Thomas Bezucha, who penned and directed “Big Eden,” one of this year’s most popular films at the gay and lesbian fests around the country, certainly could take the prize for the most unusual career trajectory. The soft-spoken Amherst, Mass. native used to be the VP of creative services for Coach and senior director of creative services for Polo/Ralph Lauren for over a decade before he decided to listen to his muse.

“I knew I wanted to be a writer or director when I was a kid,” he says. “It just took me 23 years to get there.”

Bezucha worked on the script for “Big Eden” in “total secrecy at home, without telling anyone about it.” He says he had been wanting to write a film about gay characters that weren’t normally depicted onscreen.

“I’m very close with my family, and I really wanted to have a story about gays who are over 30, aren’t completely ghettoized, and spend time with their family and straight friends,” Bezucha says.

Set in a small Montana town, “Big Eden” stars Arye Gross as a New York artist who returns to his hometown to take care of his ailing father. There, he comes to terms with the object of his unrequited love, and finds a surprise happy ending to his quest. Screen veteran Louise Fletcher also has a crowdpleasing role in the film.

“I needed the film to explore some mature issues, but the most gratifying thing about the project is that the response has been as strong from lesbian women as from gay men,” Bezucha says.

Made for over $1 million, the film is still shopping for a distributor, and Bezucha hopes that his film will make an appearance at Sundance next year.

Meanwhile, the busy scribe has finished two other scripts: “The Tree Army,” about Montana’s Civilian Conservation Corps. during the Depression, and “Fucking Hate Her,” a contempo romantic comedy. He says he’s also itching to adapt a classic novel in the future.

Of course, on the glamour scale, anything that Bezucha will do behind the camera will have a tough time competing with the kind of projects he worked on during his designing days: This, after all, is the man who created and installed Sharon Stone’s screening room in Beverly Hills.

Bezucha is repped by Diverse Talent Group’s Sheryl Peterson.