The eight-episode series, based on Alice Oseman’s Tumblr web-comic-turned-graphic-novel, follows Charlie Spring (Joe Locke), who feels isolated from his classmates at an all-boys school in England because he is gay. He finds himself inexplicably drawn to Nick Nelson (Kit Connor), a star player on the school’s rugby team, after an unexpected run-in.
The teens become fast friends and, over time, Charlie joins the rugby team himself, despite having zero interest in the sport. Though his friends presume that the athletic Nick is straight, Charlie himself isn’t so convinced.
“Heartstopper” marks Locke’s screen acting debut. Viewers may recognize Connor from his portrayal of a teenage Elton John in the 2019 musical biopic “Rocketman,” starring Taron Egerton.
Catch the “Heartstopper” trailer below.
Oseman initially launched “Heartstopper” online in 2016, basing much of the story on her own experiences growing up in small-town England. The graphic novel of the same name was published two years later. Since then, Oseman has continued Charlie and Nick’s story across three additional volumes.
In an interview with Attitude magazine published Wednesday, the author spoke at length about the challenges of adapting “Heartstopper” for Netflix. She told the publication that she chose to add additional characters to broaden the scope of LGBTQ identities in the series adaptation.
“I knew that I wanted ‘Heartstopper’ to have a diverse range of characters, and it wasn’t just focused on these two boys,” she said. “Lots of people were reading the story, and I wanted people to feel they could see themselves in it.”
Also speaking to Attitude, executive producer Patrick Walters said he and the creative team went to great lengths to choose LGBTQ actors for the series.
“There was never any option but to cast authentically,” he said. “But there was also a worry if we’d find these people, and we knew that if we didn’t find them, we couldn’t make the show.”
All eight episodes of “Heartstopper” will debut on Netflix on April 22.