Close Encounters of the Celebrity Kind...
Ty Giordano on his movie debut in The Family Stone
from the 5-3-06 issue of Windy City Times
by Richard Knight, Jr.
Giordano more than holds his own alongside heavyweights Diane Keaton, Sarah Jessica Parker, et al in out writer-director Thomas
Bezucha's destined holiday classic, The Family Stone; Giordano in a scene from the movie with Keaton, Craig T. Nelson, Dermont
Mulroney, and Claire Danes
I thought out writer-director Thomas Bezucha’s The Family Stone was one of last year’s best movies. Diane Keaton brilliantly heads a
cast that includes Sarah Jessica Parker, Dermont Mulroney, Luke Wilson, Claire Danes, Amy Adams, and Craig T. Nelson. They enact
what at first appears to be a shopworn Hollywood romantic comedy formula: Everett (Mulroney) brings home uptight girlfriend
Meredith (Parker) to meet his quickly disapproving family (headed by Keaton and Nelson) for the holidays. But as the film plays
out, Bezucha adds a lot of interesting twists and turns.
Most prominent is the role of the Stone’s deaf, gay son Thad, played by Ty Giordano, who has an African-American partner, Patrick
(Brian J. White) that is lovingly accepted by the ultra liberal Stone family. In a particularly memorable scene, Keaton declares her
wish that all her sons, not just Thad, had been born gay and when hesitantly confronted about that by Parker, defends him in such
no nonsense terms it’s like a call to arms. Take that homophobes!
The Family Stone has just been released on DVD (from Fox Home Video) with the usual assortment of commentaries, deleted scenes,
and making of featurettes, as well as an interesting Q&A session done with most of the cast. Giordano spoke with Windy City Times
about making The Family Stone, his first movie. Highlights:
WCT: How did you come to be a part of The Family Stone?
TG: I was doing the national tour of “Big River,” and it just so happened that Fox was casting for the movie while we were in Los
Angeles for our two-week run at the Ahmanson. I auditioned for the part, and met with Mr. Bezucha, and then learned I was to be
WCT: Was it daunting working with such major talents as Diane Keaton, Sarah Jessica Parker and the rest of the stellar cast on your
first film? Any specific examples you recall?
TG: It was exhilarating and terrifying all at once to learn that I was going to be running with the big dogs. My first thought upon
learning the news: “How am I going to keep up with these people?!” Then it came time for rehearsals (which I hear are rare in the
film world--too costly), and we broke the ice, taking a step towards feeling at ease with each other, like a real family. I was now able
to be star-struck and feel at ease knowing that the rest of the cast, like me, was human, too. I was in awe of how each of them
worked--Ms. Keaton was a real pro, and every take she would pull something different out of her bag of tricks. I learned about
giving the director as many choices as possible for the final edits from her. From Ms. Parker, I learned about an unbeatable work
ethic, and she’s such a joy to be around, so genuine and sweet, and so damn smart. Mr. Mulroney was like the big brother on the
set, always kidding around with everyone, and Mr. Wilson, who would crack us all up with his stream-of-consciousness.
WCT: You played a character with a lot of societal challenges. In addition to being deaf, Thad is gay and has an African-American
boyfriend. How did you prepare for the part? Did you have discussions with Thomas Bezucha? Did you rehearse with Brian J. White
who plays your partner?
TG: Thad Stone’s being gay and in an interracial relationship is simply a different experience of being human. I borrowed from my
own experience of being deaf and marginalized and applied that to the film, plus I found attractive qualities in Mr. White--he’s very
easy on the eyes--and focused on those in showing my love for him on the screen. Love is love is love.
WCT: Can you talk about the filming of that amazing dinner table scene where Diane Keaton so passionately declares her
preference for gay children and her love for your character in particular?
TG: The dinner table scene was my favorite to work on. It took three days to get all the footage for it. It was also the one scene
that felt the most theatrical, because the cameras were rolling for over a full minute for each take. That was the best part for me--
allowing the theatrical actor in me to sink into and live in a scene in continuous time, as opposed to in segments.
WCT: Were there any scenes between Patrick and Thad that were shot but didn’t make the film?
TG: I could have sworn there was a kissing scene in the script between Thad and Patrick--wishful thinking on my part. Maybe it was
cut from the script. It was never made because it probably would have wound up on a “Too Hot for TV” reel somewhere. Quit!
WCT: What’s up next for you Ty?
TG: As for my future: I know it sounds contrived, but I’m working on developing some work of my own, both inside and outside of
entertainment. Because I am deaf, roles are few and far in between, and hopefully find people who, like Mr. Bezucha, have the
chutzpah to cast an actor who is deaf in their work.