Geography Club, the new film produced by Huffington Pictures, distributed by Breaking Glass Pictures and based on the award-winning Brent Hartinger novel of the same name, follows a group of LGBT teens who form a secret support group at their high school. The film will open in theaters in New York, Toronto and Los Angeles on November 15 before rolling out to additional cities. Geography Club picked up the Audience Award for Best First Feature at this summer's Outfest LGBT Film Festival in Los Angeles and stars Glee's Alex Newell, Hairpsray's Nikki Blonsky, Drop Dead Diva's Justin Deeley and Pitch Perfect's Cameron Deane Stewart.
GLAAD had the chance to speak with the film's director, Gary Entin, about differences between the film and novel and why the story of Geography Club is important to tell. Check out the trailer below and read on to see what Entin had to say.
GLAAD: What can fans expect from the Geography Club film, particularly those who were fans of the book? Were you worried about adapting a novel?
Gary Entin: I think first and foremost the fans can expect a universal, feel good, coming of age story with a positive message. That's what drew me to the novel in the first place. I think that's what attracted a lot of people. Is this film exactly like the book? No. Most film adaptations don't follow the source material word for word. There are many reasons for that. Still, there are plenty of characters and scenes that remain intact. But the biggest thing is that the film and the book share the same heart.
GLAAD: What drew you to getting involved with Geography Club?
GE: My brother Edmund Entin [the screenwriter], and I were fans of the book long before we were approached about adapting it into a movie. What we always admired about the book was what it had to say at its core and the three dimensional characters Brent Hartinger created. The two of us always thought there was a great opportunity to take the book and turn it into a John Hughes-style film. We loved the idea of making a mainstream film where your lead character is gay and treat it with the same bells and whistles as any coming of age/love story. To separate a love story or a coming of age story into the categories of gay and straight feels archaic. We want to bridge the gap with this film. This was our biggest inspiration as to why we felt we needed to make Geography Club.
GLAAD: The film looks at bullying and the fear of being an outcast from a few different perspectives. Why was it important to you to tell the story of Geography Club?
GE: I think you touched on something important here. That fact that this isn't just a film about one lone outcast but rather one told from many perspectives. If you look close you'll realize that every major character in this film was conceived to be an "outcast." Brian Bund is more recognizable as your typical "outcast" but isn't Kevin Land one too? Inside we all feel insecure, especially in high school. Geography Club levels the playing field. It says even the quarterback knows the fear of a seemingly less popular student. It's a big concept to grasp but I believe it with all my heart. And I want audiences, especially the younger ones, to understand that. It's not just an uplifting idea but actually therapeutic.
GLAAD: What's next for the film and you?
GE: The next film for me is one called Sins of Our Youth. The film focuses on four teenage boys who accidentally kill a younger boy while shooting off rifles. As the quartet tries to deal with the killing, things take an even darker turn. The script was written by my film making partner and twin brother Edmund Entin, and was produced by Michael Huffington. It stars Lucas Till, Ally Sheedy, Joel Courtney, and Mitchell Musso.
GLAAD: What do you hope audiences take away from the Geography Club film?
GE: I hope audiences have good time watching this movie. After all, a film should be entertaining at the end of the day. I think there is a lot to take away from this film but to me it's very simple. I hope people leave feeling better about themselves and feel inspired to stop judging others. It seems so easy but we live in world where even people with high IQ's still think it's okay to judge others. And when your film is targeted towards a more malleable audience, you have a real shot at making a difference.
Keep up to date with Geography Club at their Twitter @GeoClubMovie to find out more about screenings and how to buy tickets.