Our Son director on creating Billy Porter and Luke Evans’ ‘intimate’ marriage | Films | Entertainment


Hollywood stars Billy Porter and Luke Evans are at the centre of the intense and intimate family drama Our Son, now available to rent or buy in the UK.

American actor and fashion icon Billy stars opposite the UK’s own Luke as Gabriel and Nicky, a middle-aged gay couple who are faced with an impossible decision when their marriage begins to crumble.

Express.co.uk recently spoke to director Bill Oliver, who revealed he drew out his leads’ raw performances with very little rehearsal time.

“It was very natural, [their chemistry] was immediate,” he said. “They hadn’t met before, but the sparks were there from the very beginning, the first Zoom rehearsals that we had.

“The audiences needed to believe that they had been a couple for a long time and, even though they’re divorcing, that they love each other. There’s romantic chemistry.

Billy Porter and Luke Evans

Our Son director on creating Billy Porter and Luke Evans’ ‘intimate’ marriage (Image: VERTICAL)

“From the visual team, to the actors, to the writing, it was important to me that this family exists. Because they do. There are queer families, gay couples raising children in the world.

“So, with the actors, in the US at least, it’s very hard to get actual rehearsal time. It just doesn’t fit into the budget or the actors’ schedules.

“But, I’m also not big on rehearsals. You don’t want them to be overworked.”

Oliver took inspiration from his own experience raising children to tell this powerful slice-of-life story and wanted Nicky and Gabriel’s relationship to feel as lived-in as possible.

Billy Porter, Christopher Woodley and Luke Evans

Nicky and Gabriel struggle to raise their son while they go through a divorce (Image: VERTICAL)

“I like to be more hands-off,” he said of his directing style.

“I take very great care with the script and the casting process, and all my preparation, so by the time we get to the set I feel confident.

“I like to just create a shooting environment where they feel comfortable and taken care of. I worked with a cinematographer who came from a documentary background.

“He’s from Italy, he grew up helping his father film weddings and then became a wildlife photographer. He’s about capturing that fleeting moment that happens once and if you mess it up it’s not gonna come back.

Christopher Woodley and Luke Evans

Director Bill Oliver drew from his own experiences of fatherhood (Image: VERTICAL)

“I wanted it to feel unscripted. And the actors loved that. He literally wore the camera on his body and was very close to them.

“And we didn’t use any lights, it was all available light coming through the windows and from the laps. So there wasn’t a lot of equipment around so they could feel like this really was their house.”

As LGBTQ+ stories are still underserved in mainstream Hollywood films, Billy knew it was important to feature queer talent both in front of and behind the camera.

Conversations about straight actors playing gay roles continue to cause debate, and the director says it’s a testament to how much we’ve progressed that it thankfully wasn’t a struggle to cast authentically.

Christopher Woodley, Billy Porter and Luke Evans

Our Son is now available to rent or buy on digital (Image: VERTICAL)

“Through the course of making this film, that debate has gone through so many developments,” he said.

“Ultimately, it was important to me that they be out gay actors if at all possible, because I wanted that lived-in, authentic feel. It’s not like they were playing a famous conductor or something they could hide behind. They were themselves, just transparent.

“I think if they were straight actors it would have been a whole different thing.”

One scene in particular exemplified this, as Billy explained: “Everyone who played a gay character was out. That became a very beautiful thing on the set.

“A scene that was very emotional for me was when the friends are sitting around having brunch and just talking about their fathers. And it felt so honest and kind of incredible that I had gotten this group together.

“And they felt it, too. They were part of something that they don’t get to do very often at all.”

Our Son is available to rent or buy on Apple TV Store or Amazon Video.


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