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Soft Lad

August 12, 2018

SLDavid  is a 22-year old dancer who seems to have life all figured out. He is about to leave Liverpool to move to London after being accepted into one of the most prestigious dance schools in the country but a secret is casting a shadow on his happiness. This secret is his sister’s husband Jules, who David has been sleeping with for 2 years. Jules refuses to identify as gay and whilst he can’t deny his desire for David, he is not willing to end his marriage with Jane.

After yet another argument about Jules’ true intentions and his inability to admit to his feelings, David is going on a night out when he meets Sam . They spent the night together and David welcomes the distraction but can barely remember anything from the night. Their chance-encounter quickly turns into something more serious and jealousy rears its ugly head for Jules. When David receives some devastating news from his doctor and Jane insists on meeting Sam, Jules and David are forced to come clean to their loved ones, destroying lives and families along the way.

Soft Lad is showing how HIV and being unsafe affects everyone you surround yourself with and not just you. It is a coming-of-age story that deals with lust, desire, betrayal and the question of how much we are willing to sacrifice to be who we really are and to be with the one we love.

Interview with the director:

What inspired you to make the film? I was working on a musical called Elegies, which is about people who died of AIDS. It was for charity and although it was powerful stuff, I wanted to write a play that spoke about how HIV affected people’s lives in present day. I was also keen to show how some people put their own selfish needs before others and how this can hurt the people we love when we don’t consider our actions. This play I wrote then became Soft Lad the film.

Did you always intend to focus it around a gay love story? Yes. This was extremely important to me. As a gay male I think there are so few representations of us in film and television. The love story between Sam and David was originally second to the main story but it actually turned out to be so beautiful and grounded and one of the highlights of the film for me.

What was it like working with Jonny Labey? I basically found Jonny at an acting for TV workshop and he looked exactly like the David I’d written in my head. This was his first time acting on camera professionally and he was very nervous at times but he is a dream to work with and loved to learn and always wants to be the best. He is a true star. And he took a huge gamble with the film, even his agent thought it was never going to happen.

Daniel Brocklebank’s performance is fantastic – is he anything like that in real life? Daniel is one of the best actors of his generation. I worked with him on a short film and by the end of it I was convinced he was going to be ‘Jules’. I had to convince him of this as he didn’t feel it was him. He is a million miles away from ‘Jules’ but I knew there was no one who could act it as well.

What’s been your favourite moment of the whole Soft Lad process? My favourite moment was the whole 7 days it took to film it. It was a whirlwind and I worked with my best friends to tell a story that I feel is of importance on so many levels. I’ve just returned from Q Film Festival in Jakarta and the people there were so humbling. They told me how the story of SOFT LAD is scarily common in their country. And they told me the film gave them hope knowing they are not alone in their struggles. It was a very special moment.

What’s next for you, can we expect a SOFT LAD 2? Ha ha. No. Probably not a Soft Lad 2. I have a second film I’ve written with Craig Stein – who plays Sam in Soft Lad. This is more about my working class routes and doesn’t have any gay themes. And then we’re working on our third film which deals with themes of male rape and the pressures and struggles of gay relationships. I guess may be this could be our Soft Lad 2, but it’s on a much bigger scale. We’re really keen to make films that deal with social issues.

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From → Film, Sexuality

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