Just a couple of years ago Russell Tovey spoke in an interview about how he’d never played a gay character, and that it would need to be a special role for him to do so, as he was proud to be an out gay man who hadn’t been pigeonholed in LGBT roles. Since then he’s played gay more than once, such as in TV’s Looking and in a cameo in Pride.
He also played an LGBT character on stage in The Pass, and has reprised the role for a movie version, alongside Hollyoaks heart-throb Nico Mirallegro and theatre and TV actress Lisa McGrillis, who also starred in the play.
It’s now been announced that The Pass will screen as opening night gala movie of the 30th edition of BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival, on Wednesday 16th March, 2016, at London’s Odeon Leicester Square. The movie comes from first-time feature filmmaker Ben A. Williams, with John Donnelly writing the script, based on his own play.
The Pass is the story of three very different nights over 10 years in the life of a Premier League Footballer. Jason (Russell Tovey) is at the beginning of his career, and on the night before his first big international match he and long-time friend and team-mate Ade (Arinze Kene) share a hotel room, trying to beat the inevitable pre-match tensions with locker-room banter and teenage high-jinks. Out of nowhere Jason kisses Ade. The emotional repercussions of this pass, and the decisions that follow on and off the pitch, have a major impact on every aspect of the public and private lives of both men across the next decade.
The play was highly praised when it was staged in London, so fingers crossed the movie will be good too.
Producer Duncan Kenworthy comments, “As a season ticket holder of a major Premier League Club, I know just how much interest there is in the question of why no currently-playing Premier League player has come out – or has felt able to come out – as gay. The Pass is by no means an issue film, but John Donnelly’s wonderful screenplay puts very handsome flesh on the bones of this modern anomaly, imagining the pain, passion and complexity of the lives of elite footballers always inches away from fame or failure, and wondering whether honesty is worth the price.”