Boys in the Band cast on “gratitude” for original cast members

The new Netflix film is a remake of an iconic LGBT+ film adapted from a hit stage play.

Boys in the Band

A new film version of iconic LGBT+ play The Boys in the Band is arriving on Netflix this week, and the cast have paid tribute to those involved in the original production and 1970 film adaptation.

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The stars for the 2020 version include Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto and Matt Bomer, each of whom reprise their roles from the 2018 Broadway revival.

And speaking to RadioTimes.com each of the cast members was keen to point out their gratitude for those who originated the roles and paved the way for their own careers.

“In my experience of doing this piece, what’s really important is my gratitude towards the original cast and (playwright) Mart Crowley for his courage in writing this play at a time when it was unprecedented to do so,” Bomer explained. 

“The fact that 50 years later we can all stand together and it meant something when we held hands as nine openly gay men and took a bow every night after the show, we couldn’t do that and have the careers we have today without those who came before us.”

Tuc Watkins, who plays Hank in the film agreed. “My favourite experience of doing this play and this movie is I had to consider what it would be like to leave a spouse and my children 50 years ago because I couldn’t continue to live in an inauthentic life,” he said.

“And what it made me really appreciate is I don’t have to make that decision, this could have been me at 54 years old, I could have walked down that path and I didn’t have to because of a gay man who went before me and stood up and said here’s who I am.

“It was not easy for them, it took an incredible amount of courage and I get to live more openly and freely because they stood up.”

The previous film version, directed by The Exorcist and The French Connection filmmaker William Friedkin, came out in 1970, in a time where social attitudes were far less progressive.

And the cast reckon that the more recent film will play very differently to audiences because of the changes society has gone through in the last 50 years.

There’s no way it couldn’t (play differently),” Parsons explained. “In the same way there’s no way our own interpretation of these characters and the material hasn’t been affected by the last 50 years.

We approached these storylines from the viewpoint of today and what it is to be a gay person today.

“Not because we weren’t trying to reflect as authentically as we can what it was like back then, but we’re a group of gay men whose lives and careers are very different from the original men who did these roles and most of whom couldn’t work again when they did the play.

“So I think it speaks to the power of Mart’s work that the human story being told is powerful enough to transcend any of the eras and still resonates with an audience today.”

Brian Hutchison, who plays Alan, added: “I think it’s going to be interesting to see how people take in the film.

The original film is brilliant but there was a lot of backlash immediately right after Stonewall because gay people wanted to be out in the streets, they wanted to be seen.

“They didn’t want to apologise, they didn’t want to be behind closed doors and sort of kept inside and unhappy so there was always this judgement about the film and a sense of self-loathing that I think really cast a shadow over the original film.

“Now we see it through a more historical lens, and I think that’s really helpful. We have current contemporary actors who all happen to be gay playing these parts but it’s very much through a new prism that we’re able to look at this and see ourselves sort of in a different way.”

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The Boys in the Band is available to stream on Netflix from Wednesday 30th October 2020. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our guide to the best TV series on Netflix and best movies on Netflix, or visit our TV Guide