Kevin Bacon, They/Them Queer Stars on Filming Conversion Camp Horror

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They/Them
They/Them

Peacock’s newest thriller, They/Them, centers around a group of young LGBTQ+ characters being sent to a conversion camp. In the film, these queer individuals have to not only deal with the horrific experience of dismantling their true identities but also with a mysterious threat that seems to be plaguing this facility.

Gladiator and The Aviator writer John Logan not only wrote the screenplay for They/Them but also directed the movie. In it, Owen Whistler (Kevin Bacon) runs a conversion camp alongside Cora (Carrie Preston), Molly (Anna Chlumsky), Zane (Boone Platt), and Balthazar (Mark Ashworth). The group of LGBTQ+ younglings being submitted to conversion therapy includes Jordan (Theo Germaine), Toby (Austin Crute), Stu (Cooper Koch), Gabriel (Darwen Del Fabro), Veronica (Monique Kim), Kim (Anna Lore), and Alexandra (Quei Tann).

They/Them
They/Them

Overall, They/Them thrives on highlighting the very specific experiences of young individuals who have different sexual orientations, gender identities, and backgrounds. These characters are also on varying levels of acceptance when it comes to embracing who they are, which is certainly something that this movie explores very well. “It’s something I really could relate to, because I’ve been through it myself,” Koch told PRIDE. “I didn’t want to be who I was when I was growing up.”

But don’t get it twisted, because They/Them also features its fair share of badass characters that will inspire and strengthen queer viewers watching the film. “She is so different from me in real life,” Kim said about playing Veronica. “She was the embodiment of what I wish I could’ve been when I was younger. So, it was just really nice to fit myself into that glove. And she has definitely rubbed off on me – just to learn how to be confident in my sexual orientation and be unapologetically myself.”

They/Them
They/Them

Though this is an ensemble project, the character of Jordan is certainly the central figure on They/Them who moves the story forward. Thankfully, Germaine delivers a career-defining performance as a nonbinary actor playing a nonbinary character. Germaine explained:

“I want people to take nonbinary people more seriously. There’s obviously been a little bit of press around the film already, and I’ve already been harassed by people online about my pronouns. And I’m like, ‘F*ck that.’ I want people to see that I’m human, and that people who are like, ‘I don’t use he or she pronouns, I use something else.’ I really want us to be taken seriously.”

As a legendary actor who’s done it all in his career – from 1980s classics such as Footloose to recent hit shows like The FollowingBacon also approached his role in They/Them with a lot of hope for its impact on LGBTQ+ audiences and their respective families. “Young people who have a different gender identity can see themselves in this film,” Bacon told PRIDE. “Maybe they’re in a small town in rural America, in a conservative world with conservative parents. Maybe they’re closeted, bullied. To see people like themselves on the screen and empowered, [that] would be a beautiful resolve.”

They/Them
They/Them

Despite so many queer people having dealt with conversion therapy in their real lives and being triggered by the concept of it, They/Them does a great job at bringing this subject matter to the genre of horror films without ever making light of it or turning these characters into caricatures. Overall, this movie is a treat not only to those who want to see more LGBTQ+ storylines in mainstream media but also to general fans of horror as a cinematic genre.

Check out PRIDE’s full interview with the cast of They/Them, which is now available for streaming on Peacock.

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