A new film is in the works that brings together a homeless transgender man, a drag queen and a corrupt lawyer to tell a compelling story using authentically queer characters.
Called "God Made Man," the project comes from Nate Locklear and Kayla Olson, two individuals who want to tell queer stories in unconventional ways. This film, currently engaged in a Kickstarter campaign, follows the homeless transgender man's character as he gets sucked into a scheme concocted by the drag queen in order to extort the corrupt lawyer.
"We're not going to shy away from the truths of the streets and the lifestyles where many feel the need to hide their identity," Locklear told The Huffington Post. "These characters are hurting but we root for them (well except maybe the antagonist) because they're honest depictions of people -- not just LGBTQIA+ people."
The Huffington Post chatted with Locklear this week to learn more about "God Made Man."
The Huffington Post: What is your overarching vision for this project?
Nate Locklear: We all wear masks -- a tagline for our film and a line of dialog from the antagonist. Leading double lives and seeking redemption, three disparate people collide in this urban purgatory. Rhett, a homeless transgender man, tired of drifting from couch-to-couch craves stability and acceptance. His friend, Doyle, a gay drag queen, turning tricks for rent money, plots a reckless blackmail scheme but needs Rhett’s help to pull it off. And Ted, a corrupt lawyer running for District Attorney is consumed by his sex addiction and bouts of scopophobia while secretly sustaining a human trafficking ring. One winter night, these three forsaken souls converge and are shockingly changed forever.
How are you attempting to tell authentic queer stories through this project?
Our entire team is supporters of the LGBTQIA+ community. We've already reached out to several organizations to discuss our project and to many people living lifestyles similar to the characters in this story. Even though the story is intense and tough we wanted to make sure we're not ignorantly offending anyone. We're not going to shy away from the truths of the streets and the lifestyles where many feel the need to hide their identity. These characters are hurting but we root for them (well except maybe the antagonist) because they're honest depictions of people -- not just LGBTQIA+ people.
In our last project together, "Once You Leave," the lead character, played by Kayla (creator, co-writter of "God Made Man") is a lesbian, but instead of making a huge deal about this in the story it's never expressly mentioned in the series. We as an audience know she's a lesbian but I decided in writing not to put any labels on her through dialog necessarily. She loves her best friend, who happens to be a female. And so many fans loved this about the series. Not because it was as simple as just leaving terminology out but because we treated it as something completely "normal," which it is and should be. We respected our characters enough and put them in a world where love is love.
What do you want people to take away?
We hope that the LGBTQIA+ community gets some really entertaining dramatic content. We hope they feel represented in an honest way and realize we didn't shy away from the tough subjects -- that we showed people in all their failures and all their glory. I also hope we can bring heterosexual and cisgender audiences in because of the fascinating and diverse characters and hopefully for the great filmmaking. We need films that take chances and have diverse casts. Growing up I always felt cinema was a magical place and I always felt welcome. I don't think that's true for everyone. And it makes me so sad. Everyone deserves that entrainment and to feel they too are being represented.
On another level, I hope this inspires indie female filmmakers. Kayla has come a long way in a tough industry and she's still kicking. She originally created the world of "God Made Man," wrote the initial screenplay, technically hired me to collaborate and is now producing it. That takes guts and she should be applauded.
Want to see more from "God Made Man"? Head here to visit the project's Kickstarter campaign.
Also on HuffPost: