Could 'Queer As Folk' Return For A Revival? The Whole Cast Reveals They're On Board & More At The ATX Reunion
Almost 15 years ago, the American adaptation of the British smash Queer As Folk debuted on Showtime, and — I'll say it — changed the landscape of television. This weekend, the series' co-creators and cast reunited at the fourth annual ATX Television Festival to celebrate the show's legacy, imagine what their characters lives look like today, and get into the nitty gritty of how those barrier-smashing sex scenes were shot. Oh, and they also confirmed that the entire cast would be ready and willing to get to work on a Queer As Folk series revival. And in this fan's opinion, it's high time to reopen the doors of Babylon.
Showrunners Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman were joined on stage by Peter Paige (Emmett), Gale Harold (Brian), Randy Harrison (Justin), and Robert Gant (Ben). It was Gant, speaking for the rest of his castmates, who dropped the bombshell about the show's possible resurrection. "Petition Netflix," he added, surely starting a explosion of QAF-related tweets in their mentions. When asked by the moderator how they'd begin to think about a revival, Cowen joked that they'd first have to get a whole new cast. Gant suggested the "Dallas approach," bringing in a new generation of ensemble members to mix with the returning. Since the challenges facing the LGBTQ community have shifted and evolved in the last 15 years, everyone agreed that the juxtaposition of the old issues and the new would make for great TV. Plus as, Cowen pointed out, Brian, Melanie, and Lindsay's son Gus would be about the same age as Justin was in the pilot. Will he meet a stranger in an alley and kick off another five years of love, sex, loss, glitter, and dancing? That sounds like the perfect way to kick off another season to me.
Besides that earth-shaking news (Seriously, can we get that petition started?), here are some other tidbits I learned at the ATX Queer As Folk panel.
- Cowen and Lipman told the audience that none of the major talent agencies would let their actors audition for the show. Many of the actors they cast had no representation at the time.
- Before filming began, the actors were sent a 21-page nudity rider. Paige summed it up: "This is the kind of show this is. If you are not down to do this, do not take this job." Each love scene was also prefaced with an organized "sex meeting," in which the writers, directors, and actors would talk it through and voice concerns.
- Harold had no trouble immediately getting comfortable with his character and Brian's relationship with Justin. "Randy and I dove in so deep so soon," he said, to which Paige replied, "Good choice of words."
- Paige also addressed criticism of Emmett being a stereotype and said, "We stopped apologizing for the stereotypes. We started owning them and transcending them." He and much of the panel claimed that the backlash against Emmett may have actually reflected more on the critics than the show, and continued to say, "I forgave myself for something in playing Emmett."
- An audience member pointed out that a significant amount of the panel attendees and the show's audience is made up of straight women. The creators agreed that it was this group who helped make the show a mainstream hit, and who may have even helped increase tolerance because of what they experienced through the show.
15 years later, I'd say TV is ready for another round of Queer As Folk to draw in a whole new audience and break down barriers all over again. I'm just so glad the cast agrees.