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The Music Men

Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp discuss their upcoming film DICKS: The Musical.

Nathan Lane (l), Megan Mullally, Aaron Jackson, and Josh Sharp (Photo by Justin Lubin)

The comedic genius of Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp is brought to the big screen in DICKS: The Musical. The film, which premieres nationwide on October 20, follows two self-obsessed businessmen (writers Jackson and Sharp) as they discover that they’re long-lost identical twins and come together to plot the reunion of their eccentric divorced parents. Directed by Larry Charles, the film stars Nathan Lane, Megan Mullally, Houston’s own Megan Thee Stallion, Bowen Yang (who portrays God), and two unhinged Sewer Boys, among other familiar faces.

DICKS received waivers from SAG-AFTRA amidst the ongoing industry strikes, and the comedy duo behind the movie-musical took time to speak with OutSmart about their uproarious and insanely hilarious film.

OSM: Tell me about what inspired your two-man show, “Fucking Identical Twins: A Musical,” and then the process of adapting that for the film.

SHARP: It’s funny, because at the time we were doing it as a two-man show in a comedy theater that’s literally in the basement of a grocery store, we never thought of it as a movie. The genesis of it as a half-hour show was really [born] one day [when] we were like, “If we did The Parent Trap, we can each play the twins and the parents, because it’s only ever one twin that talks to one parent.”

JACKSON: We wanted to do a two-person musical together. I’m not entirely sure why, but I think it’s because of friendship. Chernin Entertainment came to see the live show and asked if we’d ever thought about making it a movie. Then, A24 got involved and that’s how it went to the silver screen.

SHARP: I think a lot of the DNA from the two-man show stayed for the movie. It was like a runaway train. We shot it very cheaply in 20 days and had to figure out how to film it in the most scrappy, fun, immediate way.

OSM: Of all of the projects you both have worked on, either together or separately, why was this the one you wanted to translate to the big screen?

JACKSON: This was always our passion project. It’s our voice and so absurdist—we were just really passionate.

SHARP: It’s always felt like the purest distillation of what we like. We made a movie that the two of us like, so having people respond to it has been a fun surprise. For many years, I almost never believed it was gonna be made. Every year we chipped away at this little passion project that we thought would probably never happen. Now that it actually got made with so many incredible people and it’s coming out into the world—it’s a dream.

OSM: Houston audiences will be especially excited to see Megan Thee Stallion, who has a substantial role in the film. Tell me about casting for this project.

SHARP: The cast were all our dream asks and they all said yes. Nathan [Lane] and [Megan] Mullally were surprises, because they’re so legendary, but I think we both thought they would respond to this movie. With Megan Thee Stallion, we thought, ‘We might as well ask. There’s no chance in hell she’ll do it.” And then she said yes!

JACKSON: Bowen Yang is our old friend, and these parts were all basically written for these people, so when they all got on board it was incredible. Larry Charles as the director is also another shocking dream legend.

SHARP: [Nick] Offerman was so kind about the project. We were working with [his wife Megan] Mullaly when we asked if he would do this little part and he was like, “I’ll do anything. I’d be a key grip. I’ll hold lights for you.”

OSM: It was really fun to watch a queer film that was built in fantasy without forcing any kind of agenda, although the final scene sends a pretty clear message. What is your hope for this film as it will exist in the vault of queer cinema?

SHARP: I’m glad there’s so much stuff that represents our community in so many different ways. I just want to bring a sensibility more than a representation. I want to be able to be queer and crass and bold, and also silly and absurd.

JACKSON: It’s great to have this aspect of queer life, which is that we look at the world through a different lens. Things are more absurd to us that other people take for granted. You’re told your whole life you are taboo and you’re just trying to get through a Wednesday. I think it’s kind of like embracing the taboo and embracing absurdity. It’s for outsiders, for little freaky weirdos.

OSM: You’re among the few artists allowed to promote their work right now, given the strike. How has that informed your energy and your process for spreading the word about DICKS: The Musical?

JACKSON: We’re so grateful to SAG that we got the interim agreement. We were hoping that the movie would be able to speak for itself, but it is nice to be out and be forward with it and be with a company like A24 who can make this agreement that all these giant massive tech overlords can’t seem to make. It’s just so great for us and we’re so happy to be able to promote and get the word out about this rinky little movie.

SHARP: The joy of these agreements they’re giving out, for those of us in strong solidarity with this union movement, is that they show that it’s possible to make the deal that the union is asking for and shocking that the companies that are doing it are these smaller companies that are making truly independent, wild and crazy stuff. That’s the ethos of this film. No company but this one would have made it and I think that sort of connected it in a way.

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Zach McKenzie

Zachary McKenzie is a marketing professional and freelance writer in Houston, TX. He received his bachelor's degree from The University of Texas at Austin in 2014 and has lived in Houston since. Zachary is a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters and enjoys spending his free time with friends, exploring the richness and diversity of Houston.
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