Back in 1999, when Russell T Davies’ Queer As Folk first burst on to the UK’s Channel 4, causing a stir both within the LGBTQ+ community and the mainstream press, as well as creating much-needed gay representation on the small screen, actor and musician Fin Argus was just one year old. They’re now starring in Closet Monster writer-director Stephen Dunn’s reimagining of the series, which premieres on Peacock on Thursday, June 9th. Dunn, Argus and their co-star Devin Way, were at last Friday night’s 33rd GLAAD Media Awards to give attendees a special sneak peek of the show.
On GLAAD Awards red carpet, Fin Argus spoke with The Queer Review’s editor James Kleinmann about their character on Queer As Folk (high schooler Mingus), why they wanted to be involved in the show, how coming into their own queerness mirrored their character’s journey, creating a familial dynamic with their screen mom Juliette Lewis, their experience of performing in drag on the series, and why The Perks of Being A Wallflower is their favourite movie.
James Kleinmann, The Queer Review: How aware were you of the original series when you were approached about this reimagining and why was it something that you wanted to be involved in?
Fin Argus: “I was about one year old when the original show came out! But I’ve recently gone back and watched it because of course I wanted to do my research. I got involved with this one because I was a huge fan of showrunner and creator Stephen Dunn’s work. I’d seen his film Closet Monster, that I found super inspiring, and so when he shared the script for Queer As Folk with me I got so excited about it. I’m really passionate about queer storytelling, so it’s been a gift be a part of this new iteration.”
Tell us a bit about your character about what you enjoyed about portraying them.
“This is actually the first time I’ve ever played a queer character, which is kind of wild. I’ve always played a very boy-next-door type of character, but I’ve really come into my queerness and I also got to do that on screen in a really fascinating way. It’s not a coming out story, but it is a coming of age story. You see Mingus find themself and find their queer community, which is a pretty universal experience for queer people growing up and I’ve always wanted to tell that story. So this is my first chance and I had such a good time.”
Screen legend Juliette Lewis is your screen mom on Queer As Folk, what was it like playing opposite her?
“I got to film a lot of scenes with Juliette Lewis. She is a star, she is such a talent and I got to learn a lot from her. She makes very bold choices but still keeps it grounded. Having her as a scene partner was exciting every single time. We got that familial dynamic from the get-go. I don’t know what that was, but we just got along and we really saw each other. I feel lucky that we got partnered.”
How experienced were you in doing drag before starting work on the series?
“The first time I’ve ever done drag in the traditional sense was for the show. I was a little nervous at first because I didn’t know if I could turn it out on stage. But I’ve always been a performer. I play music and I do concerts, so I melded my acting and music worlds together. Getting into makeup and the wig for the first time—everyone says this, but it’s true—I came alive. There was this ferocious attitude that was born from within. Which sounds dramatic, but it’s true.”
Part of GLAAD’s mission is accelerating LGBTQ+ acceptance through representations in media. When did you first see yourself in something on screen?
“The first time I really saw myself reflected in TV or film was in the movie The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Ezra Miller plays a character named Patrick and he’s openly gay and has a boyfriend. At a certain point in the movie he does this androgynous drag for a Rocky Horror Picture Show live performance. When I saw that my mind was blown, because I’d never seen androgyny in that way before and I had never seen such self-actualized and self-assured queerness. He really inspired me. That character kind of brought my queerness to life. It’s my favorite movie and I go back and watch it all the time.”
By James Kleinmann
Queer As Folk premieres on Peacock on Thursday, June 9th 2022.