Catching up with Del Shores and Emerson Collins on A Very Sordid Wedding at TWIST 2017

It was 1999 when Sordid Lives was a surprise hit for filmgoers with an all-star cast that included Bonnie Bedelia, Beth Grant, Ann Walker, Kirk Geiger, Leslie Jordan and Olivia Newton-John. In 2007, it spawned a prequel TV series on LOGO that added Caroline Rhea and Rue McClanahan to the cast. In the much-anticipated sequel to the film, A Very Sordid Wedding, promises a wedding in the tiny Texas town that Sordid Lives was set in. TWIST: Seattle Queer Film Festival screened the film on October 14 with creator and director, Del Shores, along with producer and actor, Emerson Collins in attendance. As I did with their other film, Southern Baptist Sissies, I had a chance to chat with them after the screening.

MK Scott: Just saw the film, A Very Sordid Wedding, and it was wonderful. And so what took so long for the Sordid Lives series to come to a close?

Del Shores: Well, I had other things to do to. I was busy with other projects, but I was so happy to return to it. It was great. It was like a family reunion for all of us. We love each other. And it was great to get together. And I’m glad it came out well, you know what I mean? You never know. I feel good about this one.

MK: And Emerson, you’re back again, playing a very different character. It’s more of a serious character. And you’re all covered with tattoos and so forth. And also you actually got to be pretty serious. Tell me a little bit about that experience.

Emerson Collins: Well, I mean, it was amazing, you know, this sort of mask from mask serial killer fantasy, if you will, but it’s a big dramatic difference from what I did with Southern B Sissies, that’s what most people are familiar with, and the opportunity to work with somebody at the genius level of what Leslie Jordan can do on screen and have all of my scenes be with him with this incredible character that Del created. It was one of the most exciting things I’ve gotten to do thus far. And, you sort of, just sort of go into a scene like that and hold your own with someone like Leslie. It’s an absolute blast. 48 hours for the tattoos. Hardcore.

MK: That was my question, how was it working with Leslie?

Emerson: He’s a genius. At this point I’m fortunate because now we’ve been working together for a decade, so it’s truly exciting. There isn’t a fear that it would be if someone wasn’t talented. He lives down the street from me in West Hollywood, and drives by in his convertible, and this is what I hear: ‘Hey, sissy!’ as he drives by.

MK: And, then also Beth Grant is not in this particular series, and she’s Sissie, of course. Well, I thought Dale Dickey’s resemblance and her experience was just uncanny and I thought she was great.

Del: You know, Dale Dickey and I had worked together 15 times. This is our 15th time together. And I always say she’s truly one of our national treasures as an actress. And she is such a good human being. We love her dearly. We just spent some time with her in Knoxville, her hometown. We did a premiere of the movie there, a Knoxville premiere. And it was great. That character is very near and dear to my heart because it’s based on my real life. So she just nailed it.

MK: And where did you find Kirk Gieger? I haven’t seen him on screen in years.

Del: Yeah, you know, Kirk and I kept in touch with each other. And he lives out in Indio, closer to Palm Springs, and I called him and I said, ‘Hey, you want to do it again?’ And he said absolutely.

MK: Tell me a bit about what is next for you.

Del: We’re doing a series. We’ve been developing a series for the past year and just going to put it all together and hoping to find a home for it in shooting 2018. We’re really excited about it.

MK: And are you still doing the ‘People’s Couch’?

Emerson: No, that’s done. Bravo said get off the couch and get to work. It was an amazing experience. It’s going to be a really special thing. We did Four Seasons, 57 episodes, we were still shooting the ‘People’s Couch’ while we were producing this movie in Canada. So going back and forth. It’s a princess problem. But it’s really special, and the fans of that show were really great. Airports, everywhere, we met people who loved it. It’s sort of a family experience of watching TV together.

MK: I got a chance to see your work in the last couple of years. I was in San Francisco and they did a production, I think it was the New something &

Del: The New Conservatory Theatre.

MK: They did Yellow.

Del: They just did Sordid Lives.

MK: I’ve been down there and I saw Yellow. So that was quite interesting

Del: A little departure for me. A little more dramatic.

MK: It was quite dramatic.

Del: I love that play.

MK: Thank you so much. Always a pleasure.

A Very Sordid Wedding is now available on DVD and VOD. Check their website at www.averysordidwedding.com/

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