Years before he was king of the 3-inch inseam, Milo Ventimiglia played a gay teen in this ’90s short film

Years before he was king of the 3-inch inseam, Milo Ventimiglia played a gay teen in this ’90s short film

You are currently viewing Years before he was king of the 3-inch inseam, Milo Ventimiglia played a gay teen in this ’90s short film
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These days, This Is Us and Gilmore Girls star Milo Ventimiglia is recognized as one of the forefathers of the short-shorts movement, rocking a three-inch inseam in a 2021 paparazzi photo that forever changing the face thigh of casual menswear.

But nearly three decades ago, the actor got his start in a short of a different kind—and a gay one at that!

This past weekend at the 30th Annual Independent Spirit Awards, Ventimiglia (who was on hand to present the Best Documentary award) hit the red carpet where he spoke with Variety and reflected on the “most indie” project he had ever worked on.

His answer? The 1996 short film “Must Be The Music,” where he played a gay teen going out for a night on the town. Written and directed by Nickolas Perry, the short happens to be his second ever credited screen role—after playing an unnamed party guest in an episode of The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air.

Image Credit: ‘Boys Life 2: Must Be The Music,’ Strand Releasing

“I played a gay teenager who is going out with his friends, meets a guy but his buddy’s best friend is already kind of sweet on that guy,” Ventimiglia recalled to Variety. “Then he ends up giving them a ride home and he gets the guys number. It was a very sweet story.”

It was sweet, and “Must Be The Music” doesn’t really get any more complicated than that. Ventimiglia’s Jason is our main character and narrator, the designated driver for his group of friends on a gay night out in Los Angeles. Another guy at the club catches his eye, but then Jason finds himself in an awkward position when his friend asks him for a ride home—with his crush.

You can watch the short in full on Vimeo:

At just 19, one might think Ventimiglia’s team might’ve cautioned him away from taking on a role in an LGBTQ+ project, lest he pigeonhole himself or his career (the ’90s were a different time!), but the star said he received nothing but support.

“That’s the great thing about being an actor,” he continued. “You play a lot of different roles. You represent a lot of roles. You represent a lot of stories. There’s no fear in that. But if you are afraid of it, just do it. Yeah, it was a great role. Nick Perry, the director, wrote a great script.”

After premiering at the Sundance Film Festival, “Must Be The Music” was released as part of Boys Life 2, Strand Releasing’s short film anthology focused on gay stories and filmmakers (others in that collection include a short from 54 director Mark Christopher, and one starring a young Seth Green).

The short soon caught the attention of indie impresario Gus Van Sant (My Own Private Idaho, To Die For), who would go on to produce Perry’s next project, the feature film Speedway Junky. In that crime drama, Bring It On‘s Jesse Bradford plays a wannabe stock car racer who moves to Las Vegas and falls in with a crowd of hustlers, including the gay Eric (Jordan Brower) who’s in love with him.

Speedway Junky‘s eclectic cast also features Home Improvement‘s Jonathan Taylor Thomas as a bisexual hustler, Splash‘s Daryl Hannah as their den mother, Saved By The Bell‘s Tiffani Thiessen, rapper Warren G, and—yup!—Ventimiglia, in his first real feature film role.

(By the way: A few years later, he’d play gay once again in Wes Craven’s werewolf horror Cursed, co-starring as a closeted high school wrestler who tires to make a move on Jesse Eisenberg.)

Honestly, it’s pretty cool that one of Hollywood’s hunkiest hunks got his start in independent queer cinema. Even if he is married to a woman (Victoria’s Secret model Jarah Mariano) now, we’re glad he doesn’t appear to be ashamed of his so-called “gay-for-pay” past.

And it’s not like Ventimiglia’s stopped delivering for his gay fans—not as long as he’s wearing those short-shorts!

Speedway Junky is currently streaming on Here TV and Tubi, and is available for digital rental on Amazon Prime Video.


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