Eastsiders stars address tackling controversial subjects in ‘regressed’ climate

The fourth and final season of Eastsiders has landed onto Netflix, seeing Thom and Cal navigate their open relationship while their friends Quincy and Douglas tie the knot at their very own drag themed wedding.

And after pausing our lives for the past six hours to binge watch the show, Metro.co.uk got to chat to the stars and directors of the Netflix hit, Kit Williamson and John Halbach.

The pair, who married back in 2016, opened up on tackling controversial subjects in the current political climate, and how the film industry has progressed for the LGBTQ community since they first started working on the show back in 2012.

‘I think the show is the dialectic on love,’ Kit explained: ‘It’s really about tackling the hard questions in long term queer relationships, because I don’t think we get a lot of representation of long term queer relationships.’

The 34-year-old plays Cal, who lives in a swanky Los Angeles apartment with his boyfriend Thom (Van Hansis) while struggling to pay the bills through his photography career.

After being together for four years, the pair decide to open up their relationship – but still stay very much in love with each other.

Kit went onto raise the questions surrounding commitment and marriage, adding: ‘As queer people, we really have to forge our own path, because the path laid out for us by our parents may not work for us.

‘And there’s a lot of power in that that can be very liberating. But it’s also really scary because we don’t have as many models to follow as straight people do.’

The characters embark on a journey that sees them experiment with their relationship, finding themselves between the sheets with numerous other lovers.

But despite there being a montage of eight threesomes in season three, Kit and John made sure the sex scenes were tastefully done.

‘The first season, I didn’t include any sex scenes, and there was no nudity for the first three seasons of the show,’ Kit said: ‘And I feel like in season four, hopefully we’ve earned the audience’s trust that there’s nothing exploitative about the show.’


Expressing how Eastsiders started out as a YouTube series, the actor laughed: ‘I’m going to make a gay web series on YouTube in 2012. What is that? I wanted to make sure that it was not viewed as exploitative or pornographic in any way. It has steered clear entirely and had all of the scenes be pre and post coital.

‘I’m really inspired by shows like Fleabag and Insecure, and their depiction of sex and relationships. Fleabag in particular, is just like really unapologetic. I am obsessed with Phoebe Waller Bridge I want to be the gay American male version of her when I grow up.’

He gushed: ‘I’ve read that a lot people kind of accused the first season of her show of being a little tawdry. And if you look at it on a just shot to shot basis, it’s not – there’s no nudity.’

One major story arc that is introduced in season four is through John’s character, Ian, who is a straight man that begins to experiment – however, he refuses to put a label on himself, because why should he?

‘Well, I will admit in the beginning, I was self-conscious about playing a straight guy,’ the producer confessed: ‘There was always that little like, seventh grader voice my head anyway saying, “people are going to be able to tell you’re gay, people are going to think you’re gay. You can’t pull this off.” But then for the most part, people say I did okay.’

His husband added: ‘I could write a whole season about Ian’s kind of sexual renaissance this season.

‘It’s not coming out and it’s not a realisation on his behalf. It’s just a realisation on the audience’s behalf that people are more complicated you know? Even after spending three seasons with them.’

Not to give too many spoilers away, but if you’ve watched the trailer you’ll already be aware that Ian’s partner Hillary (Brianna Brown) falls pregnant.

He immediately thinks she will abort the child after his ex-girlfriend Kathy (Constance Wu) fell pregnant and went through the procedure without consulting him.

Kit said of the scene: ‘So many friends of mine have had that experience and the idea that anybody should feel stigma or shame for removal what amounts to a cluster of unformed cells from their own body in the early stages of a pregnancy? It is wild to me.’


He added: ‘It’s so sad that anybody would come out of that experience with baggage and shame. And if I can do anything to alleviate that shame.

‘I’m from Jackson, Mississippi, which has one clinic that performs abortions in the entire state and it is constantly under assault by the state legislature is constantly under the threat of being shut down through restrictions and laws that they pass to target the doctors at the facility.

‘It is constantly surrounded by protesters and threatened with violence. And the doctors are personally targeted. We’re talking death threats, which for somebody claiming to be pro-life is pretty f**king rich.’

Addressing Donald Trump, he said: ‘I hate the motherf**ker.

‘It’s sad to me to see politics or political leaders regressed in a time when I think the country itself has made such advancements. We were actually just in the UK for 12 days and I was struck by the parallels between the political climate there and here, where everybody is just a little bit bewildered by how we got to this place.’


‘Look at Roe v. Wade, look at how people are still fighting against that decision decades later. You know, it is a reminder to be vigilant. It’s a reminder that there are forces out there working against equality at all times.

‘So, you got to work towards equality at all times. And you got to be a good ally at all times to women, people of colour, to any marginalised group. You’ve got to stand together and form a coalition because otherwise the enemy will overtake you.’

Despite the repressed climate, Kit admitted he’s seen the film industry have a ‘seismic shift’ in terms of LGBTQ representation in the last five years.

‘I follow all sorts of media reporting very closely,’ he insisted: ‘And I do believe we’re at a record high in terms of LGBTQ representation in television. That said, we’re still very rarely the centre of the story.

‘I think that we’re at a point now, where it’s tempting for the powers at be on the internet to just pat themselves on the back and say, “well, job well done. We’ve fixed queer representation,” and then walk away from our stories. We’ve got to really fight to keep our stories out there.

‘I see a link with LGBTQ gay rights and the increase in LGBTQ representation. I really think that they’re connected.’

Eastsiders seasons one to four are available to stream on Netflix.

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