I recently came across an amazing project called ‘Disappear Here‘. Its a Noir thriller starring actor, producer, and LGBT activist James Duke Mason. You may know James from his role in the Indie film, ‘What Happens Next‘ and you may know his talented parents, producer Morgan Mason and The Go-Go’s lead singer, Belinda Carlisle. If you don’t know him yet, let me introduce you to this talented and impressive young man.
James Duke Mason is definitely someone who’s got IT. He’s not only talented, he cares about his community and is involved in making the world a better place. James is the youngest member to be appointed to the OUTFEST board of directors, he has been selected for The Advocate’s “Forty Under 40″, Out Magazine’s “Out 100″, and AfterElton.com’s ”Hot 100″ (in 2011 and 2012). His production company, Trailblazer Motion Pictures, will be producing Disappear Here in addition to James starring in it.
As social media coincidences would have it, James and I share a few connections. I have known Jay Arnold, the writer, director, and producer of ‘What Happens Next’ for over three years and James’s mom, Belinda Carlisle has a new song that was co-written by Gabe Lopez who I know and have interviewed. Also, in true social media fashion, I had no idea we shared these connections until I this interview. I was immediately interested in talking to James based on what I read about the project, ‘Disappear Here’ and about James himself. I hope you will check out the film and donate if you can. Here is our conversation:
Q: First, tell me a little about you. How did you get started as an actor?
A: I’ve always wanted to get into acting since I was a young kid. My grandfather, James Mason, was a very successful actor back in his day, so it’s always been something in my mind, although I didn’t make the conscious decision to seriously pursue it as a career goal until a few years ago. I moved back to L.A. from France, which is where I was in high school, and decided to focus on making that my career path. Things have gone really well so far, and ‘Disappear Here’ is going to be my first major screen role, so that’s something I’m really excited about!
Q: You are also an LGBT advocate. Well, not just an advocate, you serve on the Board of Directors of OUTFEST and are the youngest member to be appointed in it’s 30-year history. How did you get into that and what does it mean to you?
A: It means a lot to me, that’s for sure! It was a movie that had been in Outfest that single-handedly inspired me to come out when I was 14 years old, so I feel like I have a very personal connection to Outfest and understand fully what a powerful tool cinema and the arts can be in terms of making a difference in people’s lives. Outfest just celebrated it’s 30th year during the festival last month, so it’s
definitely an awesome time to be involved with the organization and hopefully help it grow towards being bigger and better than ever.
Q: Growing up can be tough, especially being gay. Did you experience any bullying as a child?
A: I was very lucky, because although I did face some bullying at certain points in my childhood, I know it was nowhere near as bad as
some people get it. I got called some names, and I wasn’t the most popular kid in school, but when I hear the stories of some of the
other youth out there and what they face in their daily lives, my experience really pales in comparison. It’s in part why I’m making
this movie, and why I think the issue of gay celebrities coming out is so important, because we need prominent gay individuals to come out and serve as role models to the young LGBT generation who need people to look up to and support them.
Q: Your dad is producer Morgan Mason, where you always interested in following in his footsteps?
A: I have a lot of respect for my Dad and what he has accomplished in his life, not just in the film world but in the political realm as
well. I’ve always tried to find the perfect project for us to work on together, as I thought the experience of working on something with my Dad would be really fun and fulfilling. When ‘Disappear Here’ came along and I asked him what he thought, he said he thought it had a lot of potential and that he wanted to help in any way he possibly could, and that was an extremely exciting and rewarding moment for me, knowing that he believed in this project enough to get behind it and give it his support.
Q: Your mom is the amazing Belinda Carlisle, lead singer of the Go-Go’s. Do you have any desires to enter into the music business as well?
A: I definitely love music, although I don’t play any instruments and couldn’t sing to save my life! I love to listen to music and see
concerts, including going to watch my Mom perform solo or with The Go-Go’s as much as I can. I helped find the song that my Mom is
releasing as her next single. It’s called ‘Sun’ and was written, along with Jane Wiedlin and my Mom as well, by a very talented young writer named Gabe Lopez. I think it has the potential to be really big and I’m really happy and proud that I was able to participate in making that happen.
Q: Your new film, Disappear Here, sounds like an awesome project. It is also a very special project. Tell me a little about it.
A: Disappear Here’ is a story that has truly never been told before, and that’s hard to come by in this day in age of movies that are
mostly just remakes and reboots of other projects. Yes, it draws stylistic inspiration from film noir and 80′s new wave, among other
things, but at it’s core it’s about a subject that has never been exposed before in an honest, open way. It peels the curtain back on a
reality that so many people continue to live each day, in Hollywood, Washington, and across the rest of the country and the world. It’s
about how people are forced to give up their integrity, their soul, to be accepted or to get ahead in life, and that’s not the way it should
be. The style of the movie has a dark tone to it, but ultimately the story itself is very idealistic and positive about the future, and how
we have the power within ourselves to make a difference.
Q: Like many other artists today, you are using Kickstarter to fund the project. How do you think social media has changed the entertainment industry?
A: I think Kickstarter has completely changed the game in terms of the entertainment industry, and I think that’s what made it so
particularly appropriate to use for this project. Kickstarter is all about breaking with the status quo and defying the establishment, and
that’s exactly what our film is aiming to do. Social media has played a huge part in broadening the public’s consciousness on so many
different levels and topics, gay social and political issues included, and I think that’s a fantastic and incredible thing.
Q: Speaking of social media, where can we find you online?
A: You can find me on Facebook or Twitter by just typing in ‘James Duke Mason’, or feel free to support the movie project by going on the same websites and typing in ‘Disappear Here’. It’s pretty simple.
If you would like to be part of this groundbreaking project, please head over to their Kickstarter Page and see all the great rewards being offered for your participation. I wish James and everyone involved in ‘Disappear Here’ all the best and hope to speak to him again about other projects in the future.