Jim Parsons and Ben Aldridge ponder the real-life love story behind ‘spoiler alert’

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After appearing in the queer dramas “The Normal Heart” and “The Boys in the Band,” Jim Parsons was eager to play a character who wasn’t “suffering at the hands of his homosexuality.”

The “Big Bang Theory” star found the role he’s been looking for in “Spoiler Alert,” the film adaptation of Michael Ausiello’s 2017 memoir. The romantic drama opened in select cities Friday ahead of its nationwide release next week.

“I play a man — in a rush of love, excitement, and romance — on an amazing journey he can’t believe he’s there for, and then, with tragedy, back on an amazing journey,” Parsons told HuffPost. “It’s such a profound journey for these two souls to go together. I was so hungry for the chance to film that as best I could.”

Watch the spoiler alert trailer above.

Jim Parsons (left) and Ben Aldridge in Spoiler Alert.

Linda Caleros / Focus Features

Directed by Michael Showalter, “Spoiler Alert” follows Ausiello (played by Parsons), a nerdy, likable journalist who falls in love with an aspiring photographer, Kit Cowan (Ben Aldridge), after a sweet encounter on the dance floor. Before long, the two men are living together and hosting dinner parties in their chic New York apartment. Their 13-year relationship was sadly tested, however, when Kwan was diagnosed with a rare form of neuroendocrine cancer.

The real-life Kwan passed away in 2015 at the age of 43, and as a love story, spoiler alert is first and foremost an upstart. Still, the movie offers plenty of humor and heart, most notably in scenes that recall the early days of Ausiello and Cowan’s romance. It also boasts an excellent supporting cast, including Sally Field and Bill Irwin as Cowan’s parents, Bob and Marilyn.

Ausiello, who is the founder and managing editor of the entertainment outlet TVLine, began writing “Spoiler Alert” at the suggestion of an editor at book publishing company Simon & Schuster who had noticed his Facebook status throughout the course of Cowan’s illness.

Author Michael Ausiello (left) with Parsons Waldridge.
Author Michael Ausiello (left) with Parsons Waldridge.

Kimberly White via Getty Images

A week after the book was published in 2017, Parsons and his husband, Todd Spiewak, approached him at a question-and-answer session in San Francisco to tell him that they wanted to adapt the book as a movie.

When it came to translating his story, the writer had only one condition for screenwriters David Marshall Grant and Dan Savage.

“I didn’t want the movie to portray Kate as a victim,” said Ausiello, who is also an executive producer on the film. “He wasn’t a victim, he didn’t see himself as a victim and he never acted like a victim. I also wanted to capture the fact that his parents showed up for their son when he got sick. They didn’t shy away from the hard things. They were there for their son.”

In keeping with Ausiello’s advice, Aldridge plays up Kit’s imposing charm even as his body succumbs to cancer. The actor, whose credits include “Fleabag” and “Pennyworth,” described the experience as “life-affirming and absolutely exhilarating.”

Parsons (right, with co-star Sally Field) said:
“It’s important to risk rejection and risk heartbreak to live a full life,” said Parsons (right, with co-star Sally Field).

Linda Caleros / Focus Features

Although “Spoiler Alert” isn’t an overtly political movie, its stars are aware of the fact that it’s being released at a challenging time for the gay community. Recently ultra-conservative Supreme Court rulings on abortion and gun control have sparked justified fears among many Americans that gay rights, including same-sex marriage, could soon be rolled back at the federal level.

“If I change minds, it would be incredible—I couldn’t ask for more,” said Aldridge. But we just saw an opportunity to tell a story that felt real to us. Love is love, and this movie is real proof of that.”

As for Parsons, his biggest use of “Spoiler Alert” is personal.

“While we were filming, I realized that one of the most painful things in my life is what I do to myself, which is not telling other people when I love them or when I care for them for fear of rejection or for fear of being seen as more emotional or caring than what might be cool,” he said. “It is important to risk rejection and risk heartbreak to live your life to the fullest.”

#Jim #Parsons #Ben #Aldridge #ponder #reallife #love #story #spoiler #alert

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