Enquiring Minds Want To Know
della femina: Despite rumours to the contrary which have appeared on the MBTV boards, the three main actors in the original series were straight men. Did you sense a backlash amongst any segments of the gay community for this, or was everyone just blown away by what an amazing job the actors did regardless of their sexuality?
Russell T. Davies: Oh, plenty of people moaned about it -- I can see their point, that's just another expression of years of repression and under-representation, blah blah blah. But you don't cast to make a political point, you cast to make good drama, full stop. We cast the three best actors, simple as that. We didn't ask in audition if they were straight or gay, because I believe you can't. If you're applying for a job at Tesco's, you shouldn't be asked if you're straight or gay, and acting's a profession, like any other.
Besides, gay, straight, labels, bollocks! You wouldn't believe the number of gay actors who came in to audition and immediately offered the information that they were straight. Sad, really. And how the hell would they have coped with the publicity? Nightmare.
della femina: It's been written that the second series of QAF would have been longer if not for the fact that it was difficult to persuade Aidan Gillen to return to the role of Stuart. Was he wary of being typecast?
Russell T. Davies: There was no difficulty getting Aidan to return. He asked to see the script, of course, then said yes straight away. I wonder myself if he'd have done a full run, but we never got that far. I don't like speaking on his behalf -- but here I am! -- but I don't think Aidan ever worries about typecasting, as such. He doesn't think like that. He didn't like being high profile -- none of us expected that with the show. Can't blame him, it's a weird thing.
della femina: How would the series have been different if you'd had, say, another six episodes with which to work?
Russell T. Davies: First of all, Channel Four asked for a ten-hour sequel, very happy with the whole thing. I sat down to write the first hour, not sure myself if it was going to work, or whether we should stop it. So when you're at that stage, not knowing if anything is going to proceed, you don't start booking actors. You can't. You contact the agents, to see if there's an interest; you can't make any other commitment. And all three expressed an interest, which was fine. I soon discovered that the ten-parter wouldn't work (or rather, that I didn't want to write it), so it didn't get any further than that; it immediately became a two-hour wrap-up. I decided two hours -- Channel Four would have taken two, four, six [hours], all were discussed. But I knew there were only two hours left before I repeated myself. So I suppose when I was vaguely plotting the aborted ten-hour version, I was considering alternatives if Aidan didn't want to do a full run. But I was doing the same for Craig [Kelly, who played Vince], and for Charlie [Hunnam, who played Nathan], even for Denise [Black, who played Hazel]. It's part of the job.