Written and directed by Oscar-nominated Gladiator, The Aviator, and Hugo scribe John Logan, the film tells the story of a group of young LGBTQ+ folks who are made to attend Whistler Camp, a conversion therapy camp run by Kevin Bacon's character Owen Whistler.
Though at the beginning it has an unassuming veneer, the camp does, in fact, contain all of the horrors one can expect from the malicious, debunked practice of "conversion therapy" (a.k.a. forcefully trying to get people to change their sexualities or gender identities). Although our campers have enough to worry about, there is also another evil terrorizing Whistler: a maniacal killer who is on the loose.
Out got the chance to speak to the cast and creators of They/Them — including screen icon Kevin Bacon, The Politician's Theo Germaine, Austin Crute, Cooper Koch, Darwin Del Fabrio, Monique Kim, Anna Lore, producer Scott Turner Schofield, and writer-director John Logan — about crafting the film, telling these characters' stories through a horror/slasher lens, the real-life terrors and implications of conversion therapy camps, and more.
"John wanted to make a movie about this horrible reality, and instead of making a drama, he decided to put it in a genre that is very accessible to a lot of people," Bacon told Out about the way Logan crafted They/Them in a way that would get the message out about the evils of conversion therapy to a wider audience of people.
Speaking on the truly terrifying performance he gave as head camp counselor Owen Whistler, a man who can expertly cover up his homophobia and transphobia under kind words and friendly smiles, he added:
"John and I talked a lot about doing my absolute best to not let that anger and fear that [Owen] is operating from slip in, to be as easy and as charming and as low-key as possible. It's that combination of things that, you then set that up and then you can flip it later on and it makes the real terror of who [Owen] is a little bit scarier."
"Playing a character that is more confident than me sometimes teaches me to be more confident," Germaine, who plays nonbinary Whistler Camp attendee Jordan (They/Them's main protagonist) told Out about getting to play a character who is already sure of themselves and secure in their gender identity, despite outside forces trying to change who they are. "It was really cool to play a badass who knows who they are and is not going let anything mess with them."
They/Them is now streaming on Peacock.