Requests trickle in for bit parts, but nothing yet is big enough to launch his career. The odds are stacked against him more so than for other young actors trying to make it in Hollywood. He’s got the blonde hair, the great smile and the talent. But what he doesn’t have is a willingness to audition for every role that comes along.
“I won’t play gay roles unless there’s some kind of redemption (theme) in them,” he said. No Queer Eye for the Straight Guy for this fellow. And he also draws the line at nudity. Why?
“I wouldn’t feel comfortable sitting in a room watching people have sex, so why would I feel comfortable sitting in front of TV watching it?” he queries.
David Anderson is not your typical Hollywood actor.
His great grandfather was George Irving, who starred in films alongside Norma Shearer, Clark Gable, Shirley Temple, the Marx Brothers and Gary Cooper. Perhaps Irving’s most notable performance was his role as Alexander Peabody in the 1938 Cary Grant/Katherine Hepburn hit “Bringing Up Baby.”
Irving’s family was full of Broadway actors, actresses and producers. So it didn’t come as a surprise when his great grandson, David Anderson, loaded up his truck, left his Champlin, Minnesota home and headed to L.A. to pursue a career in acting. It was in his blood.
David had wanted to act ever since he was a kid, but thought it was too impractical so he settled on business in college as a major. But all that changed in 1998. As a self-professed “adrenaline junkie,” David and a friend swam 9 1/2 miles out to an oil rig in Santa Barbara. His friend was suffering from hypothermia so David swam 2 1/2 miles out to a ship to get help. He led them to his friend who, miraculously, was still alive and saved his life.
“The story blew up in the media,” recalled David, and “Warren Miller wanted to film it.” David acted out his own part and before he realized it, the acting bug had bit.
With a little money in his pocket, he moved to California in 2001, living at first with two random guys he met at Long Beach and finding a job waiting tables at the Olive Garden.
“I had no idea what to do,” he recalled. “There’s no one way to make it in Hollywood. I bought a lot of books on Hollywood and started reading whatever I could.”
He had a picture made and got a manager, hoping to pick up an agent along the way. And then the auditions came, which is when he had a talk with his manager about the roles he would and wouldn’t do.
“I’ve been called in for so many sexual gay roles that I do not want to play,” he admits. “I’m so tired of feeling I have to do a sexual favor to get a role in a piece.”
David has turned down 20 auditions for roles he was highly favored to win in just the two years he’s lived in L.A.
Raised in a close family with parents that “are still married and still full of love,” David chose long ago to remain abstinent until he got married. But he learned to embrace people where they are and not judge them, a quality that has won him the most success among his peers.
“I don’t come blasting through the door yelling, ‘I’m abstinent. I’m against homosexuality.’ I think that’s why my friends hang out with me,” said the 24-year-old, noting that half of them are gay.
Currently, he’s working on a film with a friend who is a homosexual. “He’s fascinated by my abstinence and he said he’s tried so many things that he’s tired of sex,” said David. “He wants to make a movie about abstinence.”
The two often watch old black and white movies together where “they didn’t have to have sex to recapture what’s missing.”
To some, David stands out like a sore thumb like his speech coach that said, “Abstinence? What is that? Good luck with that! Why would you want to do that? Is that some kind of program or something?”
And then there are the actors and actresses, also trying to make their big break, who really don’t want to do nude scenes but aren’t willing to lose their paycheck over it. David just finished a TV pilot, but then realized the producer wanted to add some nude scenes. He protested, saying he wouldn’t be a part of the project if the scenes were put in. The producer finally agreed, prompting other cast members to let out a sigh of relief. They didn’t want the scenes included either but weren’t about to say anything.
In a group of actors, David often gets laughed at when the subject of abstinence comes up. But, one or two actors will seek David out afterward to find out more about the decision he’s made and tearfully tell him their experiences with much regret.
“You get desensitized,” he said. “I met people that can have sex (every) night of the week and I think they have nothing left to give. The most sexually bored people that I’ve met are the ones that are having sex the most. They sleep with 50 partners it becomes this normal thing.”
But David is convinced that Hollywood is ready for the message of abstinence.
“I know that for a fact,” he said. “Everyone I bring it up to, they want to hear this message.”
So he’s producing his own movies and starring in them. Right now he’s working on a movie about a guy who marries a prostitute. He has no idea if it will ever get made but is content to take it one step at a time. He doesn’t want to be pegged as the abstinence guy or the Christian guy.
“There’s more to me than abstinence,” he said matter-of-factly. “I want to make decent secular movies that teach the Christian message.”
Talk of films such as “Lord of the Rings” and “Braveheart” and David’s eyes light up.
“What better way to speak to people? Movies can speak to people’s hearts. I can speak to people’s minds but what better way to speak to people than in a dark movie theater where no one reads their thoughts?”
“I really care about Hollywood. I want it to change,” he said. “I don’t care about the fame (but) I realize that fame is an important tool to make a difference.”