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Longtime Companion May 1990: Craig Lucas recalls the long road to getting Longtime Companion to its theatrical debut. (Justifying our love).

What I remember most about the making of Longtime Companion is not the struggle we had to find name actors nor all the reasons they gave for turning us down; it is not the battle we had with the Fire Island Pines Property Owners' Association to allow us to shoot there in the off-season (even after removing all references to the Pines in the script, they still didn't want their precious enclave to be associated with AIDS, and only agreed when threatened with the adverse publicity); it is not the wonderful straight actor asking me if his dick looked big enough in a particular shot, nor the gruff cameraman who looked around on our first morning on Fire Island and turned to me with wonder, saying, "It's so fucking romantic here," nor the gay actor covered with KS lesions that he insisted be covered up with makeup for his scene, nor the other gay actor who agreed to cover his face with artificial lesions for his.

No, these aren't the things that rent out most of my skull space from that period. It's my best friend, the movie's director, Norman Rene, learning that he was HIV-positive right before shooting began, and his asking my lover, a surgeon, to lie on the insurance forms so he wouldn't be fired off the movie. I remember my lover agreeing to do it because "by the time they decide to sue either of us, we'll both be dead." I remember casting my first lover, the great actor Peter Evans, in a key role, then flying out to Los Angeles to be with him as he died, and his desperate worries in his last hours that we not give the role away to someone else.

I remember most of all hanging around the hospital, after his body had been taken away, not wanting to leave. I remember sitting in the waiting room, hearing the phone ring and ring and ring in his empty room, finally going in to answer it: a friend from England, calling to see how Peter was doing; having to tell her he died. And this woman, whom I'd never met, after a soft intake of breath: "The best thing that could happen, I suppose." "Yes." "How will we do without him?"

I remember Vincent Canby in The New York Times calling the finished movie "insipid" and expressing dismay that it was about the kind of people who "shop at Bloomingdale's." I remember wanting to die, and then I remember not dying.

And I guess I remember pretty much everything bad that happened and pretty much everything good that happened too, and I remember thinking that I was not going to let anybody ever forget any of it.

Lucas's plays and screenplays include Prelude to a Kiss and Reckless.
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Author:Lucas, Craig
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Date:Nov 12, 2002
Words:467
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Next Article:Civil unions July 1, 2000: under the stewardship of Gov. Howard Dean, Vermont gives same-sex couples the rights of marriage. (Justifying our love).


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