Stephen Dunn Interview: Queer As Folk Season 1

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Queer As Folk is now considered one of Peacock’s newest original series, more than 20 years after Russell T Davies first launched a generation-changing show. The new iteration contains 8 episodes of the first season and tells about a group of LGBTQ friends living in New Orleans and rebuilding their lives and relationships after the tragedy that occurred in the first episode.

The ensemble of “Close People” consists of representatives of all walks of life, but most of the characters are connected by a connection with Brody (Devin Way, “Anatomy of Passion” and “Station 19”), who dropped out of medical school, who returned to New Orleans after a long absence and seeks to establish relationships with different people. Among these people are his ex Noah (Johnny Sibilli, Hux), his best friend Ruthie (Jesse James Keitel, Big Sky) and her partner Shar (beginner, computer graphics). There is also his brother Julian (Ryan O’Connell, Netflix Special), mother Brenda (Kim Cattrall, Sex and the City) and many others.

Screen Rant spoke with creator Stephen Dunn (Little America) about why Queer As Folk was the right reinvention in 2022, how the writers’ room helped reflect the stories that needed to be told, and how it dealt with sensitive topics of hate crimes. and mass shootings in the premiere.

The premiere of Queer As Folk — In the photo: (from left to right) Emily Brecht, computer graphics, Ryan O’Connell, Johnny Sibilli, Devin Way, Jesse James Keitel, Jacqueline Moore, Kim Cattrall, Juliette Lewis, Stephen Dunn, Fin Argus — (Photo by Alberto Rodriguez/Peacock)

Screen Rant: I like this reinterpretation of Queer As Folk. Why did you want it to be Queer As Folk instead of starting from scratch? What told you about the original?

Stephen Dunn: Queer As Folk has completely changed my life. The impression that was made on me by what I saw in my basement with the sound turned off when I was a child — to see myself in the reflection, to see the queer community for the first time – is unforgettable.

I think a lot of queer people do share this experience, but so much has changed in the last 20 years. And I think the very word “queer” means something different now than it did then. So, it was very important for me to tell queer stories with authenticity and power, and now I just felt that it was time to rethink this title for a new audience.

I love it, and it’s really reflected in the writers’ room, which I believe is completely filled with LGBTQ talent. How does this open doors for you to tell stories, and what does this collaboration process look like?

Stephen Dunn: It allows us to get into areas that I don’t think a room of non-queer writers could do without being completely offensive. Because that’s what we want; we want it to be authentic, we want it to be dirty, we want our characters to be imperfect, human and still attractive.

I think the room we were in really allowed us to delve deeper into the stories, get more nuanced and not apologize.

The premiere takes us to a very dark place, which then has a strong influence on the whole series. Why did you want to start with this? This is an even more important part of the conversations in our country today.

Stephen Dunn: Unfortunately, it’s true. These conversations about mass shootings have become increasingly relevant over time. I’ve been developing this show for some time now, and I really couldn’t imagine creating Queer as Folk in 2022 without reflecting the real climate in which queer people now exist.

At the same time, as you know from the show, we never show shooting. We never show the shooter; we don’t tell this story. Our show is really about how a community recovers from something like this, and how we rebuild in a way that makes it bigger, better, safer, and perhaps more inclusive than the spaces that existed before.

I went to Orlando and met some of the Pulse survivors who were interested in talking at the earliest stage of the process, and these meetings really influenced the trajectory of the story and its direction.

I’m glad you did it. And I like how intersectional the story seems, and how much more authentic it is in its diversity. How do you ensure that this is part of the conversation in the writers’ room?

Stephen Dunn: It’s interesting because we’re not trying to intentionally mark bingo cards. It’s just a reality to put on a show in New Orleans and reflect queer culture now…

You can’t tell a queer story without thinking about inclusivity and diversity. But as I said, this is not a bingo card. We’re not trying to put a tick in front of the show; we’re just trying to be authentic and honest. To be honest, the characters on our show are actually a reflection of my community, and I’m just trying to draw attention to the people who are in my life who may never see themselves on screen.