ManCrush: Ben Cohen
Ben Cohen, best-known as a rugby player and anti-bullying advocate, is making his acting debut in Patterns – a new LGBTQ series acquired by TLA Releasing that will begin streaming on Dekkoo on 27 July.
In mini-narratives, the comedy explores several themes that make up the lives of LGBTQ people and the surrounding community. Topics addressed include family dynamics, coming out, dating, therapy and surviving an existential crisis.
Each episode tells its own distinct story, but all episodes take place in the same universe so that a minor character in one episode may reappear as the lead in another and vice-versa.
“Patterns was created to be a reflection of everyday queer life and how we navigate different social circles at work, with friends and family, behaving differently within each circle we frequent…” explains director of the series, Rex Glensy. “The beauty of the series is that it explores this dynamic with humour and heart.”
“When I first read the script for Patterns, I knew I needed to be a part of the series as it spoke to my life-long allyship with the LGBTQ+ community…” says Ben Cohen. “Also, I have always been a bit curious about appearing in front of the camera as an actor. The first scene I filmed for Patterns was even more nerve-wracking than when I played for England the first time!”
The premiere episode of Patterns stars Tayler Marshall as Christopher, a good-looking man in his early twenties who questions whether his relationship with vain boyfriend Foster, played by Rufus Shaljean, has real substance, or if Foster is only interested in him for his good looks. The second episode takes viewers in an entirely new direction as we meet Liam, a teenager with a questionable obsession for his favourite athlete. Played by newcomer Rufus Gleave, Liam tends to retreat into the world of ballet and a very active fantasy life. Ben Cohen stars as Liam’s personal superhero who helps lead him out of his inner turmoil.
The third episode of Patterns stars hunky Jack Armstrong as Lionel who loves the company of other men and becomes obsessed with his pizza delivery man.
The fourth episode of Patterns, titled “Four Dates and a Humperdinck”, sees the return of young Liam, who organises a series of dates for his single father, each more outlandish than the last. In “Breaking Fast,” siblings Mary and Vedrana are forced to confront their past in order to secure their future and in “Room 103”, a coalition of annoying Karens are sentenced to participate in a support group to individually account for their bad public behaviours.
Episode 7 of Patterns sees the return of Tayler Marshall as Christopher and Rufus Shaljean as Foster, but this time Foster is in the lead role. “We quickly learn that Foster is a force of nature,” explains Shaljean. “He has the remarkable ability to always keep his head held high, his curls in check and he never looks back for anyone. He’s unapologetically himself.”
When a stranger in the park approaches Foster and asks to film him, it is his egomaniacal dream come true. He ropes in his boyfriend Christopher and frenemy Kevin to join him but to everyone’s surprise, when they step in front of the camera, nothing turns out as expected.
“I hope viewers are entertained by our series featuring multiple LGBTQ+ people in a shared universe,” says Asad Moghal, who wrote the series with Daniel Mannheim.
“It’s fun to see lead characters in previous episodes reappear in the periphery of later episodes and watch as minor characters take the lead in their own stories,” Glensy adds.
Patterns premieres on Dekkoo on July 27, 2023. For more information, visit Dekkoo.com.