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Interview with Darren Stein & Michael J. Willett
Timothy E. RAW speaks to director Darren Stein and star Michael J. Willett at the BFI Flare Festival about G.B.F., a watershed moment in the history of the teen film, and puts them both to the test, presenting them with several pairs of world-renowned divas and asking, "Who's Gayer?"

Sassy gay sidekicks have long been a staple of high school movies. Now, Jawbreaker director Darren Stein brings the teen genre up to date with a movie that gives us not one, but two gay characters taking centre stage in G.B.F.

Tanner and Brent are gay best friends. Neither of them are in with the cool kids and Brent, an attention-seeking diva, thinks that coming out will make him the most talked about person in school when he turns up at prom on the arm of one of the frontrunners for queen as this year's must-have mean girl accessory; North Gateway High's very first G.B.F. (or Gay Best Friend). Tanner is the complete opposite; a mostly straight-acting comic book nerd, still struggling to tell his parents about his sexuality and keep it on the QT at school.

When Tanner is accidentally outed instead of Brent, the two boys go from B.F.Fs to instant frenemies and the three most popular girls in school all start competing for his status-enhancing friendship.

Interestingly, G.B.F. is less about exploring gay sexuality in the formative years of high school than it is about the cultural implications of being a gay teen, and what a predominantly straight group of classmates expects that person to look, sound and act like.

Cementing it's reputation as the first mainstream gay teen film in attempting to out-quote Mean Girls and out-slang Heathers, G.B.F. is sure to be fondly remembered and widely quoted by gay teenagers who see it at just the right time, the same way my own generation repeatedly go back to Empire Records, Can't Hardly Wait and 10 Things I Hate About You.

We spoke to director Darren Stein and star Michael J. Willett at the BFI Flare Festival about this watershed moment in the history of the humble teen flick and put them both to the test, presenting them with several pairs of world-renouned divas and asking, "Who's Gayer?"

The interview has been optimised to be watched full screen at 720p, which can be adjusted when the video is playing. The sound for the questions is lower than than it is for the responses because only the interviewees were mic'd up.


Here is the UK trailer:

G.B.F. is in cinemas and on demand now. It hits DVD & Blu-ray April 7th.

The film plays tomorrow at The Prince Charles Cinema in London with director Darren Stein and star Michael J. Willett in attendence. Tickets can be bought here.

You can also watch this Q&A live after the film at participating Cineworld Cinemas.


USA 2013
92 mins
directed by
Darren Stein
produced by
Richard Bever
Stephen Israel
George Northy
Darren Stein
written by
George Northy
Jonathan Hall
Phillip J. Bartell
Brian H. Kim
production design
Michael Fitzgerald
Michael J. Willett
Paul Iacono
Sasha Pieterse
Andrea Bowen
Xosha Roquemore
Molly Tarlov
Megan Mullally
Peccadillo Pictures
article posted
22 March 2014