Four years later, the story of a teen from the industrial city of Sheffield who dreams of becoming a famous drag queen is coming in movie form, with newcomer Max Harwood starring as Jamie, the 16-year-old spurned by his father but supported by his mother as he chases his dreams. The film’s distributor Twentieth Century Studios is celebrating National Coming Out Day Sunday with a first look at its fun-loving yet emotional trailer (watch above).
“It feels so perfect, doesn’t it?” says director Jonathan Butterell, who was joined by screenwriter Tom MacRae and songwriter Dan Gillespie Sells in an interview with Yahoo Entertainment ahead of the trailer release (all three also created the stage production together).
“Jamie’s story is all about celebration of courage and truth and how a community can get behind someone who is a bit different and support them and love them… But ultimately it's always worth being yourself. So we put that message out on a day when a lot of young people will be making some very big decisions. So what we really hope is that Jamie and the idea of Jamie can can be there for them and give them some strength and inspiration.”
The film costars Sarah Lancashire, Lauren Patel, Shobna Gulati, Ralph Ineson, Adeel Akhtar, Sam Bottomley, Sharon Horgan and, perhaps most notably, Richard E. Grant — the Can You Ever Forgive Me? Oscar nominee and Star Wars alum who plays a drag queen mentor to Jamie.
“He’s playing his first drag queen,” says MacRae. “Richard said to me, ‘Oh, I wasn't sure if I could do it. And then my friend said, No, you'll be great. He said, What is it they see in me that I don’t?’ I said, ‘Richard, clearly you were always going to be a fabulous drag queen.’ But I think he was the last person to realize how perfect he was.”
MacRae says the exuberant film, opening in early 2021, should be a perfect antidote to the slog (disaster) that’s been our current year.
“I think people are just going to feel so happy to watch something this joyful after the nightmare of the last year. And if we can surprise them remembering what fun it is to be a human being in a crowd of humans, celebrating this story about kindness and community, then that would be a wonderful treat for us all because this movie is a party that everyone deserves. And we just want to give them a fantastic two hours away from everything.”
While the film undoubtedly celebrates its gay hero and LGBTQ culture, the filmmakers say the story’s appeal is much broader.
“Even though it’s a story about a 16-year-old boy from working class Sheffield who’s queer and wants to be a drag queen,” says Butterell, “everybody can see themselves in him.”
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie opens Feb. 26, 2021.
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