Tessa Roy ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Assistant Editor
The past two years have been busy for Dorell Anthony. In addition to working on the reboot of soap opera All My Children, he created his own web series entitled Pride, which is set to air on Vimeo. The show, he says, is inspired by life in New York and a “hybrid”of the gay and straight worlds that have previously been portrayed as separate entities.
Emertainment Monthly had the chance to speak with him and to learn more about the new series.
Emertainment Monthly: Tell me a little about Pride and what you would like people to know about it.
Dorell Anthony: Pride was started back in 2012. It was an idea that I had with my three roommates. I really became inspired to create the show while living in New York and at the time, it had just become legal for gay couples to be married in New York. So we went down to Stonewall that night where they were having a big celebration, and I noticed there were also a lot of straight couples celebrating. A lot of the series in the past have claimed to be gay series or had gay characters have portrayed the gay and straight worlds as separate. With Pride, I wanted to make kind of a hybrid of reality, at least my reality, that I was living in and what I saw when I went down to Stonewall that night, so that’s where Pride came from. It revolves around four characters who are connected through blood, love and friendship.
What has your process been like through these two years of work?
It has been crazy. In June of 2012, we shot the pilot. We spent the entire later half of the year putting that together and then we previewed it so we could get more support and funding to shoot the rest. We did get money, and continued to shoot in 2013. I was also working on the reboot of All My Children at the same time, and I actually missed the first day of shooting! It was crazy that I was the creator and executive producer, but not able to be there. But as most web series creators can tell you, it was a lot of work. It’s a lot of people doing things for free and a lot of people doing things for favors and discounts. It’s been crazy, but I believe we’ve created magic and along the way, created a little family of us working together.
It must feel good to finally see it coming together and to be gaining a viewers.
Oh yeah! I actually cried at our first screening in New York. I went into it thinking, this is our story, and I hope people get it and understand it. And at the screening, every single person there got it, and they loved it. We were so surprised by the love and support we got from everyone. I can’t even tell you happy I am about this project and how special it is to me.
Pride is very raw. Your characters on the show don’t look perfect like people you see in bigger television shows. It’s easier to see any kinds of flaws they have on their faces. Did you do this intentionally? Maybe as a way of showing that we are all flawed in some sense or another?
Oh absolutely. I think that’s one of the things we strived for most and one of the things we are most proud of about the show. We wanted to do up close where you feel like you’re there with the characters. There is one scene where someone had to be right in my face. I still remember that day. It was in the summer, and if you know New York, you know it can get hot. I’m a Texas boy, but that was the hottest day of my entire life. I thought, this is crazy, everyone’s going to be able to see all the sweat on our faces and this is just not attractive. But after speaking with our director, we realized we really wanted that rawness and for viewers to feel like they were there with them. At our screening, we had a lot of people say they felt really connected to the characters because they could see all their emotions, the pain and the happiness, in their eyes.
The show is also pretty dark, and it seems like there are a lot of deep-seated psychological themes played out through the characters.
There definitely are. One thing with Pride is that nothing is ever what it seems. You don’t really know who is good in the show and who is bad in the show. I personally don’t believe anyone is completely evil or completely bad, and I think things happen to you that push you in certain directions. As you watch the show, you might think someone is a protagonist until they do something that might not be morally acceptable. They your opinion of them can completely change.
You were on the reboot of All My Children. What was your experience like working on that show and balancing working on Pride at the same time?
Well first I should say that when I was growing up, my family was very big into soap operas. All my life, I had wanted to be on a soap opera. I had auditioned for one before, and I wasn’t cast. I thought it’s fine, you know, I’ll get my chance someday. Then a couple months later, I found out a few soaps were being canceled, only to hear again in another two months that they were going to be brought back. They finally came back in 2013, and my agent got me an audition. I got the part in All My Children, and I became so engrossed with it. I almost felt indebted to it because I was so excited to be living my dream while doing Pride on the side. It was a great time, and I got to work with a lot of great people. To be honest, I had such a great team on both shows that balancing the two really wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. It was sad that I missed Pride’s first day of shooting, but otherwise it wasn’t hard at all. If my crew at Pride knew I was going to be filming All My Children one day, they wouldn’t shoot that day. They really, really supported me through it. I got a lot of support from the cast of All My Children, the younger members especially, too. I didn’t get much sleep between shooting both shows and working my regular job at a hotel front desk, but it was worth it.
What does “pride” mean to you?
I’m doing Pride for you, for my family, for my roommates, for my friends, for everyone. Everyone that I’ve ever met, spoke to. Pride is for y’all. And to me, pride means family, pride means friends, pride means determination, pride means love, and pride means remember where you came from. I think that’s very important because how people change in this word, whether they’re going to be an actor, a doctor, a lawyer, whatever you choose to be, sometime along that path I believe people forget where they come from. I’ve been blessed to have a great support system back in Texas, and I will never forget where I came from. I’m from a town with a population of 400 and a graduating class of 13. I obviously knew every single person in my graduating class, and to have that support system and people that remind me that they’re still here and still have my back always keeps me grounded. It means the world to me to know that I have these people and my longtime friends in New York that will dedicate so much to something that seems so little.
Visit the show’s website for more information and to watch the pilot.