Everybody’s Talking About Jamie actor ‘called every name under the sun’ by homophobic bullies

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie star Max Harwood has opened up about the homophobic abuse he faced while in sixth form. 

Harwood plays teenage drag queen Jamie New in the hotly-anticipated film, based on the real-life story of gay teen Jamie Campbell and his fight to teach homophobic bullies a lesson by wearing a dress to prom.

In the film, Jamie is repeatedly taunted by school bully Dean Paxton, who repeatedly uses homophobic slurs and mocks Jamie for being gay.

In one particularly shocking moment, Dean even turns up to Jamie’s debut drag performance solely to denigrate him.

When asked if he was able to base his depiction on any real-life experiences, Max Harwood revealed that he faced similar treatment from his peers growing up – but that he was always ready to give it right back to his bullies – just like his Everybody’s Talking About Jamie character.

“I would definitely say that I was someone in college who gave it back as good as I got,” Harwood told PinkNews. “I definitely was called every name under the sun.”

“I didn’t come out until I was at sixth form college and for me… some people call Dean a bully, and our director just calls him a d**k. Jamie gives it back as good as he gets, and he isn’t the victim – I wouldn’t say he’s victimised in this.

“I think it’s important for us to show that humans are complex and have complex reactions to things. It’s not as cookie-cutter as it might seem. 

“It’s important to show strength and defiance against adversity, and Jamie does that.” 

Max Harwood broke rules to win the lead role in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

Harwood also revealed that he flouted his acting school’s rules by putting himself forward for the role of Jamie.

He was drawn to the role because he loved the music so much – but he was also desperate to play a gay lead character. 

“I just was a fan of the [stage musical] and then the opportunity came up to do the film,” he said. “I was in college at the time and I was literally not allowed to apply – you’re not allowed to do auditions or anything whilst you’re training – but I just was naughty and was like: ‘I’m going to do it.’

“So that’s what happened, and I got the job after like seven rounds. It was wild.

 

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“It was probably the music that really drew me to the role – and the fact that it was a gay leading man.” 

Harwood is hopeful that Everybody’s Talking About Jamie will have a positive impact on young LGBT+ people watching at home. He also has some sage advice for queer youth who might be struggling to come to terms with their identity.

“Immerse yourself in the worlds that you want to live in,” he said. “Find films, find creative people, find artists, and find people that you can draw inspiration from.

“I would definitely just say to not push away the people that are showing their love to you. And even if they don’t understand you, you’ll get to a stage where you’ll be able to explain and you’ll be able to understand yourself enough to help other people understand you as well.” 

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is streaming on Amazon Prime Video now.

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