B R I E F   S Y N O P S I S
Christian (Wes Ramsey), a hunky, 20-something, West Hollywood party boy gets more than he bargains for when he tries to seduce 19-year-old Elder Aaron Davis (Steve Sandvoss), a sexually confused Mormon missionary. When Christian exposes Davis' secret sexual desire, Davis rejects Christian for being shallow and empty, yet the encounter draws the two into a passionate romance. The charming, sexy, and moving directorial debut of screenwriter C. Jay Cox (Sweet Home Alabama).
  Earthbound Angels

"I don't believe in coincidence," says Lila, the glamorous restaurateur character in my movie, Latter Days, played by the radiant Jacqueline Bisset. "These days, I believe in miracles." I thought of those words as I stood atop the hill Cumorah, which is something akin to Mormon Mecca. I was being looked down upon by a towering statue of the angel Moroni. Latter Days, about a gay Mormon missionary, had just played a film festival in Rochester and I was surprised to find myself in nearby Palmyra, New York, the birthplace of Mormonism. It struck me as less than coincidental that I was facing such an epic figure from the religion of my youth.

It reminded me how I had felt somewhat cheated as a child. Other religions had hosts of angels, glorious gossamer draped seraphim replete with flowing hair and graceful windswept wings. But the scant squadron of Mormon angels were determinedly wing-less beings, somber, exclusively male, all in shapeless clothes with neatly trimmed beards and sensibly cropped '70s era haircuts. To me those angels looked less like heavenly emissaries and more like the Bee Gees in that sadly misbegotten Sgt. Pepper's movie. And maybe that was my first clue there might be a discrepancy between me and my childhood religion—Movies.

See, as a kid I felt more inclined toward the Hollywood version of celestial glory, like in Heaven Can Wait. I can still remember how I longingly gazed at that movie poster—those angelic wings—on Warren Beatty. Oh yeah. That was probably my second clue.

There are those that find ourselves on the outside, looking in. Growing up in cowboy country, on the Utah border, in a dusty place ruled by pickup trucks and rodeos, I realized that I was different. Even as a boy I knew I had an undeniable, secret urge. I knew I was a closet…filmmaker.

Some people can have an experience, incorporate it into their lives then perhaps use it to make the world a better place. Then there's another kind that has to go and make a movie about it. That's the category I fall into. Originally, I wrote this movie for myself and a couple of like-minded friends. That's not the best target demographic for a medium like film. Yet I felt compelled to tell this story. At some point in one of the script drafts Davis, the lead character, sits down on a bench and (perhaps naively) compares life to the confusing mass of dots on a magnified comic page. He expresses the hope that maybe "from God's perspective we're all connected. And it's beautiful, and funny, and good." I felt like he wasn't just speaking to me, but to anyone who has felt different and alone, or tried to grapple a set of finite answers around the complex conundrum of life, and love and humanity.

And that's one of the things I cherish about film. Ideally it gives us a window into other lives, different worlds, new realms of experience. Often, in seeing the differences between movie characters and ourselves we find connections also. We find our similarities, our shared dreams, our communal anguish. Yes, there are numerous times I walk out of a theater thinking, "Man, I wasted eight bucks and two hours of my life on that piece of crap." But then again there are those rare joyous
occasions when I find a theater is like a temple; the house lights go dark, the screen flickers to life and upon it angels find wings.


©2004 Landmark Theatres