‘At school, I was punished for blasphemy': So So Gay talks with The Bloody Mary Show’s Darren Chadwick-Hussein
When we first heard about the Bloody Mary Show we became interested to hear more about the writer behind it. With that in mind went got in touch with the man himself, Darren Chadwick-Hussein, so he could tell us a little bit more about himself and how he came up with the idea for Bloody Mary, and her dark entourage of spectral friends.
‘It all started with an episode of sleep paralysis. It is a terrifying experience that usually features hallucinations, the ‘Old Hag’ syndrome. In order to deal with the experience I tried to humanise what I had seen and eventually, through twelve months of re-writes, it became the character of Viscera.’
We were more than a little intrigued – after all, it takes a great deal of talent and determination to create something as in-depth and rich as Mary. We simply had to know where it all began.
‘At school, I was punished for blasphemy for a bit of fiction I wrote. It was hardly The Love That Dares to Speak Its Name, seeing as I was only eight. That event showed me the command of words and their ability to get a reaction’. From these early sacrilegious beginnings, Darren went further and found his feet in the tempestuous waters that are a writer’s early career.
Here at So So Gay, we love to hear stories about how people start out and become the people they were born to be. With this in mind we wanted to take Darren from his early writing career and see how things developed from there.
‘I started off writing a Riot Grrl fanzine when I was eighteen, called Rampaging Teenage Perverts. It was the early nineties, the time of FF magazine, we didn’t have an equal age of consent and everyone was angry. I tried to channel that anger into comedy. I then graduated to writing for Boyz, for my sins. Don’t bother pointing out the irony there. During that time I was in an abusive relationship, so I fled to America where I ended up reviewing gay porn under the name Froufrou A Gogo, Chichi La Rue’s bitter untalented sister. The reviews were phenomenally popular because I was a real c**t. But after four years it wore away at my soul.’
‘Having to write five hundred words about a plastic vibrating vagina modeled on the latest slut de jour and make it different to the last five hundred words I’d just typed about an identical one based on yesterday’s starlet was the final straw. I typed ‘You can fit twenty-five pencils into the Jessica Drake vibrating snatch. I suspect the same is true in real life’ hit submit and jumped on a plane back to England. I faced my demons, sorted myself out and went back to college to do an MA in Screenwriting.’
Once we recovered from the talk of the vibrating vagina, we were curious about how being a gay man affected his writing, and if his characters ever went though journeys similar to his own.
‘I don’t necessarily subscribe to the Hero/Heroine Journeys as two distinct theories model. Both Ellen Ripley and Buffy Summers do pretty well without cocks. Growing up as an outsider did make me interested in alternative societies – and develop a hideous amount of empathy – though.’
A little bird us that Darren actually had the opportunity to work with his husband while he was directing the Bloody Mary Show – talk about keeping it all in the family! So what was it like to work with your partner on the same project? Was it a successful marriage of minds, or a match made in hell?
‘Tim came along in post-production and gave it a much-needed shot-in-the-arm, as I’d pretty much burnt myself out. Writing was something I was comfortable with; producing was totally different and the steepest learning curve I’ve ever experienced. It is great that I’m married to someone who can pull me back when I’ve fallen off the edge. We all need someone like that. I’m glad I found mine.’
A few weeks ago we had a cosy chat with Craig Daniel Adams, a young gay actor who worked on the show with Darren and his husband. We could not help but be interested to hear what it was like to work with him as well.
‘Craig is just one of the amazing actors we had on-board. He plays Chris, the human, who battles his addictions in the later episodes. Being a substance abuse survivor myself, I felt particularly close to what he goes through. We’ve bonded and he has more-or-less become family. He’s gorgeous but I have zero sexual-attraction towards him. Sorry Craig.’
Considering the large build up of fans for Bloody Mary and her dark adventures, we were wondering if Darren might have any other projects planned.
‘Definitely a second series for Bloody Mary. There are many more stories for these characters to tell. Just don’t let my husband know yet.’
‘The good thing about a webseries is that it is out there and can slowly build up momentum. The reaction from people in the States has been amazing and I’ve made some great new friends. Everyone from eleven-year-old girls who call themselves Raven, to bisexual teenagers who want to make their own shows, encouraged by the celebration of diversity in my own series, to fabulous forty-something women who love the soap opera elements. Social media plays a massive role for the generations that have come since my own angry teenage years where I felt utterly alone. I’ll never have kids of my own, so I’m happy I’m inspiring them.’
You can find the second season of The Bloody Mary Show here.