In from the Side filmmaker says gay rugby drama ‘reflects reality’ of open relationships

Screenshot from gay rugby drama In From The Side.

The director of acclaimed gay rugby drama In from the Side has shared his thoughts on how the film depicts open relationships, saying it “reflects reality”.

In from the Side follows rugby players Mark (Alexander Lincoln) and Warren (Alexander King) as they grow closer and fall into a “forbidden love”. Both men already have male partners, though one is an open relationship, and the film explores the nature of monogamy and adultery.

Reflecting on how the film depicts open relationships, the film’s director Matt Carter, who is himself a rugby player and coach, told Gay City News: “Open relations and monogamy are huge topics we’re on the forefront of exploring. The film reflects reality – it does not promote something in a negative or positive way.

“It invites sympathy for these characters who are doing morally questionable things, but the love they develop is beautiful in and of itself. All the characters are flawed, imperfect, because that’s real life.

“Showing that one couple has an open relationship, and one has a closed relationship – which is better, which is worse, are they both problematic? It explores that,” he added.

The filmmaker also highlighted how he wanted to steer In from the Side away from the “drama” and “stereotypes” often linked to gay characters in cinema. Instead, he wanted to focus on portraying an “authentic representation” of the gay rugby world.

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“From the inception of the idea, we wanted no homophobia and no coming out storylines. The fact that these characters are gay is unremarkable,” he explained.

“So many films deal with the angst and stress and dark side of being in the LGBTQ+ community. It’s nice to show things as they are and it allows you to look at life after coming out and show that authentically without having to default to the stereotypes in gay cinema.”

Screenshot from In From The Side
In From The Side is available to stream now. (Prime Video)

In an interview with PinkNews last year, Carter expressed his hope that the film would be “transformative” in showing that rugby isn’t just for cis, straight men.

“Sport isn’t something for just the heteronormative world, it’s also about breaking stereotypes,” he said.

“There’s this assumption that rugby is toxically masculine because of the sheer physicality of the sport – but that says more about people’s assumptions than it does the sport itself. Why can’t something physical be off-limits to gay men?”

In from the Side is available to stream now on Prime Video.

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