Luke Evans says Hollywood has a 'responsibility' to tell queer stories

The actor said that having more LGBTQ+ films will allow viewers to 'see into other people's worlds'

Our Son (Universal)
Luke Evans stars opposite Billy Porter in Our Son, a film about a married couple in the midst of a divorce and their fight for their son. (Universal)

Queer stories have become increasingly celebrated on the silver screen but there could always be more, and actor Luke Evans says Hollywood is "responsible" to keep doing so in order to give audiences better understanding and appreciation for other people's experiences.

The actor made this observation while speaking to Yahoo UK about his new film Our Son, an LGBTQ+ drama where he plays Nicky, a workaholic book publisher, whose husband Gabriel (Billy Porter) files for divorce. It follows them as they try to navigate the split in the least damaging way for their son, Owen (Christopher Woodley).

A story about divorce and fighting for one's child is not something new in cinema, at least from a straight perspective, which is entirely why Evans thinks its important films like it are made. "I think we are very responsible for delivering stories that haven't been told to audiences to allow them to see into other people's worlds," the Beauty and the Beast star explains.

Our Son (Universal)
Luke Evans said by making films like Our Son, viewers Hollywood can 'allow these stories into people's lives they may not have conceived'. (Universal)

"And hopefully through the form of entertainment, that we are lucky enough to be a part of, tell stories and allow these stories into people's lives they may not have conceived. A gay couple [can] deal with the same thing as a straight couple down the street have dealt with, and understanding that relatability in universal stories can be told from so many different walks of life [is important].

"There's so many stories to be told, and I felt this one was the first time I'd ever seen it from that point of view as well.

"I've seen it from the straight world, the straight point of view, many, many times —Kramer vs Kramer, The Break Up, Marriage Story — but never from two gay men"Luke Evans

Reflecting on the importance of films like Our Son, he adds: "They need to be told, and I think that it just should be common. I think we are seeing way more queer stories in the mainstream entertainment platforms, and that's very important.

"Society is full of so many different kinds of people, all going through very, very similar things. And we need to see that presented and represented on our screens, and on stages, in television and film."

Our Son puts a spotlight on the highs and lows of parenthood, examining how different parents can be with their child. Gabriel is a doting father, always there for Owen no matter what, while Nicky is the breadwinner with a stricter approach to his son as he feels they shouldn't coddle him. To some, Nicky seems distant, unable to connect with his son, while Gabriel might be seen as overbearing to others.

Our Son (Universal)
The actor said Our Son 'was the first time [he'd] ever seen' a divorce from the perspective of two gay men, citing films like Kramer vs Kramer as an example of it from a straight point of view. (Universal)

Evans admits the film shows parenting is "not easy" and there's "no right or wrong way of doing anything", adding: "There is no textbook to parenthood, often our versions of parenthood come from how we were brought up, and we often make our decisions on how we bring up a child from how our parents brought ourselves up.

"I know that if I have kids there's a lot of things that I would do that my parents did for me, because I feel like I had a great childhood"Luke Evans

"And they gave me a wonderful view on life and how to treat people, and I've always thought how lovely that would be to impart to a child.

"But when you look at the story of Gabriel and Nicky — Nicky is the breadwinner, he goes to work, he doesn't have the depth of relationship with his son that Gabriel has— and that's often the case. Often one parent goes to work and is the breadwinner and the other one stays at home. Usually in a straight relationship that would be the mum, not always but sometimes there's the traditional household."

"I just thought it was a very interesting dynamic, something that is interesting because it's normal. There wasn't anything sensational about this story, it's just real life," he goes on.

Our Son (Universal)
Luke Evans reflects that the film shows parenting is 'not easy' and there's 'no right or wrong way of doing anything.' (Universal)

"They clearly have immense love for each other, they married, they brought a child into the world. But slowly, without Nicky realising, it's come to a point where it's over.

“And watching these two people as parents, and as partners, and as human beings navigate the unknown and the pain, and grieving, and anger, and loss that you must go through when you break up from somebody with such an established life together and a child [is interesting].”

Evans says he “related to Nicky hugely”, explaining that he understands the struggles that his character goes through.

“I'm a gay man and, I mean, I've not been married but I've been in relationships," he says. "Life is never straightforward, and I'm old enough to know that quite profoundly. I just understood Nicky’s journey, he discovers himself through his son, but he also discovers his son.”

