Directed by Jonathan Butterell in their feature film debut with the movie adaptation of the musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie are none other than Max Harwood and Lauren Patel. Max plays the titular character, Jamie New, a sixteen-year old who dreams of becoming a drag queen. Lauren plays the role of his friend, Pritti Pasha. It is with the support of Jamie’s dear mom and great friends that he finds the confidence and reassurance to step into the spotlight of showing the world who he really is. The film is playing in select theaters now and will premiere on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, September 17.
I got to interview Max, Lauren, and Jonathan about Everybody’s Talking About Jamie a couple weeks ago, and you can watch + read our interview below…
I asked Max and Lauren what it was like taking on Everybody’s Talking About Jamie for their first-ever movie role. Max told me that “it was daunting in many ways.” He went on to say that he “couldn’t have asked for a better creative team and production team to be at the helm” to guide him through it all.
Lauren Patel said that there was a certain level of comfort knowing that she wasn’t alone in feeling the pressure of their debut because “it was so many people’s first films or first musicals or first films of this scale, and so it all felt like we were figuring it out together.”
Not only was this Haywood and Patel’s first-ever acting project, but they also had the added challenge of singing with it. Lauren says that “it was intense. I haven’t acted, sung, or danced professionally ever, and I haven’t danced really ever at all…”
She added that she “had to do it all in my very first job with about a month’s notice from when I got the job to when we started shooting. So that was quite intense.” At the end of the day, she just had to tell herself, “Okay, this is your shot. You’ve got to give it absolutely everything you’ve got.”
Max loves singing, and he fell in love with the soundtrack, so this role was especially perfect for him: “I love singing so much, and I love the music. Dan Gillespie Sells and Tom MacRae, who wrote the soundtrack for this film, are so brilliant, and the songs were like a little gift.”
Harwood added that he was “so glad [he] got to be part of this amazing soundtrack.” The soundtrack features the cast of the musical as well as special additions from Holly Johnson, Chaka Khan, Todrick Hall, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, and more, which Max says were “all such amazing people to be a part of the album with.”
Speaking of the soundtrack, the film adaptation features eleven of the songs from the stage production with one entirely new song titled “This Was Me” written specifically for the movie. I asked Everybody’s Talking About Jamie director Jonathan Butterell what led him to include the brand new song:
“It felt essential for me to tell that story. It’s a story of my generation, and I also wanted to make sure that story of my generation was passed on to Jamie’s generation, essentially, and then hopefully that goes out into the world.”
Max and Lauren are a pair of incredible young talent, and considering that they’re starring and singing in a big new musical, I had to ask the two stars what kind of music they have been listening to lately.
Max said, “I’ve been listening back to Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill. I’ve been listening to Brandi Carlile. I’ve been throwing it back to those old albums.”
Lauren had a different response, saying, “I’m always listening to some form of Harry Styles or Taylor Swift, in general. But I think Pony by Rex Orange County and Hozier’s album… Hozier has, like, some of my favorite albums of all time.”
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is now playing in select theaters — including The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta — and will premiere on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, September 17.