Star of Stonewall anti-bullying film was ‘scared’ of friends’ reaction

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

An actor who starred in a new anti-bullying video by a leading gay rights charity has said he was “scared” at how his friends would react to the film.

The film FREE by Stonewall, which was sponsored by BNP Paribas, is a series of four short stories designed for children of different ages, and was premièred last night.

It follows the stories of four children exploring family, friendship and what it means to be an individual.

Directed by Rikki-Beadle Blair, the film is backed by former children’s laureate and best-selling author Jacqueline Wilson.

Leo Amicucci got involved through his drama school which listed him on Spotlight, and originally went for a different part before being cast as Linus.

Speaking to PinkNews, the 11-year-old said he was worried about how friends would react after he saw his brother’s friends react to him going into drama.

He said: “My brother, when his friends found out that he did drama, he got a lot of beef from it, so I was scared.”

Of the storyline, he said he was well prepared, and familiar with the storyline and themes. Amicucci said: “They explained the scenes that we were doing – a rough outline. I got a bit of it from the script. Then Ricky talked me through it. Watching it now, I can actually properly piece it together.”

His mum, Lisa Amicucci said she was “not at all” worried about her son appearing in the film.

The school worker said: “Being an 11-12 year old, it’s important for these kids to understand. Sometimes they’re very – not closeted – but they need to understand that there are other people in the world who are very different and it’s okay to be like that.

“I loved the film – it was very emotional – beautifully done. It shows every aspect of a child in a shcool might have to deal with. I work in a school so I have those issues all the time.”

Research by Stonewall shows three in four primary school teachers say that pupils in their school use homophobic language.

Clips from all four segments of the film are available to view below.