With Butterell behind the camera, as well as Jamie’s author Dan Gillespie Sells and lyricist Tom MacRae on set for support, Max Harwood felt emboldened to trust his own instincts. They permitted him to pull things around and to actually check out the material in a new method. That freedom and trust carried through to the musical numbers, too.
While Harwood’s musical background might have readied the actor for all of the song-and-dance razzle-dazzle of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, absolutely nothing might have prepared him for his drag debut, not even years of Drag Race fandom. As the character Jamie comes to recognize, drag is more than a costume, it is an art form steeped in queer history, in activism. Butterell keeps in mind the star’s nerves when shooting Jamie’s change into “child queen” Mimi Me, and was thrilled to record the credibility of the minute.
To see Harwood step out on stage for the very first time as Mimi Me is to witness the depth of the young star’s efficiency: the bravado, the uncertainty, the hope, and the fear. It is all there on his perfectly beat face. At that moment, Jamie may not know what his schoolmates or the rest of his home town will think of his performance, but he is certain this is just the beginning of his story.
When Jamie sings about his dream of making it huge, you can not help but think the very same of Harwood, too.
Harwood’s fascination with musical theater ultimately had him avoiding class to see a show on London’s West End called Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, itself based on tv documentary called Jamie: Drag Queen. At 16, following the life of drag-queen-in-the-making Jamie Campbell. He was enchanted, seeing himself in Jamie and the way he dreamed beyond life’s limitations.
A handful of stars have actually played Jamie over the years consisting of John McRae, who makes a cameo in a moving flashback number, This Was Me, but the star made an intentional option to construct the character from the ground up, starting with its initial motivation, Jamie Campbell. With just a couple of years of musical theater training under his belt, Harwood never ever expected his launching role would earn him quite so much attention. But then this job came along, he auditioned for it, and now unexpectedly life is crazy.
Jamie’s starry-eyed appeal is obvious in Harwood, especially when he shows on his long-lasting love of musicals. He was raised on classics like On The Town, My Fair Lady, Oliver, Annie, and, his personal favorite, Grease. He and his sister used to see Grease all the time.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie marks the feature launching of director Jonathan Butterell who sets out to find an actor with a similar freshness and sense of excitement for the title role.
Harwood remembers his “deep” and “individual” conversations with Campbell prior to shooting, which were critical in finding self-confidence in his own capability to step into a role he had actually appreciated from afar. He wished to bring Campbell’s essence through, and then put a few of himself into it. Everyone’s Talking About Jamie is now playing in select theaters and streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
The very first time the coming-of-age musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie bursts into song, it is staged as a neon-hued musing. In the middle of class, 16-year-old Jamie New thinks about life in the spotlight, glammed up and strolling the runway as he belts And You Don’t Even Know It, a traditional I Want song with a boastful twist. In the sobering light of class fluorescents, Jamie’s dream of drag superstardom triggers snickers amongst his schoolmates.
Through his overconfidence and his meekness, his optimism and insecurity, Jamie makes for a relatably conflicted teenager protagonist. The kind that is so prepared to take the next huge leap in their life that they frequently journey over themselves to get there. As Jamie, beginner Max Harwood creates an electrifying first impression, navigating the intricacies of young ambition with winning naturalism.