Category: Cinema

Steve Coogan

English actor Steve Coogan has starred in a variety of films over the years including Tropic Thunder, Night at the Museum, and Around the World in 80 Days.

He moved on to more dramatic roles with What Maisie Knew, and The Look of Love. He continues that trend with the film Philomena teaming up with Judi Dench.

Stephen Frears directs the true story about journalist Martin Sixsmith who helps Irish birthmother Philomena Lee find the child she had lost to adoption 50 years prior.

The story takes many twists and turns leading to the discovery of her son Anthony all the while marveling at Lee’s dignity and charm. At early festival screenings this flick took home the Venice Queer Lion Prize and the Audience Award at the Toronto Film Festival.

Nunn on the Run sat down with Coogan at his hotel recently to discuss the little movie that has some big things to say.

Jerry Nunn: Hello, Steve. I think it’s interesting that you started with a puppet show and a stand up comedy routine.

Steve Coogan: That is how I got started in the industry. I wound up doing stand up because that was the only work I could get.
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With gay marriage finally passed in Illinois along comes a film that shows exactly why it is so important that we have equal rights.

Born from the YouTube video entitled It Could Happen To You, the documentary Bridegroom tells the story of Shane Bitney Crone and his partner Tom Bridegroom. After Bridegroom’s tragic death Crone is ostracized by his partner’s family and quickly shown how equal rights would have changed the funeral proceedings.

Director Linda Bloodworth-Thomason pieced together footage to make a film that makes audiences chuckle as well as weep by the end. Bridegroom was screened all over the world then finally for Oprah Winfrey Network and Netflix on the same day. Pick it up to show your friends and family available on DVD November 19.

November is a hot month for gay themed movies such a Dallas Buyers Club being released over the weekend. Matthew McConaughey transforms himself in this true story about Ron Woodroof, a Texas electrician, who becomes HIV-positive and how it changes his life.  Jared Leto is a must see as Rayon and may be an Oscar contender this year.

While you are at Landmark Century Cinema hop over to Philomena opening November 22. Another true story based on a journalist taken on a journey with a woman named Philomena Lee played by Judi Dench a birthmother looking for her lost child. The preview gives too much away so I won’t tell you more about it but this story of adoption, nuns, and a gay fella really hit home with this Nunn.

If you need more queer cinema head over to Reeling Film Festival this week and look for interviews from the stars coming soon! Complete schedule is at

Derek Magyar

Actor Derek Magyar has bounced back and forth from film to television over the years. Many will remember him starring as the lead character X in Boy Culture. He was in the fourth season of Star Trek Enterprise playing Commander Kelby with more television in Boston Legal, Charmed, Medium, and CSI NY to name a few.

He directed and produced the year-end release of Flying Lessons starring Academy Award winner Christine Lahti and nominee Hal Holbrook. It’s the story of a woman returning home after her father’s suicide. We talked to him about it and other endeavors for the New Year.

Jerry Nunn: Hi, Derek.

Derek Magyar: Hi, I apologize for being a little late. I was up in the mountains where I had no phone reception.

JN: I wish I were up there with you. It’s cold here in Chicago. Do you hike?
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Michael Shannon

Actor Michael Shannon is making a big splash in the hit summer movie Man of Steel playing General Zod but his background is even more interesting. He was born in Lexington, Kentucky and was raised there as well as Chicago, Illinois by divorced parents. He then attended New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois.

He became stage actor in Chicago helping to form A Red Orchid Theatre. He then worked with the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and Northlight Theatre. He originated the role of Peter Evans in Bug then starred in the film adaptation with Ashley Judd and Harry Connick, Jr. It was written by Steppenwolf ensemble member Tracy Letts.making a big splash in the hit summer movie Man of Steel playing General Zod but his background is even more interesting. He was born in Lexington, Kentucky and was raised there as well as Chicago, Illinois by divorced parents. He then attended New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois.

He debuted in the movie Groundhog Day leading to several other roles in Jesus’ Son, Pearl Harbor, 8 Mile, and Vanilla Sky. Revolutionary Road earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

With HBO’s Boardwalk Empire he tackled TV before returning back to Red Orchid once again.

