my fair laddie

Jason Ritter Nude Scenes; Pygmalion Story "The Makeover"

I personally don’t think good actors have to shy away from nude scenes in films in an attempt to try to be more artistic…or even better…than actors who do nude scenes (or even sex scenes). In other words, I think there are times in films, just like in books, where nudity and sex is important to the storyline and it shouldn’t be overlooked just because an actor has an issue with doing nude or sex scenes. I include both men and women in this.

And Jason Ritter is one of the best actors out there today, and he’s done nude scenes that I think moved his scenes forward and he does it in a way that isn’t too obvious or in any way offensive.

Here’s a web site I’ve linked to before where you can check out a few photos of Ritter’s nude scene in The Education of Charlie Banks.

And here’s an interesting interview with Ritter where he talks about his nude scenes. As of yet, I don’t think he’s ever done full frontal.

You seem to always take your pants off when you’re in a film with Jesse Eisenberg.

I guess the rule is, if I’m in a film with Jesse, I have to show my butt. It’s in his contract: I have to humiliate myself. He’s got a sick fascination with my butt. [Laughs] Maybe it’s a generational thing, but a lot of actors these days show their butts. It’s not like we’re trying to show our butts because it’s some terrible movie late at night on some weird channel like it used to be, but if our characters like to get naked, that’s representative of life. We’re holding up a mirror — to our butts. [Laughs]

Pygmalion Story “The Makeover”

In full disclosure, I don’t always watch much on the Hallmark channel. Cedar Cove is about all I can take, and even that’s been grating on my nerves lately because of all the sickening sweet dialogue and ridiculous background music (picture Dumbo skipping stones). But once in a while Hallmark has a film that I’m curious about and I like to check it out to see how these films are done. In this particular case the film I’m talking about is The Makeover, which is a new version of the old Pygmalion storyline. For those who don’t know the stage play My Fair Lady was also a take on Pygmalion.

Here’s part of the blurb for The Makeover from Hallmark.

Hannah and her business partner, Colleen Pickering (Camryn Manheim) don’t give up easily. For the next election, they recruit a candidate – beer vendor Elliot Doolittle (David Walton) – who is definitely a man-of-the-people. His mother Allie (Frances Fisher) is the definition of “piece of work,” as is his sister Bonnie (Georgia Lyman). Elliot – whose thick South Boston accent masks considerable intelligence – is the polar opposite of prim-and-proper Hannah.

As you can see, they turned the story around and made the male lead the poor, unpolished wretch instead of doing it with a woman like they did in My Fair Lady…the Audrey Hepurn character. In this particular film, The Makeover, they even used the same last name…Doolittle…as they did in My Fair Lady.

The film was excellent, and the way they adapted this age old storyline gave it a different feel and I didn’t even mind the commercials in between. However, it’s basically the same thing I did with my gay erotic romance, My Fair Laddie. Only I did a gay version, as a parody, with two gay main characters, and plenty of erotic scenes. 

And there’s one thing of which I’m certain, someone else will do yet another version of Pygmalion in the future. And then again, and again. It’s like the Cinderella trope. Most people love it.

You can read more about The Makeover here.

Photo attribution.

Parody, Pygmalion, and Retelling Classic Storylines


Although most people know what parody is, I find that there are some who don’t. So I wanted to write a short post about it, keeping it as simple as possible. (Even though writing parody isn’t simple to do.)

According to Wiki, this is parody:

A parody ( /ˈpærədi/; also called pastiche, spoof, send-up or lampoon), in current use, is an imitative work created to mock, comment on, or trivialise an original work, its subject, author, style, or some other target, by means of humorous, satiric or ironic imitation. You can read more about it here.

A good example of parody would be the logo above, of MTM Enterprises. This was a parody of the old MGM logo, and clearly done very well.

Parody is something that has been done for a long time, and will continue to be used over and over again.

Pygmalion comes from Greece. The story has been retold many, many times by authors like George Bernard Shaw.

In George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion, a modern variant of the myth with a subtle hint of feminism, the underclass flower-girl Eliza Doolittle is metaphorically “brought to life” by a phonetics professor, Henry Higgins, who teaches her to refine her accent and conversation in social situations.

Retelling this story isn’t something new. I did it, with a cast of all gay characters, in my book “My Fair Laddie.” The title of my book was a parody of the play, “My Fair Lady,” and I retold the story just like Shaw did, with gay characters, plenty of erotica, and distinct differences in the storyline so that it would work for gay men. You can read more about Pygmalion here.

The film, “Pretty Woman,” is a classic retelling of the Cinderella story.

A modern-day retelling of the Cinderella story, PRETTY WOMAN catapulted its star, the then 23-year-old Julia Roberts, into the film stratosphere. Her portrayal of Vivian, the call girl whose low self-esteem disallows her from thinking she can live any other way, was popular not only with men but also women, seeing in her their own insecurities and vulnerabilities.

You can read more about it here.

When I wrote “Pretty Man,” I did the same thing, with all gay characters, a bulter, and plenty of erotica that no one’s done before. I changed the characters completely, changed the setting, reworked the entire storyline. But I did use parody with the title. I thought my gay readers would enjoy reading the Cinderella story about gay men for a change. We rarely get an opportunity like that. All those deep, emotional, dark books about gay men are great. We love m/m romances with cupackes, cute kiddies, and ribbons and bows and picnic baskets filled with puppies and kittens. We really love them. But we like to have a little fun every now and then, too…with plenty of sex!!

These are just basic concepts of parody and retelling. For those who already know this, I hope I added something in the links that said something new so I didn’t bore you to death. For those who don’t know anything about parody, or how classic stories have been retold in very different ways, I hope I taught you something.

