We get to see the lives of these characters play out on the screen, but what about what we don't see? First Person Perspective lets us go behind the role, and find out more about the heroes of our story. Today, director Danny Gorman delves deeper into the background of Justin.
Justin is kind of an enigma. I don’t mean that he is a mystical force of wisdom and virtue, or that his background is shrouded in mystery, though I could make a decent argument for both. (I won’t. Three to five paragraphs. Keep it concise, Danny.) He is an enigma in the sense that we don’t know much about him, but we buy into him as a reliable character anyway.
Justin bridges gaps within the world of the characters and in the world of the series. I like to think of Justin as the third point in a triangle. He keeps the structure standing. At home, he exists in the magnetically charged field between Nicki and Dylan’s eccentric poles, sliding precariously in whichever direction will keep things from collapsing. He is also a manifestation of the “outside world” within the four walls of home. If we look at this show in two realms – Nicki’s life outside the apartment, and Nicki’s life at home – Justin occupies both. He, too, has a life outside of this apartment, though we may only ever see him at home. What does he do in his free time? Good question. Enigmaaaaaaaaa. What he does for this show, however, is grounds it in reality.
One of the things that I absolutely love about Justin is the specificity of his ambiguity. For example, two facts about Justin: he is a young director, and he is gay. You will only see one of these put into relief this season. (Spoiler alert: it’s not the gay one.) The show makes no mention of Justin’s sexuality because it doesn’t have to. It is something that is assumed without the purpose of making a statement. Let’s be real, that is kind of how life works. People don’t just stand around the water cooler talking about how their sexuality dictated their day. Justin’s sexuality is not his defining characteristic, and I love the respectful disregard with which the writing supports that. So, if you were expecting the archetypal GBF with flags a-wavin’ and fingers a-snappin’, you’re not going to find it here. You’re just going to find a guy who, within 20 seconds of walking through the door at the end of the day, has stripped down to sweatpants and cut up show shirts.
This is the kind ambiguity that feeds me as an actor. Having little secrets that I can share with my character and my character alone is my jam. No one needs to know that his favorite snack food is Pizza Blasted Goldfish crackers, but that detail is rich and full of opportunities for me to play with.
As I look forward into production, I am equally eager and terrified to be playing a character that is not only written for me, but shares so many aspects of my life. It is an exciting challenge to take on, drawing that very fine line between where my experiences end and Justin’s begin. My solution: I’ll just have fun with it. Maybe I’ll give him a limp.
[Edit: my director says not to have that much fun with it.]