In “The Lady in the Locket”, a New Gay Comedy Film by Steven L. Coard
BY WILLIAM COOKE
In Steven L. Coard’s new film, The Lady in the Locket, Qeescey Green (played by Shawn Singleton) is dumped by his male lover, Travis (played by Coard), on his 35th birthday. Distraught and fed up, Qeescey makes a birthday wish that he never falls in love again. Later that day, a mysterious box appears at his doorstep. Inside is a locket. Once Qeescey takes hold of the locket, he is transported into it where he meets Lareema, the Lady in the Locket (played by TS Madison), who gives Qeescey a test of love.
“I drew inspiration from the Sarah Michelle Gellar film, Simply Irresistible,” reveals Steven L. Coard from the Jersey City studios of Color of Love Production. “I wanted to create a similar film with an African American LGBTQIA cast.”
Coard says many black gay men who are over 35 and still single, have become jaded at the idea and prospect of finding true love. He points a critical finger at black gay men themselves, who, too often, are only attracted to the outside appearance of men and do not take the time to see past a person’s flaws.
In the film, Qeescey Green’s flaw, according to Travis, is his job as a phone sex operator. Qeescey enjoys the job; has been at it for a long time, and especially loves working alongside his fun-loving best friend, Yadiris Ramirez (played by Magda Suriel). Travis, however, likens the job to prostitution and uses religion — an undeniably strong influence in the African American community — as his justification to end the relationship.
“Of course it’s a cop out,” explains Coard. “Travis is like many gay black men who are closed-minded and afraid to commit to anyone who walks outside of what is considered ‘the norm.’”
Coard’s message to viewers is to be unapologetically you and stop trying to be like everyone else. “Find that person that appreciates your so-called flaws,” he says.
The Lady in the Locket was shot last month, over three days, in Jersey City, NJ. Coard chose Shawn Singleton, an actor he worked with previously on his film, Raye, for the lead role, bcause, “I love Shawn’s comedic timing and I needed someone who could play off TS Madison’s high energy.”
Singleton is also one of Coard’s students at Color of Love Production Studios Acting School in Hoboken, NJ. For all of his films going forward, Coard aims to cast his students, whenever possible, so that they get experience working with big name talent like Madison.
Coard had originally cast another actor to play Travis, but when the actor couldn’t do it, he stepped into the role. “It’s a challenge for me to play these unlikable characters because I’m so likable in real life,” he laughs.
The Lady in the Locket is being distributed by Color of Love Production Studios, an award-winning production company founded by Steven L. Coard that specializes in creating stories about the LGBTQ community of color. The studio especially strives to focus on unique issues of relevance to the gay African American experience. Previous films include Raye, Heartbreaks and Soulmates and last fall’s critically acclaimed romantic comedy, Don’t Marry Griff.
Steven L. Coard is also the founder of The Color of Love Production School for Film, Television, Theatre a place where LGBTQ talent of varying disciplines can work together in a supportive environment to create exciting visual projects. “It’s an exciting time for people of diversity to be working in film,” he says. “We are hard at work, making memorable ‘diverse’ characters like Qeescey and Lareema that have mainstream appeal.”
The Lady in the Locket is out now. Please visit www.colorofloveproductionstudios.com.