Sometimes there’s more to porn than bats and balls. In TitanMen’s new baseball-themed movie “OUT!” studio exclusive performer Jesse Jackman turns the adult film mirror on real life by addressing the complex and timely issue of coming out in professional sports. Seeking to trace a genuine historic and emotional arc, TitanMen asked Jackman to co-write the film’s screenplay in order to draw on his personal experience as a high school and collegiate athlete who struggled to reconcile his attraction to men while participating in the masculine arena of team sports. In addition to scripting and starring in the film, Jackman recently recorded an emotional appeal to closeted athletes called “It Takes Balls” that was posted on the film’s companion website OutBaseball.com.
“I needed a movie like ‘OUT!’ when I was trying to confront my demons in the locker room twenty years ago,” says Jackman. “If I had seen this film when I was in college, it might have helped me accept myself then as the proud gay athlete I have since become. I hope ‘OUT!’ acts as that catalyst for someone today.”
“OUT!” tells the story of baseball hall-of-famer A.J. Benson (Jackman) who decides to come out during a live television interview, hosted by sportscaster Jim Weaver (TitanMen exclusive Dallas Steele). Production began in July of 2015 with TitanMen director Jasun Mark at the helm. The film’s cast features five TitanMen exclusive performers (Jackman, Steele, Nick Prescott, Diesel Washington, and Eric Nero), joined by industry veteran Luke Adams and Jesse’s real-life fiancé Dirk Caber. “OUT!” was released online at TitanMen.com on March 23, 2016 during the height of baseball’s spring training season.
Jackman’s commitment to the story is evident in the plot-centric landmark interview he penned for the film: the segment is a loosely-scripted recounting of his personal experience of coming out at a time when few dared to consider it, let alone do it. There are various moments when Jackman’s genuine emotion rises to the surface. Steele’s role as a celebrity news anchor also mirrors reality, as he enjoyed a 20 year career as an Emmy-nominated newscaster prior to becoming a Titan contract star last year.
In the accompanying “It Takes Balls” video, Jackman relates his experiences as a once-closeted athlete in the world of team sports. He hopes that his personal story will inspire other LGBTQ athletes to find courage within themselves, and to seek out gay and gay-friendly peers who share the same competitive spirit.
“When I was growing up, I never really fit in,” says Jackman in the three-minute video. “I liked sports, but I never felt like I could play them and be comfortable in my own skin… but when I was in my early 20s I found a gay ice hockey league. The level of companionship and camaraderie was just absolutely remarkable.”
Jackman, who has also played in gay rugby and flag football leagues, goes on to encourage gay and lesbian athletes to join LGBT-friendly clubs in their area.
“There’s hope out there,” Jackman concludes. “You don’t have to be good, as long as you’re out there having fun. It changed my life and it’ll change yours.”
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