Unicorns directors on the real-life inspirations behind Ben Hardy and Jason Patel queer film

Unicorns directors James Krishna Floyd and Sally El-Hosaini have revealed the inspirations behind their new film, including one of the former’s trans friends.

Unicorns, starring X-Men: Apocalypse‘s Ben Hardy and newcomer Jason Patel, follows two very different men as they navigate their sexuality and cultural background – and their relationship with each other.

Patel’s character has a drag queen alter ego called Aysha and is gay, but he is conflicted by their highly religious Muslim family and upbringing. Hardy’s Luke, meanwhile, is a mechanic with an ex-girlfriend and a baby, who has never considered that he could be anything other than heterosexual.

Speaking exclusively to PinkNews, Floyd revealed how Unicorns was inspired by his own journey, and that of one of his friends.

Jason Patel in Unicorns
Unicorns directors James Krishna Floyd and Sally El-Hosaini have opened up on the film’s inspirations (Signature Entertainment)

“It was about seven, eight years ago that I really wanted to seriously make my filmmaking debut as a writer- director,” Floyd says.

“I’ve always had this feeling that I don’t know who I am, I’ve never really had a fixed identity, I’ve had sexually fluid experiences in my life, I’m mixed race, I have family from all walks of life. And I think a lot of us are like that.

“I’ve always felt mainstream society is constantly boxing me in… and I wanted to make a film that was going to bottle up that feeling.”

Floyd adds that a meeting with “extraordinary, real-life unicorn” and “big gaysian [gay and Asian] figure” Asifa Lahore – a co-producer and consultant on Unicorns – helped to inform more of the story.

“I’d known about the gaysian scene, but I’d never been to the core of [it] in an emotional sense. That’s where the conception of it was, the characters themselves are based on people I know, the families in the film are inspired by my families.

“Everything that happens has come from some sort of truth, whether it’s my own experiences, Asifa’s or a lot of the other gaysian queens I’ve met.”

El-Hosaini mentions that Asifa had not begun to transition from a gay, cisgender man to a trans woman when the pair met.

Floyd adds: “Asifa’s life is quite inspirational for the film anyway because she has such a fluid identity herself, and doesn’t look at herself as one thing – and that’s what I think the film is about.”

Unicorns is due to open in UK & Irish cinemas on Friday (5July).

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