Jim Parsons & Ben Aldridge Discuss Their Emotional Film Spoiler Alert - Exclusive Interview

Many fans of TV and film head online to read the latest happenings in entertainment. For journalist Michael Ausiello, this is his life's passion. The founder of TVLine has spent much of his career reporting on stories straight from the big screen. Yet just behind the scenes, he has his own special story to share.

Ausiello's 2017 memoir "Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Other Four-Letter Words" describes what it was like to watch the love of his life, photographer Kit Cowan, battle a terminal disease. As the title references, the ending of this story isn't a happy one — but it's one that Ausiello felt the world needed to hear.

This heartbreaking story will soon be hitting the big screen, and The List had the opportunity to sit down with the two stars themselves to discuss stepping into the shoes of Ausiello and his late husband. In an exclusive interview, actors Jim Parsons and Ben Aldridge shared what drew them to this tragic, true story, how they prepared to play real-life people, and the emotional impact that filming the movie had on each of them.

What drew each of them to the true story

Jim, I know that soon after you read the book "Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies," your production company, That's Wonderful Productions, optioned the rights to it. What was it about this story that made you want to share it on the screen?

Jim Parsons: The overall thing was that it so powerfully hit me in the gut and in the heart that it seemed a story worth telling, a story worth adapting. A little more specifically — although related to it — was that as a gay man in a long-term relationship, there were so many things I could relate to and looked forward to the chance to explore in a sincere, deep way. I was excited by that prospect.

Ben, I read that you auditioned through Zoom with Jim and the director, Michael Showalter. Can you talk about that experience and what drew you to the character Kit?

Ben Aldridge: I had an initial conversation with [turns to Jim] you guys about the script, which felt like it went really well. It felt like we were speaking the same language. I had hoped that then that would lead to taped auditions and perhaps quite a few hoops to jump through, et cetera. Very fortunately, that didn't happen. A couple of days later, they said that they wanted me to play Kit, which was a huge surprise. [Laughs]

I was drawn to the film for similar things, exactly the same as what Jim said. I felt like I hadn't yet been in something or maybe watched things where a relationship was at the center of the film. In queer stories, it's often about the difficulties and the challenges of being queer and overcoming that, which ... those stories absolutely are essential and need to be told. But this was about the joy of love, but also the difficulty of love, and that you can't love without risk of pain. I'd never seen that with two men. I was very excited to be telling the story.

How they prepared to portray real-life people

"Spoiler Alert" is a true story. This is based on real people, so how did you each prepare differently to portray someone who actually exists?

Parsons: The biggest thing for me was the source material. I knew Michael Ausiello off and on through interviews through the years, and I actually got introduced to the material because he asked me to conduct a Q&A for the book at a Barnes & Noble before we ever optioned it. The book, first and foremost, I kept going back to that. Then Michael was around the entire ride, from the moment we optioned the material to the last day. He's in the building now doing his own press somewhere else.

Aldridge: Jim had the most well-thumbed copy of the book you've ever seen. It had Post-its all hanging out of it everywhere.

Parsons: It was a bit of a mess.

Aldridge: I was so jealous of it. I did my own homework as well, but I was like, "Oh, but look at you. Look at that book."

Parsons: I get physical with it. [Laughs]

Aldridge: We kept on referring back to the book as well. Throughout, we'd individually read a scene the night before from the book, and that would influence how we played it the next day. It was this never-ending brilliant resource for us.

The story deeply affected each of them on an emotional level

This is such an emotional movie. How did working on this film affect each of you on a personal level?

Parsons: The easy answer — too general — is deeply. The other one is continually, and it was one of the reasons it was so fun to make. I felt that we — us, [Michael] Ausiello, [our director Michael] Showalter — everybody involved was thrown into the deep end so quickly and willingly immediately, that once the train left the station, it kept going in that way, deeper and deeper, until we wrapped.

Without going into necessarily specifics, we had so many conversations over the course of shooting it where I felt so many personal realizations coming and little "aha" moments for myself because of this chance to go through this situation as these two guys. It gave me, and still gives me, a different perspective on my life, and who I am, and how I relate to everybody in my life than I had before. That sounds like a lot, and it's absolutely true.

Aldridge: Yes. Same.

"Spoiler Alert" hits select theaters on Friday, December 2, with a nationwide release on Friday, December 9.

This interview has been edited for clarity.