"TWO: The Story of Roman and Nyro" documents songwriter's path to a modern family: "At first, we were doing it so we could show other gay couples that it is possible, and how we did it. Then, it became a much bigger movie"
"Livin' On A Prayer," "Dude (Looks Like A Lady)" and "Just Like Jesse James" -- the lyrics of Desmond Child have touched a generation of music fans. Now, the world-renowned tunesmith is aiming for a higher purpose.
"TWO: The Story of Roman and Nyro," documents the 12-year journey of Child and his lifelong partner Curtis Shaw as they meet and connect with Angela Whittaker, the woman who would carry their twin sons, Roman and Nyro, into the world.
Child told Billboard that the film -- which premieres tonight in Nashville, is as close to home as it gets.
"My partner and I have been together for twenty-four years. We decided at one point that it was time to start a family. We did the research and found out we could have our own biological children. When people say that marriage rights should be denied because gay people can't procreate, that's not true."
Child says the film puts their story on display for others to see – and possibly gain hope from. "What we did, was to document from the beginning, the way we created our family. At first, we were doing it so we could show other gay couples that it is possible, and how we did it. Then, it became a much bigger movie – because it has been twelve years in the making. Our little embryos are now talking and speaking for themselves. They have turned out to be great kids and very articulate."
The film spotlights the family from pre-conception through the boys' first ten years, and makes an important document for this country, says its director.
"This film couldn't come at a more important moment in our nation's history when hearts and minds are fractured and debate rages over equality," stated Heather Winters, director of TWO. "I'm honored that Desmond and Curtis trusted me to tell their story and invited me into their lives in such an intimate and poignant way."
Child – who has penned hits for music's biggest superstars, says the way the film was created over time, it didn't feel like an invasion of privacy. "The cameras weren't always on. On certain occasions, we would invite cameras in, and we would have them there for a day or two, so you kind of forget they are there. Then, two days later, we would do it again," he said, adding that there the film also includes several life milestones. "In the meantime, a lot of things happened – including the passing away of some of the grandparents."
"TWO" comes along at a pivotal time, according to Child. "I think that we are at a turning point in America. Right now, we are the last group that doesn't have full human rights – the rights of citizenship. We work jobs, pay our taxes, and raise our families. It's time that people get over whatever their problems are with us, and embrace them in the same way that people got over a black man and a white women marrying. That took a long time. It's important for all Americans to understand that their own rights are protected by protecting our rights. Maybe somewhere along the way, some group will decide ‘We don't like that group anymore, so we think we will stop them from voting or having rights, or this and that. That's tyranny – not what America is all about."
Following the Nashville debut tonight, the film will be spotlighted in Miami, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. Not surprisingly, there is a musical tie to the film.
"There was a beautiful song written for our film by Levi Hummon, his dad Marcus Hummon, and Andrew Dorff called ‘Make It Love,' and that is the theme song for the movie. We're hoping to get a soundtrack release, and have that come out as a single," says Child.
At the end of the day, Child simply hopes that "TWO" sparks change – for the sake of future generations. "Our children deserve the same rights of all other children that are born in this world."
The film debuts tonight Nashville Film Festival on Thursday, April 18 at 7:30pm at the Regal Green Hills Cinema.