Craig Chester was born in West Covina, California, the son of Cecil, lead singer in the rock band “Whiskey” and Linda, a homemaker. He moved with his family to Carrollton, Texas at the age of twelve when his father accepted a corporate job with Nestlé. At age fifteen, Chester was diagnosed with the congenital facial deformity Long Face Syndrome. At eighteen, Chester had multiple operations to rebuild his face. Shortly thereafter, he moved to New York City in 1985, to study acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Following graduation, he performed in various stage productions in New York, including a play written by Joanne Woodward who, upon noticing his naturalistic acting style, encouraged Chester to pursue a career in film.
Chester’s acting debut was in the feature film Swoon (1992) a contemporary re-telling of the infamous Leopold & Loeb murder of Bobby Franks which earned Chester an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Actor. Janet Maslin of The New York Times described the film as “dazzling”. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone described Swoon as “a great film...haunting and visionary”. Chester went on to act in a string of critically acclaimed independent films. He was openly gay from the inception of his career, rare at the time.
As a result, St. Martin’s Press approached Chester to write about his life and experiences. His memoir Why the Long Face?: the Adventures of a Truly Independent Actor was published in 2003 which told the story of his unlikely trajectory from born-again teen with long face syndrome, to his facial reconstruction and career in Hollywood. In 2009, Showtime optioned the book with Chester set to adapt it into a television pilot with Don Roos, Dan Bucatinsky and Lisa Kudrow as producers.
Publisher’s Weekly described “Why The Long Face” as “witty, absorbing” with Chester an “engaging storyteller with a fresh voice”. Kirkus Reviews described Chester’s memoir as an “intriguing midpoint autobiography sure to rouse curiosity about what the next half has in store.”
Chester transitioned into screenwriting with Adam & Steve, which he also directed and starred in with Parker Posey, Chris Kattan and Malcolm Gets. The film was released on April 24, 2005.
Writing for The Village Voice, Melissa Levine described writer-director Chester’s debut as “truly enjoyable” while Ronnie Scheib of Variety praised his performance, “Chester’s Adam, effortlessly able to slide from bathos to pathos and back again with none of the smarmy schmaltz of sitcom humanism, is a marvel of nuanced comic timing.” Chuck Wilson, writing for LA Weekly described the film as “something certain to make John Waters cackle with glee.” Adam & Steve has since developed a cult following.
Since adapting his book for Showtime, Chester has been writing for television. He is currently developing a series with Ryan Seacrest for E!. Chester is also developing a film about his experiences with actor Montgomery Clift, based on a true story he told at The “Moth”.
Adam & Steve: A Novel by Craig Chester
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Alyson Books; First Edition edition (June 1, 2005)
Amazon: Adam & Steve: A Novel
Adam and Steve met in the 1980s, a time of big hair and bad drugs. Their initial encounter didn't go well, so it's just as well they don't remember. But now they meet again, both a little older although not much smarter-and with a lot more baggage. Adam and Steve follows the trajectory of a relationship that started like a joke and just kept getting funnier. With the help of their friends, formerly obese stand-up comic Rhonda and straight-guy ladies man Michael, Adam and Steve struggle to make love work in the face of almost overwhelming obstacles, including a dog with an eating disorder, accident-prone parents, roving homophobes and the nagging feeling they've met before. Actor Craig Chester has adapted his own screenplay for the film of the same name.
More Spotlights at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Lists/Gay Novels
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