Houston Rhines :: Manhunts with a hot app in ’eCupid’
Supposing you had an "app" for turning a straight man that you feel an attraction for to a gay man? This isn't exactly the case in "eCupid" a romantic gay comedy just released on DVD. Rather in the film, the app gives Marshall (played by newbie Houston Rhines) the opportunity to sow his wild oats when he feels like his life is in a sexual rut after seven years with his lover. Does this ruin his relationship completely or bring him back to the one he truly loves? That is the scenario.
Now, getting back to those hot straight men that you dream of that would "bat for the other team"... add Rhines amongst them: the 31-year-old may be straight, but he's not stupid and had no difficulty realizing how well-written "eCupid" was that came his way. This came about when the film's director JC Calciano called Rhines to ask him if was interested in working on the film. Rhines had auditioned for Calciano's previous film - "Is It Just Me?," but wasn't right for the role. Still, he impressed Calciano that when he was casting for the role of the hunky, romantically confused Marshall, he thought of Rhines.
The fresh-faced, handsome actor took a few minutes to talk with EDGE about making the film, working with the Hollywood vixen Morgan Fairchild and discussed the aspect of nudity today in the gay genre of film.
About that app...
EDGE: I have to tell you, during parts of the film, I couldn’t tell if the app was trying to screw up your life or it was a positive force.
Houston Rhines: It was giving me what I wanted. So, in a way, it was screwing with me to make me happier and to realize what I had. It threw all the boys at me that I wanted but to realize that I wanted to stay in my relationship.
EDGE: Yeah, because your character although questioning his faithfulness is so not a player.
Houston Rhines: Yeah, it was what you wish for and the app was giving me that.
EDGE: In certain ways, you remind me of the actor Brandon Fraser. Now this is with any actor or character... your character has been in a relationship for seven years and your partner and you are joking about the need to go to the gym. Did you have to put weight on for this film?
Houston Rhines: I tried not to. I can’t put a lot of weight on as it is. I know I’m a little bit more broad-shouldered but I didn’t have to cut down or anything like that because usually actors cut down before they go in to a long shoot. So, that was in the script, so that’s how I had to present myself.
EDGE: Yeah... you are like 6 ft. 1in.?
Houston Rhines: I am.
EDGE: It helps to have the height.
Houston Rhines: Anyone taller is like a giant. (laughter)
EDGE: One of the invigorating aspects of "eCupid" is that it doesn’t flesh-peddle. It’s more romantic and real than just ripping off your clothing to appeal to part of the gay demographic. It was refreshing to see the aspect of just dealing with a couple’s relationship.
Houston Rhines: Thank you. That’s one of the reasons I was into the movie. That’s why I accepted it. It was a real couple going through a real back-and-forth and my character questions his own life. I really think with the gay genre level, I don’t think there are a lot of people doing what [director] JC Calciano is doing with this movie, "eCupid" and the one he shot before that "Is It Just Me?," so thank you. I love it, that’s the whole point of the film right there.
EDGE: I think gay cinema is evolving to the point where you don’t need the gratuitous nudity all the time. Calciano wrote the screenplay as well.
Houston Rhines: Yeah. There is nothing gratuitous and sometimes there never really needs to be anything like that. I was just so happy with everything.
Working with Morgan Fairchild
EDGE: I read that if was really great for you to have actress Morgan Fairchild in the film. Can you share just one funny story that she told you on the set and also, what you enjoyed about having her in the film?
Houston Rhines: I don’t know if I can tell any of her stories... I don’t want her to get mad at me. I will tell you that she had good classic Hollywood stories. I didn’t leave the set with her even if I wasn’t in the scene. We wanted to hang out with her and she was completely professional and everything about her was just like watching an acting class. You could have paid and just learned acting lesions to just sit there and watch her.
EDGE: I bet and she’s a huge gay advocate as well. It was definitely great to see her in this film.
Houston Rhines: Yes, she is very active in that.
EDGE: For an actor in Hollywood, do you think you have to go through a career of making several films before you completely feel comfortable as a working actor?
Houston Rhines: I don’t think there is a blueprint for that. However, I do think that though as Sanford Meisner, the great acting coach said, that it takes twenty years for you to be a good actor. I do always think the more you do and the older you get and the more life experience and the studying you put in, you will be a better actor.
EDGE: Are you in for the long haul?
Houston Rhines: I’m in for the long haul. Yes. Yeah, they won’t let me leave L.A. (laughter)
EDGE: What would you say is the most important aspect of the film "eCupid?"
Houston Rhines: Just that it’s a fun romantic comedy that deals with real relationship problems. I think the message of the story is universal. I think that someone in a straight relationship could get just as much out of it as someone in a gay relationship. There is also a wonderful fantasy aspect about it. JC Calciano definitely wrote it with that intention.
EDGE: Finally, just for shits and giggles, how did you land in Kelly Clarkson’s video, "My Life Would Suck Without You?"
Houston Rhines: I just auditioned, just like everybody else. The first audition... I just walked in to as they were auditioning right down from my house. I walked in and said, "Hey, what’s going on here?" So, I went and grabbed a headshot and they brought me back three times and I guess they liked me enough to put me with Kelly.
EDGE: It’s a fun video...
Houston Rhines: She’s awesome. You’re always nervous when there is someone who is at her level, who is a superstar. But, she was really down to earth and fun. She is just cool to hang out with.
EDGE: All right Houston, the best of luck.
Houston Rhines: Thanks a lot. It was nice talking to you.
For more on "eCupid,"
Watch the trailer to "eCupid":