I had the chance to speak with actor and LGBTQ trailblazer Chaz Bono on his new film Bury the Bride. It will screen at Panic Fest in Kansas City and Salem Horror Fest before it begins streaming on Tubi on April 22nd.
During our chat we discussed everything ranging from how he came to the project as both an actor and an executive producer, working with fake blood, Kansas City BBQ, and how the horror genre creates a welcoming space to queer fans.
Bury the Bride is directed by Spider One, who co-wrote the script with Krsy Fox. Fox stars in the film alongside Scout Taylor-Compton, Dylan Rourke, Lyndsi LaRose, Chaz Bono, Katie Ryan, Rachel Brunner, Cameron Cowperthwaite, and Adam Marcinowski. The film is produced by Fox, Spider One, Bono, Ian Huge, and Andy Patch.
Watch or read our interview below! The interview transcript has been edited for length and clarity.
Matt Davis: I'm a big fan of horror, you've done several projects in this genre, what is it that pulls you towards the world of horror?
Chaz Bono: I think from a strictly acting point of view, I love the characters that you get to play in horror. You can really disappear in them, there's a lot of bad characters which I really enjoy playing. I feel like it works with the style of acting that I really love to do.
And then I've been a horror fan since I was a kid, so I personally really love the genre. I love it as a storytelling tool. I think you can say a lot, make great statements in horror in a completely different way than other genres. And then… as a producer, I felt really safe, because you can make great horror on smaller budgets. And the horror fans are just the greatest fans ever. [They] really support the films.
MD: I definitely count myself among those fans. So you're both an actor and, you mentioned, a producer on this project- how did this movie come into fruition? And how did you first get involved?
CB: Sure. So Krsy Fox, the co-writer and star of the film and I have the same manager, and he had been trying to get us together just because he thought we had such similar tastes and sensibilities towards film. And he also thought we were going to just hit it off which we did.
By that point she had made two films, I Live Alone and Frank… they had this wealth of experience of producing these films. And so we just kind of started with talking about that, that I really was hoping to go in that direction. And then they finished the script for Bury the Bride and I read it and I just loved the script. It was one of those scripts that I could really visualize as I was reading it. And that doesn't always happen.
You know, sometimes you're reading a script and you space out, and you have to go back a page. This was just so engaging and exciting. And so that was really what initially got me involved. And then Krsy was like, “I want you to play this character, Puppy.” And I was like, “Okay, he doesn't speak Krsy… he barely speaks in the film.”
And she was like, “I'm telling you, it's gonna be this incredibly impactful character.” There's a big kind of surprise when I do finally speak. And she convinced me to feel safe in doing that, which I did. And I'm, from the acting point, thrilled how my character turned out.
MD: So was it Krsy's idea that the character be named Puppy?
CB: Yeah, that was Krsy's idea. She had told me that it kind of came from growing up [with] her brothers. She's like, “There was always a friend, like Puppy, with a weird name like that.”
And that was kind of the inspiration and then we talked about that character and part of his backstory. And I felt like I was able to help shape that a little bit. So it just turned out to be perfect. And the right thing as she said.
MD: I hope it's not too much of a spoiler, but there's a lot of fake blood in this movie. What was that like working with that on set?
CB: So blood is interesting. I worked with a lot of it in American Horror Story, too. And, really, none of them are terrible to have to deal with. Other than that I'm not a huge fan of mouth blood, because it's just the sweetest thing you've ever had in your mouth but not in a good way.
But you have to have blood in these things. You can't do special effects, like you need the blood. And so I totally appreciate that.
MD: Onto a more serious topic. When you first came out as transgender, that was really kind of a watershed moment for trans visibility. How do you think the entertainment industry has improved since then for members of the trans community? And what advancements do you think still need to be made?
CB: Well, certainly there have been more and more projects that have trans characters in [them]. What I would like to see is mainstream film and TV start to hire trans actors to play non-trans parts as well. For me as a character actor, [I] never wanted a career just playing trans characters. And I think that's how most of us feel. And so I really hope that starts to change, eventually.
MD: How do you think you break away from that sort of typecasting? And what would be some of your advice for younger trans actors that might be interested in working in the industry?
CB: Well, I think first I just got super lucky with getting cast in American Horror Story. And that really set up my career. And then I think that's another reason why I'm drawn to horror. It's very inclusive. I find it to be a very inclusive genre. There are all different kinds of fans, including a ton of queer horror fans.
And so I've been able to play all types of different characters in this genre. And never a trans character. And so that definitely attracts me. I find inclusivity in horror that just doesn't really exist, to the same degree, in other genres.
MD: What do you think it is about the horror genre that creates such a welcoming space for queer people? And also draws queer fans?
CB: I think it's a few things. I think as for fans, in general… people have looked down on horror and those of us who are obsessed with it. And I think that gives us all an outsider kind of status… I think it just attracts marginalized people in a lot of ways.
And then there's also been some great horror films made by queer people… this is something I've actually talked with Krsy about wanting to, at some point, play a trans character in one of our films. Because, you know, I think that we could use the device of horror to really illustrate stuff like the attack on trans people in our country right now.
And I think that horror has always been that for all all different groups of people.
MD: So your movie Bury the Bride, it's going to be premiering at Panic Fest [in Kansas City, MO]. Are you in Kansas City?
CB: Yeah, I'm in Kansas city right now. Yes.
MD: I'm a Kansas Citian and so I've gotta say, welcome! You've gotta try the barbecue while you're here. I recommend Jack Stack. That's my personal favorite.
CB: Okay! Krsy's a vegetarian and Spider's a pescatarian and I was like, “I want to try to get some barbecue while I'm here, guys.” [laughs]
MD: What's next for Chaz? I looked at your IMDb page. I see you've got some projects coming up.
CB: I've got a film that's going to be coming out later this year. It's also a horror film. It was completely different, but really great. And that was really fun for me because my character in that is a little bit of the comic relief. Not like over-the-top slapsticky but I play kind of a slightly goofy guy. And that was a lot of fun.
And I had a really good time making that and then Spider has a new script. And we are now officially in pre-production for that one. It's very different from Bury the Bride but it's as compelling. It's focused around a mother trying to protect her daughter so I think it's going to feel really different. It's got much more of a centralized focus than the big ensemble cast that we we did for Bury the Bride, but I'm really excited about it. I'm really excited about the character I'm going to play in that one. I can't wait for all of us to get to work together on something.