Now that the repeal of the United States military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy has become final, actor Marc Wolf’s acclaimed one-man Off Broadway show comes to the screen, in a film by John C. Walsh (with Creative Consultant Mary Harron). Like the play, this 2011 film adaptation, aptly titled Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, uses Wolf's interviews with hundreds of soldiers and veterans, male and female, gay and straight and distills them into 18 individual voices - a compelling, and deeply humanist, exploration of all sides of this highly politicized issue.
Director John C. Walsh, who was drawn to the richness of the play, has remained faithful to its spareness, yet brought a new dimension to the work. Walsh notes: I didn't want to get in the way of the characters with distracting flourishes. The play was a gem, so it was really about pursuing a restrained visual style. By choosing to film in an actual abandoned Armory, the filmmakers found a real life setting for the characters that is natural, cinematic and, crucially, has great resonance with the film's subject.
Marc Wolf adds “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has always been, and will always be, about Silence. In the late 1990s, I interviewed military personnel who were silenced by our federal government because of their sexual orientation, and my goal is to tell their stories to as many people as possible. With the fall of the policy, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell becomes the story of the struggle to break the Silence.”