Before meeting the director of The Skinny for lunch recently, I had seen Patrik-Ian Polk refer to himself on his Twitter profile as "The gay Tyler Perry. Shut up." But I'd also heard of him referred to as the gay Spike Lee.
So which is it, I inquired when we met, especially since many people consider the former of those two directors to already be gay?
"It's both," he says laughing.
Polk considers himself something of the kind of love child Lee and Perry would have had they gotten together and been able to procreate. (Pushed as to whether he thinks Madea's alter ego could possibly be interested in women, Polk says, "He says he's straight," with something of a smirk on his face, adding, "I have no reason not to take him at his word.")
The influence of both filmmakers can clearly be seen in The Skinny, Polk's third feature film which just concluded a run at the Quad and premiered on Logo this month. In a similar way that Lee put black (hetero) sexuality on the screen in a raw, in-your-face manner completely unlike how it had ever been seen before with She's Gotta Have It, Polk puts black homosexuality up there in a way rarely seen in narrative movies from the opening minutes of the film. Like Lee's early films (and, actually, from early dispatches we've heard about Red Hook Summer), Polk is wearing many hats behind the camera on The Skinny, a project he largely financed himself.More »