Monday, March 20, 2023

Our First Look At Stephen Dunn’s ‘Queer As Folk’ Revival Is Soaked In Sweat And Neon

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After over twenty years, one of the most important pieces of LGBT TV is coming back to tackle a much different queer landscape: Queer As Folk. Peacock revealed this morning some of the first glimpses at the diverse cast of the new show as well as a full cast list. A teaser trailer dropped as well listing the release date just in time for Pride.

The original 1999 Queer As Folk (starring Littlefinger himself Aidan Gillen) remains controversial for its handling of contemporary issues, but was a massive hit that launched Davies’s career (so you can thank it for that great Doctor Who revival). The American version launched in 2000 and ran for five years on Showtime and, like the original, remains a fairly groundbreaking program for its time. But it’s been over twenty years since the first show launched and it’s time for an update.

Peacock’s Queer Is Folk is intended to be a “vibrant” reimagining of the groundbreaking British series created by Russell T. Davies, exploring a diverse group of friends in New Orleans whose lives are transformed in the aftermath of a tragedy. Canadian Director Stephen Dunn (Closet Monster, Little America) has been tapped as showrunner as well as director for multiple episodes.

“Like most queer ‘90s kids, I had a unique relationship with the original Queer as Folk. Growing up, I was desperate for any sort of connection with people like me. It was the first time I really felt seen. The show offered a new paradigm – one where we could accept and celebrate queer love, families, and communities on a global stage. It was truly iconic. I am honored that Russell T. Davies, the creator of the original series, entrusted me to continue this legacy,” Dunn said.

“I wanted to create a new groundbreaking version of this show for this moment. Our new Queer as Folk is set in New Orleans — one of the most unique queer communities in North America – and I am immensely proud that the new series is comprised of an electric ensemble of fresh characters that mirror the modern global audience. If there’s one person who is able to see Queer as Folk and feel less alone, or who now feels more supported and seen, our job is done. In the true spirit of the original, our show doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities of our community, but above all else, the series is about people who live vibrant, vital, unapologetically queer lives.” 

Pictured: Fin Argus as Mingus  in Queer As Folk
Pictured: Fin Argus as Mingus (Photo by: Peacock)

“I’m very proud of what we achieved in 1999, but in queer years, that was a millennium ago!” said original Queer As Folk showrunner Russel T. Davies, who based the show on his experience in the Manchester gay scene. “As a community, we’ve radicalized, explored, opened up, and found new worlds – with new enemies and new allies – and there was so much to be said. Stephen pitched a brand new version of Queer as Folk with so much imagination, insight, and crucially, joy, that I simply couldn’t resist. I thought it was about time the title belonged to a whole new generation. The 2022 show is more diverse, more wild, more free, more angry – everything a queer show should be.” 

Peacock also revealed the main cast list for the series.

  • Devin Way (Grey’s Anatomy, Station 19) will play Brodie (he/him), a charming and sometimes chaotic commitment-phobe who finds a reason to stay in New Orleans after tragedy rocks his community. 
  • Fin Argus (Clouds, The Gifted) will play Mingus (he/him/they/them), a cocky high schooler whose confidence belies their lack of real world experience. 
  • Jesse James Keitel (Big Sky) will play Ruthie (she/her), a trans, semi-reformed party girl who is struggling to grow up. 
  • Acts of Crime‘s CG (they/them) will play Shar (they/them), a non-binary professor navigating the rocky transition from punk to parenthood. 
  • Johnny Sibilly (Hacks, Pose) will play Noah (he/him), a successful lawyer who is not as put together as he seems. 
  • Ryan O’Connell (Special, Will & Grace) will play Julian (he/him), a pop culture nerd with cerebral palsy who is more than ready for some independence. O’Connell is also a writer and EP for the show.

The show will also have a long list of guest stars including Kim Cattrall (as “a martini-soaked, high society southern debutant with trailer park roots”), Juliette Lewis (as “a single mom who is more of a friend than a parent to her teenager”), Ed Begley Jr. (as “an emotionally distant father”), and Armand Fields (as “Bussey, the reigning drag queen and matriarch of the local scene.”)

Pictured: (l-r) Devin Way as Brodie, Jesse James Keitel as Ruthie in Queer As Folk
Pictured: (l-r) Devin Way as Brodie, Jesse James Keitel as Ruthie (Photo by: Peacock)

“I believe deeply in the power of storytelling to make people feel seen, but all too often I feel as though queer and trans representation in art is limited to extremes. We are either shown as saintly heroes bravely surviving a bigoted society or two-dimensional queer-coded villains that feel airdropped in from some previous era,” said Dear White People’s Jaclyn Moore, a writer and EP for the show.

“With Queer as Folk, we aimed to depict queer characters who live in the messy middle. People who are complicated. Who are funny and caring and flawed and sometimes selfish, but still worthy of love. Still worthy of narrative. As a trans woman, I’m excited to take steps to move past telling stories that seem to just be arguing for our basic humanity. My hope is that Queer as Folk is one such step.” 

Filming for Queer As Folk is currently underway in New Orleans with June 9th as the planned release date.

Images via Peacock

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  • Dan Arndt

    Fiction writer, board game fanatic, DM. Has an MFA and isn't quite sure what to do now. If you have a dog, I'd very much like to pet it. Operating out of Indianapolis.

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