EXCLUSIVE: Meet the cast of the new 'Queer as Folk' on Peacock

June 1, 2022

In a GLAAD video interview exclusive, GLAAD’s Anthony Allen Ramos joins Queer as Folk cast members Devin Way, Fin Argus, Jesse James Keitel, CG, Johnny Sibilly, Ryan O’Connell and creator, writer and executive producer, Stephen Dunn and executive producer, Jaclyn Moore ahead of the highly anticipated premiere of the beloved series on Peacock on June 9.  Queer as Folk is a vibrant reimagining of the groundbreaking British series from 2000 created by Russell T. Davies. The series explores a diverse group of friends in New Orleans whose lives are transformed in the aftermath of a tragedy.

Kicking off the conversation, the series’ creator, writer, executive producer, and director Stephen Dunn talks about the impact the original version of the series had on him when he was younger. “I used to watch it in my basement with the volume turned down super low… I watched with bated breath. It was my sexual awakening, it was my first exposure to a queer community,” he reveals also realizing that this was the case for so many queer people in a time where queer representation was scarce in the media.

Executive producer and writer Jaclyn Moore went on to talk about how this reboot differs from the original series. She says this series is more “honest” and states that, “the original versions of the show were wonderful and groundbreaking for the time. But what queerness means in 2022 is very different than what queerness meant publicly in 1999 and 2000,” she tells Ramos.

The actors speak candidly about how they see some of themselves in the characters they play.

Devin Way, like his character Brodie, was adopted. He says, similarly to Brodie, he “knows what it’s like to grow up and feel like love is conditional.” 

Brodie’s brother on the series is played by Ryan O’Connell, who like his character, has cerebral palsy. He talks about how exciting it is to play a role in a series where disabled people are shown as “sexual beings.” He says “It was really incredible to put a spotlight on queer disabled joy.”

Fin Argus plays Mingus, a cocky high schooler whose confidence belies their lack of real world experience. Argus says “There are a lot of pieces of me that are within Mingus, but I for sure wasn’t as explicitly queer when I was their age. So, it was cool to embody that type of character and I feel like that represents this new wave of youthful queerness that’s much more unabashed and loud and proud.” 

Johnny Sibilly plays Noah, a successful lawyer whose life is not as put together as it seems. He discusses the importance and relatability of playing a queer character who feels like he’s carrying the weight of the world. “We have so many people in the community and even allies that walk around trying to hold everything together. It’s in the moments where everything falls apart when you really see the true essence of people.” He says.

Jesse James Keitel found her role as Ruthie, a trans, semi-reformed party girl who is struggling to grow up and be a good mother to her child to be “really affirming.” She talks about how rare it is to see such a complex and interesting trans character. CG stars as Ruthie’s partner, Shar, a  non-binary professor navigating the rocky transition from punk to parenthood. CG says “I’m in a very parallel situation as Shar is… with transitions in general. Figuring out how to grab onto that steering wheel and work your way through everything that comes with it.”

Jaclyn Moore spoke about why it was so important to the creators of the show to include LGBTQ people in every aspect of the show, from writers to actors. She says, “It’s important to tell honest stories. Representation on its own only takes you so far, especially when its told through a cis-white-straight-male lens that isn’t really intrested in telling true stories of trans and queer people’s lives.” She says that queer charcters deserve to be seen as real people with real problems and continues to say that “simply representing our communities wasn’t enough, it’s about allowing us, queer people, trans people, to be seen as messy.”

Stephen Dunn shares that the some of the events that take place in Queer as Folk are heavily inspired by the 2016 Pulse Night Club shooting, which directly targeted the LGBTQ and Latinx communities in Orlando. The creators say they worked closely with survivors of the shooting to ensure that they accurately represented their stories. “It’s not a show about a shooting, it’s a show about rebuilding a community.” Dunn says.

Devin Way speaks eloquently on the topic stating that “Our show isn’t about trauma, it’s about the richness that happens in the land after the trauma existed.” CG who plays Shar feels “It would have brought a lot of comfort,” to have had a show like this to watch as a kid.

As put by Jaclyn Moore, “Queer joy doesn’t exist in a world without trauma… that’s what queerness is, a defiance of trauma, defiance of a world that doesn’t always want you there.”

Queer as Folk will be available on Peacock starting June 9th.