Actors Noah Galvin’s and Austin Crute’s roles in the new movie, “Booksmart” — in theaters today — is bringing diverse LGBTQ representation in a film enriched with LGBTQ youth navigating their identities.
“Alan basically gave me as Austin the liberty to explore queerness in a more organic feminine energy way,” said Crute, the singer, songwriter, producer and performer who plays Alan, “an eccentric musical theater kid,” in the movie. “I went to school in Georgia at a private Catholic school. I’m a pastor’s kid so I grew up in the church. I did not have any room to be queer at all, and nobody around me was openly queer.”
Crute, who identifies as queer, noted that this is the first time he’s played a character who’s gay, and it’s been a part of his journey with his identity.
“Accepting roles like this and being challenged as a professional to portray another person that’s going through similar things… Alan was therapeutic for me as well because when I first got the role at the time I had just told my parents about myself. I think me stepping into this character is like a beacon of freedom. It’s a time marker of progress for me personally,” he said.
His openly-gay co-star in “Booksmart,” advocate Galvin, also plays the character of an openly gay character, George, who’s a self-proclaimed theater director. While there are parallels between his personal identity and George’s, Galvin marveled at how the movie normalizes the visibility of several LGBTQ characters rather than having LGBTQ characters whose identities are tokenized.
“The other day, I spoke to a friend who attended a screening of the movie, and I referred to Kaitlyn Dever’s character, Amy, as the queer character, and my friend said ‘which one?’ and I realized that there are at least four queer characters in this movie,” Galvin told HRC. “This film beautifully showcases representation of more realistic queer characters on movies, and I think that it is something to be celebrated.”
Crute agreed that the audience will find the LGBTQ characters in the film genuine.
“This movie is authentic… because Amy had come out for two years and still hadn’t kissed a girl, and that kind of phenomenon has to be recognized,” Crute said. “[Coming out] is a very wide spectrum of exploration, insecurity, inexperience and a whole bunch of stuff.”
Galvin’s coming out journey began with bringing visibility to television screens nationwide with his role as Kenny, an openly gay teenager, in “The Real O’Neals.” From there, he became more involved with LGBTQ groups like HRC, the Trevor Project and more.
“Playing a character who comes out; it was at the time rare that an actual gay or queer person got to play a queer character… I saw this as a beautiful opportunity for authentic representation, so I decided to publicly come out,” he said.
As a gay man in the public sphere, Galvin knows LGBTQ youth will look up to him, especially those struggling to reconcile with their identities.
“It’s a two-fold. I think if you truly can’t be your true self because it endangers yourself, then it’s good to find content and people to look up to, that you want to emulate,” Galvin said. “On the other side of that, the two-fold, us as actors and people in the public eye, to be role models… it makes us think critically and carefully and live life with conviction and authenticity.”
Both Crute and Galvin emphasize “Booksmart” is a movie that has something for everyone, especially LGBTQ teens.
“I think it’s a really great story that communicates normalcy to LGBTQ people,” Crute said.