Sean Teale

It’s a tale as old as time: big­oted re­li­gious bed and break­fast own­ers refuse to give a gay cou­ple a dou­ble room and have to pay through the nose as a re­sult. Well, it’s a tale as old as 2013 any­way, when it ac­tu­ally hap­pened, in­spir­ing new hor­ror-cum-com

Gay Times Magazine - - Contents - WORDS si­mon but­ton

It’s the case that made head­lines: In 2013 gay cou­ple Mar­tyn Hall and Steven Preddy sued Chris­tian bed and break­fast own­ers Peter and Hazel­mary Bull for re­fus­ing to let them share a dou­ble room and, in what amounted to a tri­umph for gay rights, the own­ers were forced to pay dam­ages for un­law­ful dis­crim­i­na­tion.

Mar­tyn and Steven’s story tick­led the fancy of film­maker Joe Ahearne, whose new film B&B is a pitch-black hor­ror com­edy imag­in­ing the re­turn of a fic­tional cou­ple (in this case mil­i­tant-minded Marc and his more de­mure part­ner Fred) to the Chris­tian-run bed and break­fast that re­fused them a dou­ble bed the pre­vi­ous year.

The writer-direc­tor de­scribes it as the leads from With­nail and I check­ing into the Bates Mo­tel, with the for­mer film’s Paul McGann playing a ho­mo­pho­bic B&B owner whose gay son is ter­ri­fied his se­cret will be re­vealed while, thanks to the pres­ence of a fore­bod­ing and mys­te­ri­ous Rus­sian guest, the cou­ple fear they’re go­ing to be hunted down.

Sign­ing on as nervy Fred, Sean Teale was im­pressed by the Shal­low Grave/Blood Sim­plein­spired tone. “It’s a crack­ing good story with two in­ter­est­ing characters we don’t of­ten see in a thriller,” says the star of Skins and the new X-Men spin-off The Gifted. “I love how it bal­ances scares with com­edy and a thought­pro­vok­ing story.”

Lively and out­go­ing in real life, the 25-yearold ac­tor en­joyed playing the po­lar op­po­site, the sort of gay I to Tom Bateman’s With­nail.

“Of the two of them Fred’s the more re­served one,” he says. “Fred wouldn’t bother go­ing back to a B&B that he’d been kicked out of pre­vi­ously. He knows ex­actly who he is and isn’t ashamed of it, but Marc is the more provoca­tive of the two.”

It’s a very funny, at times re­ally scary thriller but there are se­ri­ous themes. “I hope au­di­ences have a fun time watch­ing it and that they come away think­ing they’d never, ever go to a B&B that bans gay cou­ples,” Sean says drolly, then adds: “But it high­lights the prej­u­dice

that still goes on and it’s un­fath­omable to me, with all the progress that’s been made, how any­one would ever dis­crim­i­nate against oth­ers be­cause of their sex­u­al­ity, their gen­der, their race or the fact their skin is even slightly lighter or darker.”

Fred is de­scribed by Marc as a drama queen, which the ac­tor can def­i­nitely re­late to. “Just ask my girlfriend or any­one who knows me and they’ll tell you that I ab­so­lutely can be a drama queen,” laughs the man who is of Venezue­lan, Span­ish and Welsh ori­gins. “I think it comes with be­ing an ac­tor, plus my her­itage means I’m very pas­sion­ate. But I’m not squea­mish and I love scary movies so I wouldn’t be hid­ing be­hind the sofa watch­ing one.”

Best known as Nick Le­van on Skins and Prince Condé on Reign, Lon­don-born Sean is re­ally in the big league now thanks to a star­ring role on X-Men spin-off The Gifted. In the Fox TV show, which is set in an al­ter­na­tive uni­verse to the film fran­chise, he plays Mar­cos Diaz aka Eclipse – a rebel mu­tant who turned to drug-smug­gling af­ter his par­ents re­jected him.

The ac­tor gets why the X-Men uni­verse has such a strong LGBT+ fan­base. “The X-Men have al­ways been used as a metaphor for so­cial strug­gles. In­stead of just be­ing he­roes that ev­ery­body ad­mires, they’re vic­tims of other peo­ple’s ha­tred and fear and sus­pi­cion purely be­cause they’re dif­fer­ent. I feel like that un­for­tu­nately res­onates with the LGBT+ com­mu­nity be­cause they’re of­ten made to feel that way too when they shouldn’t be due to ig­no­rant, ar­chaic men­tal­i­ties based on the fear of some­thing un­known.”

Then there’s the out­sider theme, with

Sean pon­der­ing: “These characters aren’t su­per­heroes don­ning ex­pen­sive metal suits or fly­ing crazy ve­hi­cles to save the world from an unimag­in­able evil. They’re mu­tants not su­per­heroes. They’re hu­man be­ings who, by no fault of their own, hap­pen to have the X-Gene and are be­ing per­se­cuted solely for be­ing dif­fer­ent.

“Our show is sort of a street view look at the X-Men uni­verse and what it feels like to be an out­sider on the run in a very dark, strug­gle­filled world.

“I’m sure at some point all of us have been made to feel like an out­sider espe­cially when grow­ing up – I know I cer­tainly did. It made me ques­tion a lot of things about my­self and it’s quite poi­sonous, but I’m very for­tu­nate to have the friends and fam­ily I have.”

It’s a dream role for Sean who, when asked what he’s most en­joy­ing about the show, says: “Hav­ing su­per­pow­ers doesn’t suck! They ac­tu­ally pro­vide a whole dif­fer­ent chal­lenge to film­ing since so much is put in in post, so I’m rel­ish­ing that. But with this show it’s not just the ac­tion se­quences – I’m en­joy­ing ex­plor­ing the strug­gles these peo­ple are go­ing through per­son­ally, and the his­panic side of my­self too.”

Talk turns back to B&B and we won­der how Sean would re­act if, fur­ther down the line when and if he has a fam­ily, one of his chil­dren turned out to be gay? “I’d just want them to tell me. I hope I cre­ate a house­hold where my chil­dren can be who­ever they want to be be­cause it makes no sense to me that any­one should be any­one other than who they are.”

As for if he’s ever had any hor­ren­dous bed and break­fast ex­pe­ri­ences him­self, he thinks for a moment then con­cludes: “I must have had, though I’ve prob­a­bly blocked them out of my mind. But I do re­mem­ber one time when I was young stay­ing at one with a bunch of friends and there were these strange tap­ping noises on the win­dow. I grabbed a poker to fend off who­ever or what­ever might be mak­ing the noise and burned my hand.” He laughs. “You see, I can be a drama queen!”

“It’s un­fath­omable to me how any­one would ever dis­crim­i­nate against oth­ers be­cause of their sex­u­al­ity, their gen­der, their race or the fact their skin is even slightly lighter or darker.”

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