Sneak Peek: André De Shields Stars in Charles Busch and Carl Andress’ New Film THE SIXTH REEL

André De Shields is starring as Gavin Plimsoll in the forthcoming comedy film The Sixth Reel, co-written and co-directed by actor, author and drag legend Charles Busch and acclaimed American director Carl Andress. The film follows a stalwart and eccentric group of film lovers, collectors and historians devoted to the rescue and preservation of lost films and discarded Hollywood artifacts.

André De Shields as Gavin Plimsoll in “The Sixth Reel”

Filming took place during the darkest days of the COVID pandemic on sound stages in Upstate New York and on the streets of the Village. Everyone involved felt privileged to escape the gloom and work on a project that celebrates movies, movie lovers and New York City. The Sixth Reel also stars Charles Busch, Julie Halston and Patrick Page, with Tim Daly, Margaret Cho, Richard Bekins, Dee Hoty, John Ellison Conlee, Doug Plaut, Heather MacRae, Cady Huffman, T. Oliver Reid and Ashley Austin Morris.

André De Shields, Richard Bekins, Dee Hoty in “The Sixth Reel”.

Of the film/filming, Busch and Andress shared, “We’re delighted that such an incredible group of talented cast and crew have joined forces to bring this screwball caper comedy to life. This is how it must have felt on the studio lots back in the 1930s, when filming on sound stages was the norm. With everything going on in the world right now, we look forward to offering the viewing public a few laughs. We can’t wait to share The Sixth Reel with you.”

Carl Andress and Charles Busch. Photo by Lia Chang

Busch and Andress have a long and celebrated partnership, creating acclaimed comedies Off-Broadway. Their theater collaborations, authored by and starring Busch and directed by Andress, include The Divine Sister, The Tribute Artist and The Confession of Lily Dare. The pair also collaborated on the film A Very Serious Person, which won an honorable mention at the Tribeca Film Festival.

The Sixth Reel is produced by Cranium Entertainment (founded by the late Ash Christian) and Derby City Productions. The film’s Producers are Alex Peace-Power and Jamie Buckner, with Charles Busch and Carl Andress Executive Producing.

Check out the film posters below.

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields recently received the 2021 John Willis Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. De Shields was the triple-crown winner of the 2019 award season, garnering Tony, Outer Critics Circle, and Drama Desk Awards for his role as universally praised role as the messenger to the gods, Hermes, in Hadestown. The Actors’ Equity Foundation followed suit with the Richard Seff Award, honoring veteran stage actors’ best supporting performances of the year. New York Senator Brad Hoylman presented Mr. De Shields with a Senate Proclamation on Thursday, April 8th, 2021 proclaiming the day “André De Shields Appreciation Day”. The surprise proclamation was arranged by producer Tom D’Angora to honor the extensive charity work and activism, along with the public appearances, Mr. De Shields has done for the community this year.

In 2020, Mr. De Shields received the 2020 Grammy Award for Musical Theater Album for Hadestown, the 2020 AUDELCO for Lifetime Achievement, an honorary Doctor of Arts Degree from Boston Conservatory at Berklee and the 2020 Red Bull Theater Matador Award for Excellence in Classical Theater. In 2019, he received the 2019 Project1Voice Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2019 SAGE Joyce Warshow Lifetime Achievement Award, The York Theatre Company’s 2019 Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre, and was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. He received the Key to the City of Baltimore from Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young in August, 2019. Prior to his Tony Award win, Mr. De Shields was best known for his show-stopping performances in four legendary Broadway productions: The WizAin’t Misbehavin’ (Emmy Award), Play On! (Tony Nomination), and The Full Monty (Tony Nomination).

In a career spanning fifty one years, he has distinguished himself as an unparalleled actor, director, and educator, receiving in 2018 the 8th Annual Off Broadway Alliance Legend Award, and the 33rd Annual Bob Harrington Life Achievement Bistro Award. Among his other accolades are the 2009 National Black Theatre Festival’s Living Legend Award and the 2007 Village Voice Obie Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance. His film and TV roles include Keys, who first appeared in a 2014 episode of “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.” He has also appeared on “Law and Order” twice, as Dr. Elvin Simmonds (Custody,1996) and Mr. Miller (Cost of Capital,2006); Dale Rustin on NBC’s “New Amsterdam”; Anton Ego in Ratatouille: The TikTok Tok Musical, the Algebra Tutor in “John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch”  on Netflix; Chubby in “Katy Keene” on the CW; and Wyndham on “Almost Family.” He can be heard on the podcasts Live From Mount Olympus as Hermes and One Speckled Hen. He can next be seen as Gavin Plimsoll in Charles Busch’s  new film, The Sixth Reel. De Shields is a proud member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, and SDC.

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.

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