Outfest, the Los Angeles LGBTQ+ film festival, kicked off its Opening Night Gala with the premiere of “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie,” the film adaptation of the West End show.
The film’s star, Max Harwood, told Variety that having its premiere at Outfest is a dream come true: “I’m from Basingstoke in England, which is just south of London, and I’ve never been to L.A. before, so this is absolutely a dream,” Harwood said.
Alongside Harwood, the film stars Sarah Lancashire, Lauren Patel, Shobna Gulati, Ralph Ineson, Adeel Akhtar, Samuel Bottomley, Sharon Horgan and Richard E. Grant.
“Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” follows Jamie New (Harwood), a 16-year-old who doesn’t quite fit in. Jamie’s dream has always been to become a drag queen, and with the help of his supportive mother (Lancashire), best friend (Patel) and former drag queen turned mentor Loco Chanelle (Grant), he finally gives it a shot.
Although he has support to get him started, obstacles are faced when he is criticized by his estranged father and school bullies for wanting to follow his dreams. In rousing and colourful musical numbers, Jamie and his community inspire one another to overcome prejudice, be more accepting, and to step out of the darkness into the spotlight.
Harwood said working with the Oscar-nominated Grant, who plays Jamie’s confidante and mentor, Loco Chanelle, was a pleasure: “He’s amazing. He’s so good, sensitive and generous as an actor. It was the best time working with him.”
On why the story, adapted from a West End musical of the same name, resonated with audiences, cast member and RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 6 winner Bianca Del Rio said, “Whether it’s a drag queen story or a gay story, it’s more about having a dream and this amazing group of people people being there to make it happen. I think that’s important and I think that’s what resonated with me. I didn’t know what to expect when I went in to see the show and it’s become one of my favorites–and that’s not just because they hire me!”
Outfest Film Festival runs through Aug. 22, with its closing film being, “Fanny: The Right to Rock.”