We talk with the actor about his new film, A Boy Like That…
By William Cooke
A Boy Like That tells the story of Harold, a middle-aged acting coach who travels to New York and finds himself obsessing over Felix, a precocious teenage boy who reminds him of a love he once had that he fears he will never be able to obtain again.
Felix, on the other hand, is desperate for love and acceptance. He feels he has been abandoned by his mother, and longs so deeply for nurturing that he is willing to cling to any older figure who offers comfort.
Written and directed by Daniel Armando, A Boy Like That explores the taboo relationship between Harold and Felix as it becomes a twisted, entangled web of chaos. Jaime Zevallos, best known from Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger, stars as Harold. He spoke with us from the set of a new movie he was filming in Los Angeles.
What encouraged you to take on the role of Harold?
Meeting with the director, Daniel Armando, and hearing his passion for this story really made an impact on how I viewed Harold. I knew right away that I wanted to tackle this complex role.
Should viewers look beyond the fact that Harold falls in love with a 17-year-old boy?
Yes. It is questionable whether or not Harold really falls for the boy. The story we’re telling in A Boy Like That is very rich and should go past what is black or white. There are a lot of grey areas. This film is a twist on Lolita, the classic film that explored a love between an adult man and a much younger woman.
It’s also reminiscent of Mariel Hemingway in Woody Allen’s Manhattan. She played Tracy, a 17-year-old high school student dating Woody Allen’s 42-year-old Isaac Davis.
Mariel Hemingway was fantastic in Manhattan. She earned a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination for her performance! I think the difference is really the tone of A Boy Like That. This film really looks into the world of the psychological mind space of two human beings. It also falls into a drama thriller with a lot of complexities.
How was it to work with newcomer Andres Chaves, who plays Felix?
Andres is amazing. He comes from the stage, and I could really feel his discipline and professionalism. Since I’m older than he is, it was fun to build that real chemistry on camera with someone who is very raw. We had met once or twice before the shoot and we just went for it. He brought such life into Felix.
What should fans ultimately take away from A Boy Like That?
I think that we are in a space where audiences are longing for more than superhero movies. A Boy Like That tells the story of people living in a world of loneliness and despair. I won’t get into the film’s messages as art is subjective, but there are themes in this film that many will be able to relate to. Ultimately, this is not a popcorn movie, but audiences will be entertained and will find themselves on the edge of their seats.
You can stream A Boy Like That on Here-TV, the world’s largest LGBTQ library featuring hundreds of hours of award-winning movies, series, documentaries and short films. Visit heretv.com/a-boy-like-that for more information.
WILLIAM COOKE is a former contributing columnist for Flame Magazine. He lives in New Orleans with his husband and their three cats, and teaches English at Nunez College.