We caught him on the red carpet at Rockit Bar & Grill to hear about his upcoming projects and what it was like battling Superman.

JN: (Jerry Nunn) Hi, Michael. That were intense fight scenes in the Man of Steel. Describe the experience.

MS: (Michael Shannon) There was a lot of training. I trained for months and months by myself then they brought me in and Russell Crowe for the fight we have at the beginning of the film. They also had Antje Traue who plays Faora come in along with Henry Cavill of course so it was just the four of us. We worked for hours and hours in a warehouse in Naperville. We did lots of conditioning and stunt moves.

JN: You are attending Wizard World in Rosemont on August 10. Are you ready for the crazy fans at the signing?

MS: So far people have been very respectful. No one has tried to rip my clothes off or anything. I am just happy people enjoy this. We put a lot of work into it and it is just nice to see people get something out of it.

JN: Talk about the new show at Red Orchid for you. I heard there is a bromance.

MS: It is a play called Simpatico. It is our first Sam Shepherd play. We have been around for 20 years and we are celebrating that anniversary with a play that is also 20 years old. It features a relationship of two old best friends that are played by me and Guy Van Swearingen, who started the company. We have also been friends for 20 years so there is a lot of parallels.

JN: When does the run start?

MS: It opens July 8.

JN: I will have to come check it out!

Visit for details on the new play. Get your gay geek on with Shannon and Zachary Quinto at the Donald Stephens Convention Center in August with more info at

Helen Reddy

Seventies hit maker Helen Reddy is returning to the spotlight at the Arcada Theatre this month. Coming out of Australia she went from troubled waters to international success with fifteen singles in the top 40. “I Am Woman” roared into households becoming an anthem for feminists. She won many awards including being the first Australian to win a Grammy. She hosted a variety show along with her numerous television appearances over the years.

In the ‘80s she worked in musicals including Anything Goes and Shirley Valentine. Afterwards she took a break from performing but now heads out on tour on her own terms. We talked about her long history and new lease on life on the phone.

Jerry Nunn: Hello, Miss Reddy. Where in the world are you?

Helen Reddy: I’m in LA where it is one minute after eight.
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Nia Vardalos

Actress Nia Vardalos found romance and an Academy Award nomination for the film My Big Fat Greek Wedding. She is actually from Greek Canadian parents and married to Cougar Town’s Ian Gomez. She adopted a daughter and became a US citizen in 1999.  She pretended to be a drag queen in Connie and Carla and a florist in I Hate Valentine’s Day.

Her television roles have included being on Drop Dead Diva, My Big Fat Greek Life, and Grey’s Anatomy. She returns to TV for a guest stint this week on Law & Order SVU as an attorney.

Nunn talked to her about that and her big fat gay life with musicals.

Jerry Nunn: Hi, Nia. I think I have your career covered because I’m gay, adopted, and live in Chicago.

Nia Vardalos: My God, are we related?

JN: We might be! Could you talk about your huge gay following after playing a drag queen?
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Mary-Louise Parker

Actress Mary-Louise Parker visited Chicago recently for Steppenwolf’s Fourth Annual Women in the Arts Luncheon this time at the JW Marriott. The two-time Golden Globe winner was honored with a career spanning video montage and questions by Artistic Director Martha Lavey.

Parker’s work on Showtime’s Weeds has garnered her four of her Golden Globe nominations, six SAG nominations and three Emmy nominations. She took home a Tony for the Broadway play Proof in 2001.

She has starred in unforgettable roles in Red, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Bullets Over Broadway.

She has been a consistent friend to the gay community with her beginnings in the gay film Longtime Companion, playing a woman with AIDS in Boys on the Side and the wife of a closeted lawyer in the HBO adaptation of Angels in America. This added to the surprise that recently she was accused of calling an antique dealer a “fag” in a scuffle. She wanted to set the record straight after the luncheon Nunn on One.

Jerry Nunn: Hello, Mary. How did you wind up at this luncheon?
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