Devin Way is a queer model and actor who has appeared in Grey’s Anatomy, Station 19, and Boundaries. Most recently, he landed the lead role of Brodie Beaumont in Peacock’s reimaging of the iconic series Queer as Folk. Devin sat down with me to discuss the new series, how closely his character parallels his own personal story, and the ways this new iteration speaks to LGBTQ culture today.
Congratulations on scoring the role of Brodie Beaumont in Peacock’s reimaging of Queer as Folk! Now does it feel?
Devin Way: Things are going amazing for me. It sounds cliché, but I feel like I am living the dream. I currently feel like the luckiest guy on the planet.
Prior to getting cast were you familiar with or did you watch the original series?
DW: I discovered the series in my early twenties. I was googling something along the lines of boys kissing and came across clips of the show. It was not until I got involved with the new adaption that I went back and watched the original series.
What did you think of the original series?
DW: Honestly, I thought it was important especially for those who needed it during that time. I think you can still go back, watch the original series, and get something meaningful out of it. Watching the original series made me even more excited to tell a legacy story. My hope is that if the original could focus on one type of persona and still be so impactful to generations, the new adaption can be much more impactful by broadening the spectrum to showcase all different colors and lived experiences.
The original series was set and filmed circa 2000–2005, which feels like a century ago due to LGBTQ culture evolving extensively over the past 20 years. All things LGBTQ have also become more mainstream. How does this new adaption differ from the original?
DW: What you are going to see on our show, which you may not have seen in the original, is discussion on gender identity, what it is like being a person of color in the world, and adoption. My character, Brodie Beaumont, is adopted and raised by two white parents in the south. We have characters who are drag queens, who have disabilities, and we do a great job of being diverse and authentic. The show genuinely does not feel like it is pushing an agenda or shoving anything down the viewers’ throats. Rather, it is showing humanity in its queerness, and that is what I am most proud of.
Brodie being adopted intrigues me because I was adopted as an infant from Colombia and raised in an Italian Irish household. Brodie is also a bit of a commitment phobe which sadly describes most of the gay community (laughs). What are Brodie’s underlying issues?
DW: I’m excited to hear you are adopted. I, myself, am adopted in real life as well. I grew up with this understanding of love that it is conditional; that if I didn’t fit into this perfect mold then I could be unchosen. I think when you grow up with an inherent fear that at any given point in time someone could leave you or disregard you, you have this flight or fight system which kicks in. What you will witness with Brodie is that he runs before he gets hurt. One of his greatest superpowers is his ability to love and capacity to share that love. The shadow side of that is fear, manipulation, and this mentality to get out before you get hurt. I can relate to being a commitment phobe, but I would never call myself one. I really hope Brodie mirrors back to the world something that they may not see within themselves so they could address it and heal.
The fact that you and your character were both adopted is so interesting. Do you feel with adoption comes a fear of abandonment?
DW: I can’t say that as a blanket statement for everybody because the circumstances which cover adoption are so different. I will say with regards to my specific journey I do think there was an element because I felt I had to cling to perfection, and if I was anything other than perfect, I could be unchosen. I think this played into discovering my queerness. At the time I felt being queer was also an imperfection. Now I realize it is not, and I am so excited this show is going to illustrate that there is nothing imperfect about it. It has been exciting to learn myself despite my learned beliefs.
Is being adopted as much of an issue as being gay for your character?
DW: Mid-season there is an episode which takes Brodie back to high school where you get to see him when he was not out and attempting to fit into this perfect mold. When you first meet Brodie, he is this charming larger-than-life chaotic character. Thus, to imagine him as this kid who was very rule following, is something which reminds us to give credit to how far we have come as individuals in remembrance to where we were once at.
Who does Brodie get along with as well as feud with?
DW: Brodie is the center of it all and essentially the glue which connects everyone. The problem is he gets along with everybody and nobody at the exact same time. Brodie’s best friend is Ruthie O’Neil, played by Jesse James Keitel, and it’s been so lovely because Jesse has also become one of my best friends in real life. To get to work alongside her is the relationship of the show I love the most because it feels so much like a reflection of what goes on in our real life. Jesse and I rarely go more than a day without talking.
Many LGBTQ television series are based in either New York or Los Angeles. It is intriguing that the series is set in New Orleans, LA, which is a unique city. Do we learn more about the city as a whole?
DW: What I love about the show is this reoccurring theme of tragedy and healing coupled with a celebration of love. Keep in mind New Orleans has been marked with a history of natural disasters and in turn has been constantly forced to rebuild. They have rebuilt many times whilst maintaining a sense of pride and community. Upon arriving to the city to film, I discovered how it is the heart of celebration filled with so much culture, passion, and a sense of family.
Although your hands are tied, what are some details you can giveaway?
DW: The debut season of this new iteration features eight episodes. It is sexy, fun, exciting, heart-wrenching, shocking, pure chaos, and pure gold simultaneously. I truly feel viewers are going to love this.