A Hollywood heartthrob returns home to rekindle an old closeted relationship.
Writer/director: Denis Theriault
Producer: Colin Davis
I’ve been in Syd’s shoes. Well, somewhat.
I’ve been working in the film and TV industry since I was a kid and, until very recently, being an actor meant everything to me.
I absolutely loved being on set (and still do). Nothing made me happier. It gave me more joy than getting drunk with friends, doing drugs or, hell, even having sex. A teenager so driven by their passion that they forego most societal rights of passage? Yeah, that was me. So when I realized I had an attraction to the same sex, I buried it. Deeply. There was no way I was letting something get in the way of that.
And anything that did was to be struck down immediately.
I saw the negative press generated by most public figures of either sex who were suspected of being gay. What if my agent found out? And what about the casting directors? Would I be typecast as some effeminate kid, incapable of portraying anything but a gay character? Or worse yet, never work again? The fact that my sexuality could affect what I was doing for a living was jarring.
That’s why I wrote and directed the short film version of I am Syd Stone. I was, and still am, utterly fascinated with celebrity culture. I thought to myself “Someone in Hollywood, at this very moment, is feeling the way I do, but on a much grander scale.”
That’s how Syd was born; a composite of my own fears combined with an educated guess of those felt by a multitude of celebrities I’d observed over the years.
In the five years since originally making the short, I’ve grown into the man I am today. I’m out. Proud. I’ve had my journey and, don’t get me wrong, I’m still on it. But if I can impart just a little bit of insight and knowledge by telling this story, then my struggles will have been for a purpose.
About Denis Theriault
Denis Theriault was born in New Brunswick, discovering early on that he wanted to work in the entertainment industry. At 14, he landed his first big TV role as Jeb in The Space Channel’s hit science-fiction series Starhunter.
Since then, Denis has appeared in various film and television projects. He is most recognized for his role in the feature film All the Wrong Reasons, starring alongside the late Cory Monteith, which had its world premiere at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. The role earned him an ACTRA Maritimes Award nomination for Outstanding Male Performance. His work can also be seen in the feature film Growing Op, on CityTV/CW’s Seed, Showcase’s G-Spot and HBO’s Call Me Fitz.
His latest film Across the Line is the racially charged feature debut of acclaimed music video director, Director X. The role of Todd, the story’s main antagonist, once again earned Theriault an ACTRA Maritimes Award nomination for outstanding male actor in a supporting role.
Following years of observing directors and being drawn to all aspects of film, Denis wrote and directed his first short film Sibling Rivalry in 2013. His 2014 follow-up I am Syd Stone, a deeply personal film, earned him acclaim at over 30 film festivals all over the world. The film was nominated for the prestigious Iris Prize, the ACTRA Award for best male performance and won best Canadian short film at the Silver Wave Film Festival.
His third short film The Gift Giver recently had its world premiere during the prestigious Inside Out LGBT Film Festival at TIFF Bell Lightbox.
Denis is now in the process of developing his first feature-length film entitled Chasers and web series adaptation to I am Syd Stone.