Out got the chance to speak to the film's cast and crew about what it was like coming together to tell an important story like this, especially since there is still so much stigma surrounding HIV, their favorite coming-of-age movies from the past, queer characters being friends with other queer characters, and more.
"He's got so many characteristics that I wish I had when I was 17," Sivan tells Out when asked about what he liked best about playing a messy, horny, tumultuous character like Caleb. "He's headstrong and he's competent and he's kind of a brat. But underneath this external, tough shell though, it was immediately clear to me that there's a real, real, real sweetheart inside. And a sensitive boy. So I just fell in love with him. I really, really wanted to play him, and also just the thought for me that I could travel back in time, essentially 10 years ago, and be 17 again, and kind of go through all of that intensity of everything, it just sounded really fun to me."
"The most important thing in creating a queer teen as a protagonist in a film was to be honest and to reflect authentically, what it's like to be a queer kid living today" Friede added when asked about crafting Caleb. "He is messy. He does fuck up. But he means well and he has a heart of gold."
"Something else that was really important to me was the tone of the film and Caleb's voice. We, as queer people, deal with our trauma via humor and comedy. That's why we're funnier than straight people. I love when year films tap into that humor as a means of telling dark truths but also showing the joy that's possible for us when we are able to laugh at ourselves and take life with a bit of joy. That was really, really, really important to me, especially in a story that dealt with heavy themes and topics, to have it still be fun and energetic and romantic. It was a tricky, tight rope to walk, but I'm really proud of how it turned out."