In Slash, a disarming comedy set against the intertwining worlds of slash fiction and cosplay, Michael Johnston stars as Neil, an awkward teen who devotes his spare time to writing gay-infused fantasies. Though initially taken aback by Slash's opening scene, which depicts an intergalactic yarn featuring two beefcake space warriors fighting and then fervently going at it, Johnston related to the film's in-your-face material.
"I knew a lot about fan fic because of my voice-over experience, specifically in video games and cartoons," says the actor, best known for his role as Corey on MTV's Teen Wolf. "I did a video game called Tales of Zestiria, where I played one of the two male leads, and there is a lot of gay slash fiction between them out there."
Johnston honed his voice-over skills, which are employed when Neil's daydreams play out in live action, through bedroom recording sessions in his childhood home in Rutherfordton, N.C. But while the opportunity to use those skills drew him to the part, he was also curious about the idea of slash-fic fetishism.
"Is this people's masturbation material," Johnston wonders, "or are they just doing it for fun? I find it very interesting."
Such questions relate to Neil's journey--his identity, sexual and otherwise, is sensitively explored in Slash. "Everyone thinks they need to know what they are," Johnston says, "but I know from experience that there are so many people out there who don't. I think the theme of the movie is that that's OK."
Slash hits theaters December 9 and will also be available on iTunes. Pre-order now.
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