the envelop in any way to respond to that. I think it’s just, again, I’m just trying to do what I do outside of all of that. Also, I’m just doing something that I personally would want to see, and I feel like a film like this about characters in their early 20s – the reality is they’re young adults and they’re gonna be having sex and dealing with issues surrounding sex. I didn’t want to shy away from that. I wanted to be bolder.
EBONY: Was there an excitement among the cast, you know perhaps as if they knew they were a part of a much needed alternative to what’s currently out there?
Patrik-Ian Polk: I don’t know. I don’t know if anyone felt that – maybe they did and we didn’t really talk about that. I think people were happy to be working and happy to be cast in something. I think the actors liked what they were doing, and they certainly got along very well with each other. I think they believed in the project and enjoyed doing it. I don’t know how they feel about the larger cultural significance of it.
EBONY: You’re known for breaking a lot of emerging new talent or some in cases, offering people we’ve seen previously in unexpected roles. Is that something you make an effort to do – offer actors a particular challenge?
Patrik-Ian Polk: I like working with talented, fearless actors so I’m open to working with anyone, but really when I’m casting something, certainly something like The Skinny that’s a small movie that’s a definitely bit bolder and a little racy, I just need fearless actors who connect to the material and the characters and don’t have any hang ups about what they’re doing. I don’t care where they come from, but I’m happy to work with new talent and there is a certain satisfaction that comes from giving an unknown actor whose really got some chops a chance to shine. I look forward to some or all of the newer faces in The Skinny catching fire and being discovered by the more mainstream entertainment community. I think that’s gonna happen, I think we’ve got some really breakout young talent in this movie.
EBONY: I read your tweets about the opening weekend of The Skinny doing well. Has that been encouraging as much work as you’ve put into the movie and funding it yourself? Do you feel a sense of accomplishment? Are you relieved?
Patrik-Ian Polk: Absolutely, we’re a small outfit, this is an independently distributed movie as well so there’s not been a lot of big money support in terms of marketing the movie and distributing the movie, promoting the movie so we’re really relying on kind word-of-mouth and talking about it and hitting our core audience. To have the movie open in two cities and do well on the level of a Titanic [the movie had the third highest per screen average at the box office its opening weekend, besting the re-release of Titanic] is very encouraging because it says even without a big money machine behind us there is a viable audience for Black gay subject matter.
EBONY: Although you are still actively promoting The Skinny, what are you working on in the future? Are you open to making a return to television? I recall hearing that you may have something in the works?
Patrik-Ian Polk: I’m open to any good job that comes my way and pursuing any and all opportunities. I’m definitely planning to shoot two sequels in the Skinny series. We’ll shoot part two and part three in the fall. We should be filming in September in Atlanta. There’s another movie project that I wanna do this year as well and I have some TV stuff. Lots of irons in the fire, you have to kinda keep busy in this industry and keep figuring out what the next things are. There are quite a few things in the works.
EBONY: You mentioned proving that there’s a viable audience for Black gay subject matter, so I wondered what do you make of the success of Dee Rees’ Pariah? Are you hopeful about more gay Black stories will our out?
Patrik-Ian Polk: I certainly hope that the success of Dee Rees and other filmmakers like her encourages just more: Encourages Hollywood to make more of these projects, encourages more filmmakers to make these projects. I mean any real success like that is only helpful to the next person. I just hope more of our projects can find an audience because the industry pays attention to numbers a whole lot, so if you can show a clear track record then you can establish that there is an audience for these projects so that more people can make them.
The Skinny is currently showing in limited engagement in