Brandon Flynn on Pride Month, Queering Horror, and Working With Lisa Kudrow
In our Q&A series Last Call, we get down to the bottom of every last thing with some of our favourite celebs – from the last time they were starstruck to the last song they listened to. This week, Brandon Flynn takes our call.
You might know Brandon Flynn from his role as Justin in “13 Reasons Why,” but the actor’s career is just getting started. Soon, he’ll star in “The Parenting,” a comedy for HBO Max with an all-star cast. He’s also starring in the new version of the iconic horror film “Hellraiser.”
“Being from Florida, there’s an interesting duality that goes on. It’s such a beautiful, expansive place with beautiful expansive people, with unfortunate politics.”
This Pride Month, Flynn is partnering with Bubly to promote their short film, “Coming Home.” The film is all about LGBTQ+ safe spaces and chosen families, and features Naomi McPherson from MUNA and drag queen Eureka O’Hara. Bubly is also donating $100,000 to the Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative, which is dedicated to supporting LGBTQ+ venues as safe spaces.
“To me, that just feels really important and resonates a lot with what’s happening right now . . . [and the] unsettling feeling of the country, the world,” Flynn says. The actor explains that the first time he experienced the importance of a queer chosen family and safe space was when he came out at the age of 14. He was attending a performing arts high school in Miami.
“I was around people who were singing and dancing around the hallways and expressing themselves in artistic ways,” he says. “I was just always supported and uplifted and invited to do the same . . . I have immense gratitude for having that experience so early on.”
Because of that experience of growing up gay in Florida and finding a safe space at school, Flynn was deeply affected by news of the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which prohibits discussions of sexual orientation or gender identity in schools.
“Being from Florida, there’s an interesting duality that goes on. It’s such a beautiful, expansive place with beautiful expansive people, with unfortunate politics,” he says. “When you think about going to school, it’s a full-time thing. You go for a really long time, and to have a legislation that doesn’t really support education or growth, but in fact, veers the other way, is sincerely disappointing.”
Something very special to Flynn is that his next two projects are unabashedly queer. He stars in “The Parenting” with Nick Dodani. In the movie, the pair play a couple who get their parents together to meet for the first time at a rental house in the country. The comedy’s cast includes Lisa Kudrow, Parker Posey, Edie Falco, and Brian Cox.
“It was pretty nerve-wracking the first few days,” Flynn admits about working with so many icons, but he calls them “the most welcoming people.” He adds that Kudrow in particular would sometimes give him a little boost. “She’d walk off from a shot and be like, ‘Hey, what you did, that was really funny,'” he says.
They also got up to their share of hijinks during filming, which wrapped in May. “Nick was desperate to prank people, but Nick is so sweet and kind, and will preface a prank by saying, ‘Do you like to be pranked?'” he says. Though their pranks failed, they did record lots of silly Snapchat filters with Falco.
Flynn’s other big upcoming project is the new version of “Hellraiser,” set to be released on Hulu later this year. It’s a reboot of the 1987 original. Flynn is a huge horror fan, and he’s excited that the new adaptation takes the story’s queer subtext and makes it explicit.
“‘Hellraiser”s based on a story that is really a big metaphor for Clive Barker as a closeted man experiencing BDSM culture,” Flynn explains. “We got to be the first, in 11 [Hellraiser] movies, we are the first movie to have gay characters. The high priestess, also known as Pinhead is played by Jamie Clayton, this beautiful trans actress. It just feels like a prophecy fulfilled, and I’m really excited for the world to see that one.”
Keep reading to see what else Flynn has to say about his “The Parenting” costars, his favourite songs, and more.
What was the last day on “The Parenting” set like?
There were COVID scares. It was intense, but it was sad, but also we were making a comedy, so everyone was trying to be happy. It was weird.
Who is the last “The Parenting” costar you texted?
When was the last time you were starstruck?
What was the last song you listened to?
Oliver Sim’s “Hideous.” He’s about to come up with this new album, and it’s so good. The music videos that go hand in hand with it are really powerful.
What was the last album you bought or streamed?
It’s kind of on constant repeat, “Jagged Little Pill” by Alanis Morissette.
What is the last photo in your camera roll?
Last night I took a picture with one of my best friends, Dylan. It was his birthday. We went shuffle boarding in Brooklyn.
What was the last show you binge-watched?
“Julia” on HBO Max.
What was the last movie you watched?
It’s probably something on Criterion Channel that I fell asleep to.
What was the last thing you bought online?
Vitamin C packs on Amazon.
What was the last thing you did for self-care?
I meditated this morning.
What was the last book you read?
“The Untethered Soul” by Michael Alan Singer.
What was the last gift you received?
A t-shirt on “The Parenting.”
What was the last trip you went on?
I went upstate, [to] upstate New York. I just stayed in a little farmhouse.
What was the last piece of advice you received that changed your life?
Relax, you’re doing fine.