Darryl Stephens On Activism, Imagination, And The Perfect Guy

Darryl Stephens — perhaps best known as Noah on “Noah’s Arc” — and I have known each other for a long time, since we were both students at U.C. Berkeley. And we have become even closer after I started writing this site. In response to some of my posts, Darryl has often written me with his insight, and, just as often, with his disagreements. Considering our back-and-forth, we both thought it was time for a proper discussion. Here, Darryl talks about stalkers, making music again, the pitfalls of fashion, and whether gay artists should indeed be activists.

AKAW: Now, as I recall, you stalked my boyfriend “Supermodel” Jonathan Waud at a Target in LA. Does being a celebrity yourself give you some special insight into how to be a good stalker?

DS: ‘Stalked’ is actually a strong word for my brief encounter with Jonathan. I spotted him as soon as I walked in the store and then freaked out a little because he was with his family… In my mind I could hear him talking about his ‘girl’ and his son, ‘baby boy,’ on the show. And there I was, looking at the whole lot of them. But to be quite honest, most of my excitement about seeing him at Target was about the fact that I got to turn around and report the sighting to you. You talk about him so much I just wanted to share a little LA moment with you. I followed him around for a couple minutes just so that you could soak him up vicariously. But it wasn’t that serious.

I think my experience with stalkers probably makes me a lot less likely to feel a need to connect with someone physically just because they’re ‘famous.’ Fifteen years ago, long before Noah, when I was doing theater in San Francisco, I had a number of people approach me in ways I thought were completely inappropriate. And while it should have been flattering to have people kind of lose their shit about something they perceived in me based on a stage performance, it was mostly just scary. And a complete turn-off. I knew even then that hanging out with a fan could only result in a completely one-sided relationship. Fun for him/her, not so much for me.

That being said, when I moved to LA a few years later, I saw Ryan Phillippe shooting ‘Playing By Heart’ at a movie theater around the corner from my apartment. I sat at the cafe downstairs and waited all day for an opportunity to tell him how much I was in love with him. This was after White Squall and Little Boy Blue but before Cruel Intentions. He eventually came downstairs and I walked up to him… a nervous wreck… shook his hand and told him I was a big fan of his work. Clearly taken aback–probably because I was so obviously losing my shit–he thanked me, sort of perfunctorily, smiled and walked away. It didn’t play out at all the way I had imagined it. And the fact that he didn’t fall madly in love with me in that moment sort of taught me not to ever approach anyone that way again.

And then about ten years later, I sort of stalked Sam Sparro. But it was totally in a ‘your music and your vibe really move me’ kind of way. More of a talent crush. Whereas with Ryan, I really wanted to do him some physical damage… (When I met Sam, he was totally sweet and chatted with me and my friend.)

AKAW: Speaking of Ryans . . . although it looks like they are going to be in a movie together, if you had to choose between them, Ryan Reynolds or Jason Bateman?

DS: A couple years ago, I would have said, “Ryan Reynolds. Next question.” Cute boy, hot body, great comic timing. But I’m so much older now. You learn a lot from 30 to 35. I know that I need more than abs and preternaturally white teeth in a leading man. Jason isn’t quite as delicious with a crossbow or in leather motorcycle pants, but he’s grown up. He’s been through his messy thirties and he’s a family man. He’s spiritual and self-reflective. And he’s also got great comic timing. A sense of humor is HUGE. But a sense of self is… priceless. Did that sound like a MasterCard commercial? Sorry. So while I don’t know either of them personally, I think I would be more likely to see a Jason Bateman movie than a Ryan Reynolds movie. Because I see more truth and life experience in Jason. I have enjoyed Ryan’s work, (the shirtless work, in particular) but Jason consistently entertains and inspires…

Continued on the next page . . .

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