“Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” Star Max Harwood on Drag Queens, Coming Out & Why We Need More Queer Stories

While he hasn’t had the opportunity to play many other roles yet, you can’t really tell Everyone’s talking about Jamie. Max not only keeps pace, but leads the entire cast, which can’t be easy when you’re starring alongside a prolific character like Richard E. Grant. It’s even harder to believe when you discover that the film was his first experience with drag.

Although he had never worn drag before the film, Max is a huge fan of the art form – and a super fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race. As she prepared for the role, she was aware that she was playing a budding drag queen without actually being one, taking the responsibility seriously. “I’ve been really lucky that a lot of queens have been incredibly supportive, from across the pond to the US and even from the last few seasons in the UK, the queens have gotten in touch. It’s really cool, because obviously not being a drag queen, you don’t want to be criticized for filth for not being a drag queen, ”he says. He worked to strengthen his drag skills. “The team put me to the test. I had a heels trainer. I had, like, percussion lessons, modality lessons. My preparation was full of being a drag queen, basically. She even bought all the drugstore makeup she could get her hands on to practice at home, knowing full well that professional makeup artists would beat her face for the movie. He knew it had all paid off in a first screening of the film in Brooklyn, which was attended by drag queens Jackie Cox and Jan Sport. “I’m a huge fan of Jan, and Jan was crying. I was like, oh my gosh, I’m a fan of yours, and you’re crying and saying I killed lip syncing. I was like, wow, what’s going on? This is wild, “he said.” It was really cool to see that community feel served by the performance. “

Everyone’s talking about Jamie is a rare film that hits the oddity without making it a coming out story. In the end, Max says, Jamie is a kid who wants to be himself: “Any kid anywhere in the world can recognize that, whether you’re gay or not.”

Max also has complex feelings about coming out, labels and stereotypes he has experienced firsthand. As a teenager, she didn’t know what her sexuality was at that point; did not come out until the age of 18. But at school, people called him for him. “I was called ‘fagot, gay, poof’,” he says. “And I think, on reflection, that for queer people this is so confusing and harmful, because I hadn’t actually discovered that thing about myself yet. People put that label on me before I even decided, just because I was effeminate, which isn’t nice. “

And so he may not want to be a role model, but his story is recognizable, like Jamie’s. Jamie is not a victim, Max says, and he knows who he is. But it’s also okay not to be there yet. “Get out when you’re ready, not when people are ready for you,” Max says. “I hate labels now and I’m 24 and I’m gay and that’s fine. I may be 30 and I may not be gay. I could be so much more. I think for me the labels are binary and the binary is coming out the window for my life, because I see that things can be more flexible. “

In the meantime, he hopes for continued opportunities to influence the stories being told. Want more movies like Everyone’s talking about Jamie, those who value queer people for more than just a check out of a representation box. Queer characters don’t need to be role models when they can only be people, humans with flaws, hopes and dreams. “More studies need to put queer people first and foremost,” he says. “Not because I’m queer, but because of the story.”

Streaming to over 250 countries, you can take Everyone’s talking about Jamie on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, September 17, 2021.

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