Watch: Why Is Everyone Talking about Jamie?

Tuesday October 13, 2020

Max Harwood and Richard E. Grant in "Everybody's Talking About Jamie."
Max Harwood and Richard E. Grant in "Everybody's Talking About Jamie."   

We need to talk about Jamie, because, well, everybody else is. He's a fierce 16-years old with serious drag queen aspirations who first came to the world's attention in the musical "Everybody's Talking About Jamie." The musical was a 2017 hit in London and is scheduled to return to the West End next month. And a trailer for film version was released this week.

The musical, nominated for an Olivier award, is based on a 2011 documentary, "Jamie: Drag Queen at 16." The film reunites the stage show's creative team, with director Jonathan Buttrell, writer Tom MacRae, composer Dan Gillespie Sells and choreographer Kate Prince all involved. New to the project is Max Harwood, who plays the titular character, the gay teen who yearns to be a drag queen.

"But first, he must face those who challenge his refusal to adhere to society's rigid gender standards," writes Variety. "That means taking on his homophobic father Wayne New (Ralph Ineson) and careers coach Miss Hedge (Sharon Horgan), as well as class bullies before Jamie debuts as his new persona, Mimi Me, at prom. With the help and encouragement of his friend Pritti Pasha (Lauren Patel), his mother Margaret (Sarah Lancashire) and Richard E. Grant's former drag queen Loco Chanelle, the young teen is able to see that he doesn't need anybody's permission to embrace himself."

"You can't just be a boy in a dress, Jamie," Grant's Loco Chanelle tells the teen in the trailer. "A boy in a dress is something to be laughed at. A drag queen should be feared."

Harwood, 21, who won the lead role after a 12-month search involving 3,500 applicants.

Max had previously told the Daily Mail that he and Grant had received extensive "heels coaching" as they prepared for their roles.

The film director beamed that when Grant got dressed in drag for the first time that he was larger-than-life. "By the time he's got heels and a wig on he's about 8ft tall. I had to go to the art department and ask if the ceiling in his dressing room scenes is high enough," Buttrell told the Daily Mail.

He added: "Richard's loving it. It's something he's never done before. He has now watched, I think, a thousand million episodes of 'RuPaul's Drag Race' to learn how the kids are doing it, and also studying the story of the drag queens of the late Eighties and Nineties."

In the show Grant sings "The Legend of Loco Chanelle (And The Blood Red Dress)," which tells his character's story.

The film was set to be released this year, but has been pushed back to February 26, 2021.

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