of shoes. When I go to different cities and countries, I don’t really keep a diary, so I buy a pair of shoes. I’m going to Germany in December (2014) and I’ll get a pair of shoes there. I can look at all my shoes and let you know where I got them.
c. Andy and Bob’s mother Betty (Ann Walker);
You previously played a gay character in Psycho Beach Party. Are you ever surprised when you find out an actor or actress has issues playing a queer character?
I’m more saddened when I hear that an actor won’t play a character because of their religious beliefs. That always bums me out. It goes back to the acceptance of everyone. People who won’t play a gay character because they think it’s a sin. That makes me sick to my stomach. I do not feel that way.
d. Andy and Bob taking a sunset stroll;
And we thank you for that. You have a twin brother named Kelly. What is the best part of being a twin?
I can have him try on clothes that I want to buy and see how they are going to fit me [laughs].
e. Bob’s flighty friends, Chase (Phong Truong) and Aiden (Todd Stroik);
Have you started work on any new film or TV projects?
I have two coming up. I did a web series for the Nerdist called The Real Housewives of Horror. I think that’s out right now. I also starred in a TV show for MTV called Faking It. I did the last episode last year and we go back into production in December (2014). I play a way-out-there art teacher. So I go from being in high school in Buffy to teaching high school. Where do the years go [laughs]?
f. Andy and Bob enjoying banh mi sandwiches
By Gregg Shapiro