Xavier Dolan

Interview and photography by
Michael Kowalinski


21-year-old actor-cum-director Xavier Dolan from Québec, Canada, is having his moment in the spotlight. His first film I Killed My Mother, a semi autobiographical story of a gay boy and his mother, won every single award it was nominated for at the Cannes Film Festival, and others at festivals around the world. Xavier is a true artiste. He isn’t in it for the fame or getting laid. We met up in Montreal, at coffee shops and at his house, the morning after his film won Best Feature Film at the Jutra awards. He was frantically renewing his passport so he could drive to New York the next morning to screen his film at MoMA's New Directors/New Films festival. He is intense, charming and intimidatingly handsome.

Michael: Congratulations on winning at the Jutra awards last night! I watched it, but I did not understand a word, as it’s in French.
Xavier: But you did, and that’s very kind of you. I really like the magazine.
Do you remember the first time you read BUTT?
I was seventeen, maybe eighteen. Something like that. I remember I jerked off. It was very exciting. I’m not a porn site person. Well, I am, but mostly, I love your articles and all the pictures. It’s homo erotic and intellectual. I really like it.
Oh, good! Unfortunately for everyone else, I heard you’re dating someone.
Yeah, but I’ve been a lonely person for years. I’m the single type. I’m used to being single. I’ve never had a relationship that has lasted longer than four months. But then, I’m twenty-one, since the first day of spring. It’s very new. I really am in love, with a very intelligent director.
Happy Birthday! But getting down to business, I can’t believe how good looking the guys here in Montreal are.
We are. This is a good-looking city. I’m attracted to everyone, but I like to see beautiful people. I see a lot of beautiful women, but mostly, it’s beautiful men. It’s always a shock to me when I go to Paris or New York, how many beautiful people there are. Is that an awful thing to say?
No! So you used to dress up in your mother’s clothing, like most gay boys. Was it when she wasn’t home?
Yeah, I did it when she wasn’t home. I don’t think I knew what it could represent to her, what it could foreshadow. Being a kid, I wouldn’t know it foreshadowed this future homosexuality. I had girlfriends, when I was eight or nine. When Titanic was released in theatres, I developed an obsession with Kate Winslet and Leonardo Dicaprio.
He was so beautiful in those days.
He was my first big love. I was obsessed with him. I wrote letters to him in English, can you believe it? I was surprised he wouldn’t respond. I would bug my mom about it, asking her when he would respond, and she would say very honestly ‘It is a possibility that he won’t answer.’
Now he might answer you.
Yeah, but it’s too late. I won’t forgive him. All these years of silence, between him and me? It’s unacceptable.
He’s kicking himself, for sure. That must have been around the time you went to boarding school. Did you hate it?
I went from the age of 9-13, and I loved it. It was surrounded by nature and it was run by nuns. Nuns are not exactly gay friendly, but they remain as highlights in the memories of gay men. They’re nice women. They’re heroic figures. Then, in high school I got bashed and it was horrible. There was one other gay boy who was my best friend. We never touched each other or anything.
Were you bullied at all besides that?
There was a guy whose name was Joey. He had nice armpits and a nice body. I have an obsession with armpits. I love hairy armpits. I’m getting a boner just talking about it. He was a year older and he was athletic. He was into basketball and hung out with these cousin humping idiots and SUV addicts. He was gently bullying me and trapping me in corners, shoving his dick in my face. He called me a fag, but he was secretly kind to me. He had beautiful eyes. He was buff, but not too much. He would hump me to humiliate me, but he didn’t know how much pleasure I was getting out of it. We had one of those relationships where you get excited because people are mistreating you. One time he punched this guy who was bullying me. He defended me, and so I hugged him. He was wearing Nike shorts, and I could feel his huge dick on my belly. I’ll remember that forever. We had these moments, and then one day we were in the computer lab at school, and he surprised me from behind. He put his armpit in my face. Armpits are gross to normal people, and he thought it would gross me out. That was one of the most erotic moments of my life. It’s my fantasy every day. I wish it would happen to me every day. Right after that, I went to the bathroom and jerked off. That was the first time I came.
That is an exciting story.
If it was shot in a certain way for a film, it can be so exciting. It’s restrained. When you see a huge dick coming on someone’s face in a movie, it’s way less exciting than seeing it through someone’s pants. Are you excited by it?
It’s very exciting. Your boyfriend in the film is so cute. In the scene where you guys paint and have sex, you’re a bottom.
You’re asking if I am a fetishist, who fucks people and paints?
No! Well, kind of.
I’m not narrow minded towards these practices. I’m open to everything. I did gangbangs, straight and gay. Wait, they were orgies, actually. They were more free spirited and spontaneous. And smaller.
Have you seen Shortbus? Was it like the orgies in that movie?
Yeah, but more modest. It was not that organized. It was humble. It wasn’t like eight hundred people having sex together. John Cameron Mitchell did Hedwig and the Angry Inch, right? That was a good film.
That movie made everyone feel so free. Are you afraid that every movie you make now has an impossible expectation to live up to?
Yeah, I do. I don’t know if I’ll be up to fulfilling these expectations. It is hard. It’s a lot to live up to. This second film I’m working on is completely different than the first one. The two works are so different, that a comparison is impossible. Hence, the expectation is erased, and you start fresh.
Is it easier to meet guys now that you’re famous?
It’s not. I don’t get laid that much. It’s not just about getting laid. I mean, I’m not one of these guys who need to fall in love to have sex, but I need to feel that someone is intelligent or interesting. One-night stands with dumb asses are good, too, but I never seem to meet these dumb asses for a one-night stand. I don’t have time to go out. I need to always be working, and have total control over every creative aspect. I love this shit, but it takes a long time. When people play hard to get it turns me on.

Published on 08 April 2010