Nice guy and film superfan Chase Whale is becoming kind of a big deal. If it isn't notable enough that the University of North Texas student is able to fundamentally enjoy watching movies after dissecting them to a messy pulp in film class, then consider the Irving-born Whale's growing visibility as editor in chief and co-founder of DFW-based film Web site Gordon and the Whale.
As main operator, enthused reporter, video editor and unassuming face of the online film 'zine, Whale has made the GATW name great among college kids who live for free tickets to advance screenings and movie trailers on YouTube. The 26-year-old has pumped invites to GATW-sponsored theme parties at Rubber Gloves to celebrate the openings of the most anticipated films of the last two years, urging comers to dress as superheroes (or at least in black and yellow) for a bash in honor of "Watchmen". He has Tweeted incessantly about the freshest Hollywood news ("THE INFORMANT trailer, with Matt Damon sporting a sweet 'stache circa 1995") and interviewed "Winnebago Man" writer/director Ben Steinbauer on an escalator.
Whale, who left the RTVF department in an attempt to graduate before he's 30, hopes the site collects enough movie studio advertisements for he and his staff to make GATW a day job. He could be out of school as soon as next year to devote even more attention to that goal. But GATW's persistent evolution could make it difficult for Whale to focus on much else in the coming year.
GATW's presence at CineVegas and its growing slate of contributors (including an L.A. correspondent and the guy who designs the Dallas Observer covers) bode well for Whale and his co-conspiritor, Rusty Gordon. And GATW is creeping up the blogrolls of widely-read sites -- their sizable collection of interviews gets props on the national Angelika Film Center blog, even. We're crossing our fingers and toes for Whale, Gordon, and staffer James Wallace as they wait to hear the status of their application to the Toronto International Film Festival and plan to make a go at passes to Sundance.
Ground-up success and red carpet chasing aside, Whale's still the Denton dude with the tattoo of Max from "Where the Wild Things Are" that we wanna hang out and watch a movie with. He's found common ground with so many on his quest to enjoy film, and the ranks of his followers are growing.
Check out some vintage Chase Whale below in this GATW interview with Rainn Wilson in advance of "The Rocker."