By Alex Gonzalez
Within the new movie-musical All people’s Speaking About Jamie, 16-year-old Jamie New desires of a lifelong profession as a drag queen. Whereas he’s undecided of his post-school path, he is aware of his journey might be fierce and sensational. That might likewise describe the trail of star Max Harwood, who responded to a web-based casting name for the function of Jamie on his personal (he didn’t have an agent on the time). To organize for the function, he familiarized himself with the real-life story of Jamie Campbell, on whom the movie and its unique stage adaptation are primarily based.
“I watched the documentary [Jamie: Drag Queen at 16] and all through my audition course of, I used to be making the choice to anchor my efficiency in his essence and power,” Harwood tells MTV Information.
That power is on full show within the movie, streaming at the moment (September 17) on Amazon Prime Video Its description may recommend its a typical queer coming-of-age story, however All people’s Speaking About Jamie is much from it. Whereas Jamie does face the hurdles of bullies, an absent father, and a discouraging college administration, he is aware of what he desires, and he’s not afraid to go after it — making his story extra about boldly creating his personal future.
All through the movie, Jamie fights for his proper to put on a gown to the college promenade, regardless of the strict objections of his trainer Miss Hedge (Disaster’s Sharon Horgan) and a bully named Dean Paxton (Samuel Bottomley). After we meet with Harwood on the Adolphus Resort in Dallas throughout a cease on the movie’s press tour, he has traded the gown for a strong lavender Paul Smith go well with and a pair of shiny pink Manolo Blahnik Oxfords. His persona is equally as vibrant as that of his onscreen debut character. “Hello, MTV! Welcome to my Crib,” he says as we trade introductions.
Harwood, 23, grew up in a city referred to as Basingstoke in Hampshire, England, which he says is “nothing like Sheffield,” the Northern industrial metropolis the place the movie takes place. As a toddler, he grew up on film musicals like Annie, Oliver, and The Wizard of Oz, and he would sing present tunes round the home. His love of theatrics caught with him as an adolescent, when he labored at a cinema and would “steal posters of Jennifer Lawrence” and hold them in his room.
Within the movie, by the point Jamie is 16, he’s out, proud, and unabashedly expressive, and though Harwood is equally as radiant, he says his journey was a little bit completely different.
“It took me a little bit bit longer in my life to get to a stage the place I used to be comfy with my sexuality,” Harwood says. “However my head was positively at all times out of the classroom and my creativeness may be very colourful, very similar to Jamie’s,” typically daydreaming of taking the stage; however as an actor, not a drag performer.
Throughout filming, which came about earlier than the pandemic Sheffield, Harwood labored carefully with the true Jamie Campbell to deliver his story to the display. Whereas he had seen Campbell’s documentary, in addition to the stage adaptation, Harwood felt it was essential to painting Campbell as sensitively as doable. It helped that Campbell was current on set throughout a lot of the filming course of.
“He was very open and trustworthy and beneficiant together with his time,” Harwood says. “It actually made the method much less daunting. Usually or not, the folks that these tales are impressed by are usually not alive or [not] round to be concerned. So I felt actually grateful.”
Though Harwood is a fan of the RuPaul’s Drag Race franchise, he had by no means placed on wigs or make-up earlier than filming All people’s Speaking About Jamie. He says the method of changing into Jamie’s drag individual Mimi Me took two hours.
Much more complicated had been among the dance numbers, which integrated detailed, exact choreography. For “Work of Artwork,” a music by which Jamie broadcasts he’ll be introducing Mimi Me at a nightclub referred to as Legs Eleven, Jamie and the scholars and workers in his college carry out in a number of costumes, which, within the movie adaptation, change instantaneously, à la Beyoncé within the “Freakum Dress” video.
“There have been marks on the ground [indicating where we needed to step],” Harwood says. “The hair needed to be exact, and every part was so tough due to the specificity and the technical facets of manufacturing these pictures. It is that steadiness between being an actor and being a technician inside your performing. It was an enormous studying curve for me, however I actually loved watching the end result ultimately.”
All through the movie, Jamie will get by with help from pals and shut household. He has his mom (Sarah Lancashire), who presents him a pair of shiny pink heels for his birthday; Ray (Shona Gulati), a pal who sits with them when referred to as to a gathering at Jamie’s college; and his greatest pal, Pritti Pasha (Lauren Patel), who helps Jamie in all of his drag-related endeavors.
Pritti helps Jamie placed on make-up at college and stands behind him in his resolution to put on a gown to promenade, even when Miss Hedge expresses disdain. Whereas Jamie and Pritti come of age on-screen, touring and selling the movie has made for brand new adventures for Harwood and Patel.
“We started this bizarre journey collectively, and it was a extremely unusual course of for us each, being our first time [onscreen],” Harwood says. “We’ve now flown internationally collectively. It is simply actually beautiful that, after two years, we nonetheless click on and nonetheless actually get alongside. Once I first met Lauren and I learn together with her for the primary time, I might already obtained the job. And I actually preferred Lauren. I met a great deal of fantastic actors, however I actually actually preferred Lauren. And I keep in mind staring throughout the room like, ‘You’ve got obtained this,’ as a result of we simply actually bounced off of one another. We’re so related in some ways.”
Earlier than arriving in Dallas, Harwood, Patel, and director Johnathan Butterell had simply premiered All people’s Speaking About Jamie on the Outfest LGBTQ+ movie competition in Los Angeles to a star-studded audience, which included 9-1-1: Lone Star’s Ronen Rubinstein and Good Bother’s Sherry Cola.
It was Harwood’s first time in L.A., the place he loved wholesome bites at Sweetgreen and obtained near his idol, Judy Garland, on the Hollywood Perpetually Cemetery, the place Outfest L.A. held its opening gala.
“It was truthfully like a dream come true for me, to have my movie performed when Judy Garland is buried,” Harwood says. “Which sounds weird, however The Wizard of Oz was such an enormous film for me rising up, and seeing these improbable sparkly pink sneakers from The Wizard of Oz being projected years on as Jamie sparkly pink sneakers felt magical.”
Harwood may be getting began, however he hopes that as Jamie and as himself, he can encourage youthful queer folks to be unapologetically themselves and dwell with authenticity. Like his character, Harwood credit the family and friends round him for encouraging him to specific himself and dwell freely.
“I had a massively optimistic coming-out expertise,” Harwood says, “However I understand that is not everybody’s story. However I hope in listening to that there are optimistic coming-out tales, folks will see this and never be afraid, and see that they will share that a part of their lives.”