When his childhood best friend comes for a visit, Alex struggles to reveal the truth about the man he has become.
Alex’s childhood best friend is coming for a visit, but he’s not exactly looking forward to the reunion. He has changed since the last time they met and, despite his girlfriend’s reassurance, Alex isn’t sure he’s ready to face Charlotte and be reminded of a past he’s spent years recovering from.
Nervous as hell and desperate for the visit to go smoothly, Alex tidies the house and removes all traces of his secret and his life with Kate.
From the moment she arrives, Charlotte is happy to see Alex. She seems oblivious to Alex’s discomfort as he tries to resemble the person he used to be in order to avoid rejection. As they catch up on old times Charlotte gently pursues Alex. When her flirtation gets too close, a fumble and spilled wine sends Alex storming from the room, leaving a surprised Charlotte in his wake.
In the solace of his bedroom Alex remembers the pain of his journey, while in the kitchen Charlotte makes a discovery that leaves her confused and angry.
When they confront each other again, Alex reveals his true self and tests whether the threads of their childhood friendship are strong enough to survive.
I’m intrigued by the intimacies between people, what we reveal of ourselves and what we hide from others, whether we follow our hearts or act on other people’s expectations of us. As I add to my work both as a writer and director, I recognise that much of my exploration happens in this territory and that my first serious dramatic film, Actually Alex, is no exception.
We all have little secrets. There are many truths about ourselves that we choose to hide or reveal depending on how brave or safe we might feel on any given day. But what happens when being your true self can’t be hidden, but revealing your secret means risking rejection from someone you love.
In 2011 Aotearoa/New Zealand was to conduct a census, a gathering of the nation’s statistics that was postponed due to the Christchurch earthquakes. When the census went ahead in 2013, it was still missing a tiny alteration that would mean nothing to many people, but would mean the world to the people who were affected:
Q3. Are you? Male Female other
In the middle of all the census politics I found Alex, and in Alex I found the heart that would allow people to consider the world from his perspective.
GLBTQI representation on screen is still marginalised and positive reflections can be hard to come by. The biggest challenge in bringing this story to life was always going to be finding the right person to embody the role of Alex, someone who could authentically portray the character and the complexities of his story. With that in mind, we threw the casting net wide and auditioned across a diverse range of gender, age and authenticity. From the moment I auditioned Cole Meyers I was excited by the realism his personal experience brings to Alex.
Actually Alex explores the reconciliation of the past to the present from a fresh perspective and provides the chance to give visibility to a community who struggle to be seen on a standard membership form, let alone on screen.