Our Son (Universal)
Luke Evans 'related to Nicky hugely', explaining that he understands 'life is never straightforward, and I'm old enough to know that quite profoundly'. (Universal)

The actor was “warmed by” his character’s arc in the film, and how he learns to connect with his child and also navigates a breakup he was forced into. It was his scene partner that made the process of becoming Nicky easy, he says.

Evans was a big fan of Porter’s before working together on the film, joking that he “knew more about him than he knew about me”. But working with Porter gave Evans a whole new appreciation for his co-star: “Sometimes you're lucky enough to work with people that you just really click with, and Billy is one of those people.

“He's full of love, he's full of light and he's somebody that I know I will have in my life for the rest of my life and I feel lucky for that because there's only one Billy Porter"Luke Evans

"He’s a very unique character and human being, and I admire him immensely. I think the performance that he delivered in this was beautiful, it was nuanced," Evans goes on.

"It was small sometimes and touching and what we tried to do was bounce off each other with what we delivered in each of these performances.”

Our Son (Universal)
Luke Evans called Billy Porter's performance in the film 'beautiful', adding: 'Sometimes you're lucky enough to work with people that you just really click with and Billy is one of those people'. (Universal)

The film is the second queer role in recent months that Evans has played, he also starred opposite Dan Levy in his directorial debut Good Grief. The Netflix movie also examines a complicated marriage between Evans’ Oliver and Levy’s Marc, with secrets coming to light when the former dies unexpectedly.

Evans explains that the films were “two very good stories with great creative teams behind them that just happened to land on my lap” and though they were released close together they were made “a year and a half” apart.

Still, they represent a new chapter in the actor’s career after starring in big franchise movies like The Hobbit, Fast & Furious, and Beauty and the Beast. “It wasn't that I was looking for them,” Evans admits. “But when they were presented to me, and offered to me, I realised that they were important and they were beautifully done, beautifully written, and I loved the people behind them and who I was gonna work with.

“I'm very open to anything that happens in my career, it's nice to have some kind of idea of where you want to go but never to be close minded. Something may just appear and you go ‘Wow, I wasn't expecting that idea. I wasn't expecting that kind of role, I'm gonna do it’.

Luke Evans wearing BDXY’s ‘The Actor’ T-shirt in white, from his clothing brand. (BDXY)
As well as acting, Luke Evans has launched his own clothing line BDXY. He is pictured wearing BDXY’s ‘The Actor’ T-shirt in white. (James Turner/BDXY)

“That's the joy of my business, no two shows, two films, two stories are the same. No two characters are the same, no two days are the same and that's part of the fun and joy of my career.

"If I choose my characters and stories wisely, I'll have a very fun, enjoyable and revelational existence in the acting world”Luke Evans

Looking ahead, Evans hopes to focus on being open to the unexpected as, for him, it’s about exploring “challenges [he’s] never had before” and doing things he’s “never done” onscreen.

“I just don't want to do the same thing twice,” he says. “It's not that I get bored easily, it's just I don't want to replicate anything. I want to try and learn something in every role I take. I'm very lucky to have those experiences and I'm still having them.

"I read a script literally two or three days ago, which, if I do say yes to it, it's probably gonna be the most intense thing I've ever done in my whole career. So, to still be finding those roles and being excited by the challenges I'm finding in scripts and characters is a really exciting thing.”

Our Son (Universal)
Looking to the future, Luke Evans shared that he is 'very open to anything that happens in my career' and is always looking to challenge himself. (Universal)

Reflecting on how Our Son was able to do just that, Evans adds: “I watched it and I had to sit for a moment after the film finished, because it moved me in a [way that] took me on a journey with these two people who I ended up really understanding, and liking, and relating to.

“I was able to relate it to my life and other friends' lives. I've got friends who have been in relationships and they saw themselves in these characters, they talked about it after they finished watching the film"Luke Evans

“I think that's always an interesting thing when the film finishes and you sit and contemplate it for a moment or two. It's a beautiful film, and I hope people enjoy it.”

Our Son will be released digitally on Monday, 25 March. The film will also be screening as part of BFI Flare on Tuesday 19 and Wednesday 20 March.

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