Have you been watching this season of American Crime? It's on my list of shows to binge watch when I get the time. After reading this interview of Joey Pollari by Richard Lawson in Vanity Fair , the show has moved to the top of the binge watching list.
I was told that other actors had turned it down,” Joey Pollari says of his tricky, potentially controversial role on the second season of American Crime, ABC’s dark, insightful ensemble piece about the ripple effects of a sexual assault at a private school. “I don’t understand why.” Before being cast on American Crime, Pollari, 21, was perhaps best known for his starring role as an awkward, horny, red-blooded heterosexual teen on the short-lived American adaptation of the raunchy, laddish British comedy The Inbetweeners. He’s got an entirely different kind of job now, playing Eric, a gay jock, closeted at the beginning of the season, whose anger and aggression is turned both inward and outward, harming himself and those around him—women, other gay kids, etc. He’s a stereotypical brutish high-school athlete, but one laden with some deep, relatable anguish, illustrated carefully by the show’s writers.
So, why would any actor pass up an opportunity to play such complexity? “I don’t understand why people were running away from it,” Pollari told me over the phone last week. “I was excited to delve into [it].” (Did his handlers—agents and managers and publicists and the like—ever raise any objections? “No, never.”) He and the other young actors who form the center of this season (like American Horror Story, American Crime—not to be confused with American Crime Story, which follows a similar model—is an anthology series that changes season to season) have been on a demanding press regimen since the premiere. It's been especially busy for Pollari and Connor Jessup, who plays the (also gay) victim of the inciting sexual assault, a blurry crime that spirals out to affect fellow students, as well as faculty and parents.
They’ve been kept so busy doing interviews, I suspect, because it’s rare to see a series, let alone one on network television, that explores teenage sexual identity—cisgender male homosexuality, to be specific—in such frank, nuanced, contemporary terms. (The show also grapples with race and class issues in deft, surprising ways.) Naturally, journalists, gay or otherwise, are eager to talk about that, and Pollari acknowledges that the season has had some watershed moments in that vein. “[In one scene,] Eric says, ‘I’m gay but I’m not a faggot,’ which was the first time that that word was said on ABC. I was told moments before shooting. That baffles me, considering all the other words that are allowed, and some that aren’t allowed.” But he sees his character’s arc as being about more than just a conflicted gay teen. “From moment one, it seemed like it was about something so much bigger than his sexuality. It was about shame, and male aggression, and that conversation within sports. I couldn’t wait to be part of that tapestry.” – vanityfair.com
Have you watched American Crime this season?
How has the show done to tackle such an issue?
If you haven't heard of the show before, here is the preview that was released for season 2.
H/T: Vanity Fair