Excerpt: My Fair Laddie

Below is an excerpt from MY FAIR LADDIE that hasn’t been published anywhere. You can find a full description and in depth excerpts here. But I like to publish a little of something that hasn’t been published anywhere in case people are still wondering. And if there are any questions about any books, feel free to e-mail me. I can’t promise I’ll get back immediately, but I will get back.

As Harlan walked to his desk, Larvin followed him. “I’m not so sure I want Wilbur back,” Larvin said. “And if you want to keep him around for a while, it might be the best thing for everyone. You get your young boy, and I get some peace of mind. But I can’t let you have him for nothing, you see. I’m interested in talkin about an arrangement. I’m just takin advantage of my rights as Harlan’s father, and you surly don’t think I’d just let a good lookin young boy go like that for nothin.” He looked Harlan up and down and smiled. “You look like one of the good ones, Dr. Henderson.”

“Good ones?” Harlan said, holding his chin in his palm.

“Yeah,” Larvin said. “You know, real classy, like a real man. You’re not one of them lady-boy poufs, with a limp wrist and a swishy walk. You don’t pluck your eyebrows, talk with no lisp, or wear no make-up. Why you could pass for a straight guy any time, you could. And I can’t fault you none if you have a likin for innocent young guys like me Wilbur.”
Fritz cleared his throat. He’d remained silent until then. “You should be aware, Larvin, there’s nothing wrong going on here. Everything Dr. Henderson is doing with Wilbur is completely legitimate and strictly professional. Dr. Henderson is an excellent linguist and teacher, with the best reputation.”
Larvin laughed and covered his lips. “I’ll bet he’s very good at what he does. If he wasn’t, I’d ask for two thousand.”
“Are you saying that you’d sell your own son for two thousand dollars?” Harlan asked. Harlan had been around and back, but he’d never met anyone like this man before.
“Do you have any morals?” Fritz asked.
Larvin shrugged and looked at Darvin. Darvin was biting the nail on his thumb now. His face was turned sideways and he was chewing with his back teeth. “When you’re as poor as me,” Larvin said, “you can’t afford to have morals.” Then he sat in the chair across from Fritz and sighed. “Look at me, I got a homosexual son, a wife who won’t leave the house, and a half-witted homosexual nephew over there standing against the wall suckin on his fingers. I ain’t seen England since the day I left and I’m stuck in that rat hole where I live until the day I die. I’m only askin for one thousand dollars. Just for all it took to raise me Wilbur and get him ready for the likes of men like Dr. Henderson.”
Harlan rolled his eyes and laughed. He patted Fritz on the shoulder and said, “Since he put it this way, maybe I should give him two thousand instead of one. Just because he’s such a good Christian.” Then he walked behind his desk and reached for his check book.
Larvin stood up. “Oh no,” he said. “I only want one thousand, is all. I wouldn’t feel right takin a penny more than that. I have me own limits.”
Fritz stood up and took a deep breath. While Harlan wrote the check, he rubbed his jaw and said, “Too bad gay marriage isn’t legal, Harlan. If it were, you could just marry Wilbur and it would be much cheaper.”
Harlan ignored Fritz. He knew Fritz was joking, and he didn’t want to start a new conversation about marrying Wilbur. His only interest in Wilbur was academic. And now that he knew what Wilbur’s background was really like, he was even more determined to make something out of the boy to keep him away from these wretched people.
“I just don’t understand why you people are always goin on about gettin married,” Larvin said. “I never married Wilbur’s mother. Didn’t see a reason for it.”

New Release: MY FAIR LADDIE

I’m in the middle of editing the sequel to THE VIRGIN BILLIONAIRE, which will be titled, THE VIRGIN BILLIONAIRE’S WEDDING, so I’m posting about this brand new release early. It will be available in digital format at ravenousromance.com tomorrow, and in digital bookshops.

MY FAIR LADDIE is a tale set in Savannah, GA, in present times, with a Pygmalion storyline. But instead of a wretched young girl and a dignified older professor, I used a wretched young guy and a dignified older professor. It’s interesting how the dynamics change with two gay men. These differences astounded me while I was writing this book. And I’ve even incorporated a few interesting surprises that have never been done before.

Young Wilbur Munroe doesn’t know a soup spoon from a salad fork. He speaks with a quirky combination accent of British cockney and southern redneck. And although he makes his living working as a manual laborer for wealthy people in Savannah, he dreams about a much better life than what he’s known.

Dr. Harlan Henderson is a world-famous teacher of applied linguistics. He’s spent most of his life studying and writing about the differences between regional and social class dialects. And in his spare time he enjoys the company of rough, working class bi-sexual men who never put emotional demands on him. At thirty-nine years old, the last thing he’s looking for is a life partner.

But when young Wilbur trips over an urn filled with pomegranates at one of Harlan’s infamous Savannah parties and spills pomegranate martini on a Georgia senator, Harlan’s life changes forever. Though his first instinct is to fire Wilbur, he’s mesmerized by Wilbur’s wretched accent and his bold spirit.

When Wilbur returns the next day to ask Harlan to teach him to speak well and turn him into a perfect gentleman, Harlan is willing to take on the challenge. Though Harlan’s best friend bets Harlan can’t do this, Harlan forges ahead anyway. He moves Wilbur into his home, works with him night and day, and refuses to stop until he sees results. Only he doesn’t notice Wilbur is falling in love with him. And by the time he does, it just might be too late.

Do these two completely different gay men from opposite backgrounds have what it takes to make a life together? And will Harlan ever be able to put his huge ego aside long enough to listen to what Wilbur is trying to tell him?