What to watch: Big Boys
One of the films getting its premiere at the BFI Flare LGBTQ film festival is Big Boys – written and directed by Corey Sherman.
Ahead of the screening, I caught up with Corey Sherman for a behind-the-scenes look at the film.
You’re drawing on personal experiences for this story – did the process of writing and creating this film help you to put any of your own formative experiences into context?
It definitely did – it brought a lot of stuff up that had been really difficult.
Growing up, I felt really alone and rejected. I had these big feelings and desires but they were hitting a brick wall – it was really hard. I wasn’t able to talk to anyone about it – I was really ashamed.
Trying to create the character of Jamie from a compassionate perspective inadvertently helped me to have more compassion for myself. It gave me a way into my own experience that was more forgiving and kinder to my younger self.
It also helped me to realise how universal this story is – this is something that a lot of queer people have experienced.
The film explores the complexity and power of an unrequited teenage crush – how challenging was it to find an ending that brought some closure to the characters and to the audience?
I’d previously written a short film that ended in a similar way, so coming into this I had that ending in mind.
It’s partly based on my experience. There was a guy that I had a huge crush on – years later, I had a conversation with him and told him about the feelings that I’d had for him. I remember how hugely cathartic that was.
There really is a lot of power in saying it out loud – particularly when you get a compassionate and kind response in return.
You’ve talked about how valuable you found to be able to work with a queer creative team – was it a conscious decision going into the production to try and make the team as queer as possible, or did it just kind of turn out that way?
It was a conscious decision – I really wanted to work with people who could relate to the specifics of the story. Everyone was able to share stories from their own lives and offer me input – specific details from their own lived experience. That’s hopefully made the movie richer.
What do you hope that audiences feel when they’re watching BIg Boys?
I wanted to make something entertaining and crowd-pleasing – a film that people could enjoy together.
We’re touching on some vulnerable stuff, so there should be a sense of mass validation – we went through this together.
Most of us can identify with that experience of wanting something or someone that we can’t have – having to make peace with that, accept it, find dignity and move forward.
I hope that people feel the emotional arc of the story.