When we heard about the new director for the Miami International Film Festival, we treated him like an ex-boyfriend and googled him. That's how we found out that a Jaie Laplante played the former lover of a gay serial killer in Frisk. The 1996 film was based on a Dennis Cooper novel about AIDS, S&M, and snuff porn. When it was released in 1996, the film was called an "iconoclastic masterpiece" by some while others yelled at the screen before storming out.
Cooper, who was also disturbed by the adaption, said: "Murder is only erotic in the imagination, if at all. ... By choosing to represent only the surface of my novel, by using my novel to eroticize sadistic sexual acts against innocent people in an uncomplex way, the film perpetuates a common, simplistic reading of my work, and this concerns me."
We spoke with Laplante to find out if he was involved in the controversial film. Check back later when we'll post Laplante's thoughts on Miami's film tastes as well as his personal list of favorite films.
So, Mr. New MIFF Director, are you the same Jaie Laplante in Frisk?
"Yeah, that me. You'll see why I chose the career path that I did. I
wasn't meant to make it as an actor," he told us by phone the next day
while away in New York. "I quite like the film. I respect the writings
of Dennis Cooper. I think he's an incredible artist. Todd Verow directed
the film and he brought a lot of his own visions to it. I think it was
extremely interesting and worthy of discussion."
According to Laplante, the cast and filmmakers did not expect how much ire the film would
inspire. "I was actually at the Toronto Film Festival for its world
premiere. I was there with Parker Posey and the rest of the cast, and
the first question in the post-film Q&A was so angry, so hateful. I
don't remember the question, but I remember that Todd had a mike and he
was so shocked by this reaction. He couldn't speak. Craig Chester took
the mike and he said all of us made this film out of a labor of love."
While that was the beginning and end of Laplante's career in acting, he
soon transitioned to another creative pursuit -- screenwriting. He
adapted Bruce LaBruce short stories into the 2004 film Sugar, which stars
Sarah Polly and was nominated for a Genie award.
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Laplante calls the film one of his proudest accomplishments. Here's the