MTV.com recently posted the trailer for Pedro an MTV original movie that dramatizes the story of the late Pedro Zamora, the Real World season 3 cast member who was both openly-gay and HIV-positive. (It’s set to premiere on MTV and Logo on April 1.)
I haven’t seen the movie, which was written by Oscar-winner Dustin Lance Black (Milk), so I don’t want to knock it yet, but I have to say the trailer looks pretty weak. Partly, it’s redundant: An excellent telling of Pedro’s story already exists – season 3 of The Real World. I’ve always thought that the 1994 season was the long-running reality series’ high point, and an example of what great TV can accomplish. During those early years of The Real World, the producers were making up the language of reality television as they went along. And in season 3, everything gelled, from the location (San Francisco looked like Oz), to the cast (every reality s— stirrer since owes his or her career to Puck), to Pedro himself. He was charismatic and beautiful and 22 years old, and he had a disease that was going to kill him. I was a faithful viewer at the time, but I don’t think I appreciated then how revolutionary he was: He chose to spend what little time he had promoting AIDS prevention, and he was openly and proudly gay at a moment when thousands of gay men were dying with no end in sight. He even married his boyfriend on air. (In 1994!) He died on Nov. 11 of that year only months after the show stopped filming. (If you really want to start bawling, watch the MTV special that aired shortly after his death.)
So I ask you: Is a fictionalized version of a reality show really the best tribute to Pedro? How about just releasing season 3 on DVD? (Really, I’ve been waiting.) What do you think about the trailer, and are you looking forward to the movie?