Russell T Davies weighs in on long-awaited Queer as Folk reboot: ‘It’s the ultimate compliment’
British television producer Russell T Davies has praised the Queer as Folk reboot for bringing the show to a whole new generation of LGBTQ+ people.
Queer as Folk, the defiantly queer show that premiered in 1999, chronicled the lives and loves of three gay men in Manchester, England.
Davies’ Channel 4 show was a hit, to say the least, and offered countless queer Brits in the throes of Section 28 a brief respite. While a noughties American spin-off brought the sex and sweat to the States.
But keeping at pace with the deeper, more inclusive LGBTQ+ stories of today, a second American spin-off will be released this year. Set in New Orleans, Louisiana, the show will explore how the haunting Pulse nightclub shooting of 2016 shook the lives of a group of queer friends.
For Davies, 59, the show being brought back to TV screens for the third time is a humbling experience.
“It’s the ultimate compliment, really, to think that this lovely old title lives on,” the It’s a Sin screenwriter told Attitude magazine. “But the past is irrelevant. It’s much more important that Queer as Folk exists now, speaking to 2022.”
The eight-part show, slated for a release in the UK 1 July, was written and directed by Canadian producer Stephen Dunn.
Davies said he couldn’t have imagined anyone else bringing the pioneering programme to the modern-day than Dunn.
“He wasn’t interested in nostalgia — like any good writer, he had things to say about today!” Davies said. “And he’s burnt them onto the screen. I’m delighted to have met a brand-new visionary and, I think, a lifelong friend.”
In one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history, a man laid siege to Pulse, a popular queer nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 and wounding dozens.
But the story of how the shooting unfolded is not one Dunn wanted to show.
Instead, Queer as Folk will be the story of how a community left reeling from a grisly attack sought to rebuild and reunite, the 33-year-old told Attitude
“It wasn’t because I wanted to tell the story of the shooting. We don’t actually see the shooting, the shooter’s face, any violence at all,” he said.
“What we do see is what it’s like to rebuild, recover. Pulse is a very specific event that happened to the Latinx community in Orlando, but the ripple effect was felt worldwide.
“In a way, it unified queer people at a time when it felt we’d been very divided. That’s the story I wanted to tell. ‘How do we be more inclusive?’ That was grounds to revive this iconic and meaningful title.”
Peacock’s Queer as Folk will be led by Devin Way as Brodie, Fin Argus as Mingus, Jesse James Keitel as Ruthie, CG as Shar, Johnny Sibilly as Noah and Ryan O’Connell as Julian. Pathbreaking actor Jesse James Keitel, who became the first non-binary actor to play a non-binary character on primetime TV, will play Ruthie.
O’Connell’s character in the show gets to know DiMarco on a pretty, well, deep level, he told Attitude. “I’d met him a few times before. We’d worked out at the same gym — that’s why we have the same body!” he said.
“He was a delight to work with. Sex scenes are never fun to do; they require a certain level of trust and vulnerability.
“But I felt totally safe with him. We made it fun, or as fun as it could be. He’s sweet, funny, smart. It’s so rude.
“I’m like: ‘How dare you be a model and a good person, and crazy intelligent and witty!’ It’s like: ‘F**k off!'”
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