Last week I sat down in a busy, cramped, and slightly stinky cupcake shop just west of Times Square to chat with Matthew Wilkas, the star of the new festival hit Gayby. In the film, Matt plays Matt, a gay comic book store employee who decides to have a baby with his longtime best friend Jenn (Jenn Harris) … the old-fashioned way. Wilkas is currently starring in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark as Flash Thompson, so time was short and cupcakes were definitely off the menu.
AfterElton: Want to grab anything to eat?
Matthew Wilkas: No, I’m fine, thanks. I’ve actually gotten in the bad habit of eating AFTER the show now.
AE: Why is that a bad habit?
MW: I guess because it’s so late, it’s a weird time to eat.
AE: Ah. If you eat before the show does that not end well?
MW: If I were to go on for Peter Parker I definitely wouldn’t eat before the show, for sure. But otherwise I COULD eat before the show, but my routine is just so off – my lunches are later, so I’m just not hungry.
AE: How long have you been in the show?
MW: For nine months.
AE: You play Flash Thompson.
AE: And I’m sure you know that Joe Manganiello played Flash Thompson in the first movie. Who would win in an arm-wrestling match, if, as Flashes, you had to throw down?
MW: He would definitely win. My Flash is all show. Inside, he’s just as terrified as Peter Parker is, probably. He’s just like a lot of bullies – he’s just making up for all of his insecurities by being unreasonably cruel to the little kids. He’s also, historically speaking, Spider-Man’s biggest fan. He doesn’t realize that Peter Parker is Spider-Man.
Jenn Harris and Matthew Wilkas in Gayby
AE: Let’s talk about Gayby, since we’re here. You were in the short that the feature grew out of, and you and Jenn have known each other for a while.
MW: We went to college together. We’ve know each other since we were 18.
AE: So how much of you two inspired the characters?
MW: I think situationally it has nothing to do with us, but [writer/director Jonathan Lisecki] did write it for us after realizing that we would be playing the parts – so I guess he probably could imagine us playing the parts and saying the lines – the way he wrote it, I didn’t feel awkward saying any of the lines. There was a natural connection to the character.
AE: What’s the biggest similarity between Matt the character and Matthew the actor?
MW: We’re both artistic and sensitive and shy in certain circumstances – maybe unexpectedly insecure.
AE: Are you a comic book fan?
MW: No. That all came from Jonny – he is a comic lover.
AE: And now you’re on Broadway in a musical comic book.
MW: It’s funny because there are lines in the film that I had to say about Spider-Man where I had no idea what I was talking about – but I watch the film now, and I know exactly what I’m talking about.