Behind the ropes - Brooklyn Paper

Behind the ropes

World on a string (bikini): Bushwick actor Lucas Akoskin stars as powerful gatekeeper Trevor W in the new film “The Doorman.”
Giganitc Pictures / Robert Curran

On Monday night, Trevor W. was the talk of the party. The tall, attractive socialite, of ambiguous sexual orientation and a lurid fashion sense, was sought after by Manhattan nightlife queen Amy Sacco, actor-model Fabrizio Brienza, “Lipstick Jungle’s” Lindsay Price, and members of Kulu and the Brazilian Girls.

But Trevor W. isn’t real.

He’s the star of Wayne Price’s fictional documentary, “The Doorman,” which traces the success and subsequent fall of a shallow, high-flying doorman for New York City’s hottest clubs.

The film, which opened Friday in Manhattan theaters, was shot on location at clubs in Manhattan, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and features cameos by many boldfaced names, like legendary filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich (“The Last Picture Show”), producer Brian Devine (“Flannel Pajamas”), “Queer Eye” host Thom Filicia, Miss Universe (er, 2001) Denise Quinones, and many others.

The film is part-“Borat,” part-“Zoolander,” as it follows its hapless hero through the star-studded, status-hungry New York nightlife scene.

While “The Doorman” is meant to be a satire, the world that it portrays isn’t that far off the mark.

“New York City represents a place that people go to. Just getting behind the velvet rope, just being a part of the scene, there’s something about it that everyone wants to be part of,” said Price, 31, a Bushwick resident.

Price came up with the idea of “The Doorman” with his roommate Lucas Akoskin, who plays the infamous Trevor W. in the film.

The two were working on “a more serious” film about the political situation of Akoskin’s native Argentina and wrote the script for “The Doorman” “in one afternoon, just to amuse ourselves,” recalled Price.

The first-time filmmaker said they liked the idea that the key to power could be held by a superficial, narcissistic social climber who is “just so innocent when he’s trying to be on top of his game that he’s sort of endearing.”

By making a film about the absurdities of New York nightlife, they also wanted to speak more generally about the aura of power and exclusivity that surrounds our cultural elite.

“It’s not a movie about the club scene,” Price said. “It’s about a gatekeeper, about the person who barred your entrance from somewhere you want to be.

“Everyone knows the feeling of being told ‘no,’ or being judged by what you’re wearing by some idiot who’s in a position of power,” Price added, with enough vehemence to suggest that he knows that feeling all too well.

Price grew up in Long Island, and said that like other teenagers in the ’burbs, he was “always fascinated by the city,” and went to Manhattan on weekends to try to gain entrance to concerts, clubs and parties.

He learned early on that “quick-talking and name-dropping” were the only ways to get where he wanted to go, and said that those experiences shaped his vision for the film.

But these days, neither Price nor Akoskin aspires to be part of the New York club scene.

“Honestly, I don’t go out to clubs all that much,” Price admitted. “I go to really low-key bars or go see music.”

In Brooklyn, Price said he likes Williamsburg’s Marlow & Sons, Diner and Union Pool, and that Greenpoint’s Studio B is about the closest he gets to a real club.

“There’s more of a laid-back mentality to Brooklyn,” Price said, which is why his film is set in Manhattan instead.

“I would have loved to film at a Brooklyn club, but there are not that many that have a doorman or even a concept of one,” he said. “It’s sort of against what Brooklyn is. People in Brooklyn like that it isn’t Manhattan.”

And even though the film shows more of the Manhattan side of New York City, he expects that Brooklynites will appreciate it, too.

“People in Brooklyn, especially, tend to be more critical and more thinking people, so I think they’ll have a great time,” said Price. “I hope that people will take the time to cross the river and go see [‘The Doorman’], because I really think they’ll enjoy it.”

On Monday in Manhattan, Bushwick writer-director Wayne Price (left) greets photographers at the New York premiere of his comedy with actor-model Fabrizio Brienza.
The Brooklyn Paper / Jeff Bachner

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