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Reader Spotlight: Troy Hopper

We're getting to know the Film Experience community with reader spotlights once or twice a week. This may take awhile! Today we're talking to Troy from Maryland.

What's your first movie memory?

My first movie memory is seeing Annie in the theater with my mother, aunt, and cousin. I recall being thoroughly drawn in as everyone's favorite redhead clings to Punjab for dear life toward the climax of the film. I also have a vivid recollection of viewing Pinocchio when it was re-released in the early 1980s. I guess that makes me one of your elder readers.

Aw, we have readers of all ages. It's just the younger readers seem way less shy. When did you start reading TFE?

Oscar race 2001 after a link from Sasha Stone's site. As someone who was not a fan of A Beautiful Mind, I was impressed by your incisive dissection of the movie's glaring flaws. My continued reading of your blog showed me someone whose love, passion, and knowledge of all facets of cinema quickly became contagious.

You have a goddaughter, right? How do you plan to educate her cinematically.

My oldest is nearly seventeen, so unfortunately, my time has passed with him. As for my two goddaughters, if they learn nothing else from me, they will at least be taught that the medium is too broad in scope for them to be myopic in their taste. They will also realize that Tyler Perry is an enemy whose total annihilation is essential for the progression of blacks in film.

LOL. Okay, three favorite directors?

Aw, man! I was hoping to get the actresses. Ha. With the one-two-three punch of The Fountain, The Wrestler, and Black Swan Darren Aronofsky unquestionably earns a place on that list. Too much of Spike Lee's filmography is indellibly imprinted in my mind for him not to be included as well. I also wish that Jonathan Demme worked a great deal more, especially considering how adept he is across genres.

If Troy ran Hollywood, they'd all get more work!

If you ran Hollywood what would you greenlight?

Because of my background in musical theatre, the intial order of business would be the production of more musicals with the stipulation that Rob Marshall, Adam Shankman, and Bill Condon have absolutely nothing to do with them. In addition, I would grant Angela Bassett approval for any project of her choosing, provided it would give her a chance at another meaty starring role. Any talented auteur hoping to get his or her film made would have to find quality parts for Sharika Epps, Nicole Beharie, and/or Christina Hendricks. Finally, there would be a mandate for intelligent, adult thrillers and horrors that harken back to the time when studios didn't merely perceive them as an easy, relatively cheap way to make a quick buck.

Does "background in musical theatre" mean "actor" and if so, any dream roles?

I am indeed an actor-singer trying to finally break free from his day job. I've already taken on so many good roles -- Jimmy Early in "Dreamgirls," Mitch Mahoney in "Spelling Bee," Benny in "RENT," Belize in "Angels in America: Perestroika" -- that it's difficult to say what I would like to do next. I'd love to tackle something else non-musical, maybe an August Wilson piece, and I wish there were a role in "August: Osage County" for me.

Troy and Ron Giddings performing "I Don't Do That Anymore" this past November

!!! Your voice is so good. Okay, final question. You live in Maryland which begs the question: what's your favorite John Waters movie?

I have honestly never seen a single John Waters movie in its entirety. Though the man himself is quite the character, his aesthetic as a filmmaker has never truly appealed to me. And with that revelation I will probably be banished from Charm City forever!

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Reader Comments (13)

You have to see Serial Mom. Kathleen Turner literally kills. You will never look at the movie Annie the same way again.

May 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

This was my favorite Reader Spotlight so far. Including my own. Intelligent words good sir!

May 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCory Rivard

Great interview. Enjoyed it immensely. And I agree about Serial Mom.

May 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

See the original Hairspray first. The Pfeiffer cast musical remake will do you no favors.

May 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

A fan of Jonathan Demme is a friend of mine.

But you need to watch John Waters, preferably from palatable but severe Female Trouble (because it is his best work) and move down to Polyester then move to Serial Mom and then get to Hairspray and Crybaby for lighter fare.

'Because of my background in musical theatre, the intial order of business would be the production of more musicals with the stipulation that Rob Marshall, Adam Shankman, and Bill Condon have absolutely nothing to do with them."


Jonathan Demme **should** be directing musicals now that I think of it. The soundtracks and employment of music in his movies is one of his great gifts. To me he and Scorsese did it first before Tarantino really made it a huge thing.

Also the hot rumor was that Spike Lee is trying to do Porgy & Bess after seeing the Diane Paulus revival. He tried for years to get rights for Rent.

May 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

Wow!!!!! Troy is very handsome indeed! Lovely interview, one of the best so far.

May 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

Thanks for the wonderful feedback, everyone!

Re: John Waters -- Perhaps revisiting his output now that I'm older and a bit more wordly and open-minded a film lover would be a good idea.

3rtful -- I saw the 2007 musical version in the theater and did not hate it, all things considered.

CMG -- I don't know why Hollywood continues to ghetto-ize the genre by entrusting the direction primarily to stage directors and choreographers. By denying filmmakers of various ilks their chances at making musicals, we really deprive moviegoers of something potentially special.

May 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

Troy -- yay. i love it when reader spotlights comment from their own spotlight. thanks for doing this. I dont hear Nicole Beharie's name every day so I was happy you mentioned her. She was fun in person when I met her at the "Shame" party a couple of years back.

May 3, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

You've never seen Hairspray???! One of my favs. So good. I like the musical, but the original is my shit. Also, Crybaby is great too. Haven't seen any other John Waters pictures though.

May 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

Nathaniel -- I found Beharie to be such a warm, natural presence in "Shame" that I knew I wanted to see more of her.

Philip H. -- I've seen bits and pieces of most of his movies, including "Hairspray," but not any from start to finish.

May 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

i love a reader who comes with his own talent reel - those are some serious pipes

"I guess that makes me one of your elder readers."

yet your earliest memories are from the early 80s? if anyone wants me, i'll be over here feeding my pet dinosaur...

May 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterpar3182

Am I the the reader with the least exciting life? That's a fine résumé.
I support the Nicole Beharie and Christina Hendricks movement!

May 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJames T

Troy H- Excellent point. Not to mention a lot of those guys are living in the ghost of Bob Fosse, especially Marshall. I am surprised that Nichols and Mendes have never done or have been asked as far as I know to direct a movie musical despite being well-versed in what works on stage versus what works on camera. I brought his name up as a guy who should really be directing Into the Woods but I'll say it again, Joe Wright really should be directing these major movie musicals. Let's imagine what his Les Miz could have looked like.

May 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

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