The anticipated film adaption of award-winning West End musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is about to launch on Amazon Prime so we jumped on a call with lead actor Max Harwood to talk about landing his first movie, a creative education and what’s next on the agenda. 

This is Max Harwood’s first film role but you probably wouldn’t have guessed that as he shines on screen as Jamie New. For those who may not have seen or heard of the stage production, Max summed up his character by saying, “Jamie is a teenager from Sheffield who is on his journey of stepping into his most authentic self and pursuing his dream of becoming a global superstar and global drag queen… that’s probably the simplest explanation of what he’s going through.” 

Growing up Max was pretty creative, doing amateur dramatics as a hobby in his home town which later led him into studying drama and music at college. He mentioned, “I ended up at one of my favourite places I wanted to go, the Guildford School of Acting where I did a year’s foundation course.” During his time at the school an open audition call for Everybody’s Talking About Jamie came up and Max revealed it was actually his friend Lydia who gave him a (friendly) push to go for it so he gave it a go… and the rest is history!

Max shared how unique the production experience was, not just because it was his first film role but it was also Jonathan Butterell’s directorial debut who was actually the director of the hit musical on stage. “It was really special, I had obviously not worked on a film before so I didn’t know what to expect. Often not the creators of the original show don’t get to be involved so it was brilliant our producers decided that was the right thing for this story, a story that’s rooted in truth and authenticity, we’re really telling the story directly from the point that it stemmed from and I think that’s really important. Hopefully, it will set it apart and make it feel special.” Max also mentioned the bond and friendship he grew during shooting with his co-star Lauren Patal (who plays his best friend Pritti) was a highlight of the experience.

Max reflected on what he hoped people may take away from watching the film, “I hope that it not only speaks to the existing queer community but speaks on a more universal level for young people wanting to step into themselves and find their place in the world.” He added that he also hoped people that are helping navigate those times would “be open and not only accepting and tolerating, but to be loving and give love, joy and moments to those people. The story is really simple, it’s about somebody who just wants to be themselves and we’re at a time in the world right now where more than ever we need to be making sure we create safe spaces for people to do that – I really hope this film allows more conversations and safe spaces.” 

The pandemic did throw a spanner in the works in the ‘Jamie universe’ as Max calls it but it didn’t completely stop the ball rolling on the release of the production and future plans for the stage show which is due for a run down under in 2022. “I shot the film in the summer of 2019, I’ve worked on it for a long time and I’m really now ready for people to see it – although covid has been hard, it’s been a really good time for me to step into a place in my career where I’m really happy. I had the opportunity to do some other things and get myself ready for this journey of people finally getting to see my performance and I’m really, really excited” he shared. 

Between shooting Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and now, Max has been working away on other projects which are due to release soon. I asked him what could be next on the agenda. Max expressed wanting to do things that challenged him and also “continuing to create space for other people to be able to tell their stories and give voice to real stories as well. I’m excited about the opportunity I might get to continue to share lived experiences on screen that have really important messages. I feel like it’s the sort of work I want to be putting out and creating.” Being the multi-talented human that he is, Max is also working on one of his biggest passions, music, and that is something we could see in the next year or so! He overall wants to “continue to expand and evolve as a creative person, musician and actor.” This ‘newcomer’ is ready to make serious waves and we can’t wait to see what he does next! 

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is available exclusively on Amazon Prime Video this Friday 17th September. You can check out the trailer here.