The star of Beach Rats has opened up about about his role in the eagerly-anticipated gay drama, saying that Eliza Hittman’s film about the pressures of masculinity in 21st century society presents a fresh twist on the traditional gay coming-of-age-film.
Rising British actor Harris Dickinson stars as a troubled New York teen Frankie, who struggles to escape his Brooklyn home life, by balancing his time with a new girlfriend (Madeline Weinstein), his friends, and chatting with older men on the internet.
Discussing the pressure his closeted character faces in the October issue of Attitude – available to download and in shops now – 21-year-old Harris explains: “It comes from expectations created around him.
“Frankie’s assimilated this idea of masculinity from all his friends, and strikes up a heterosexual relationship because that’s the ‘right thing to do’ in society.”
Londoner Harris, who started performing started at a young age after attending the Raw Talent Academy, adds that the complexity of Frankie’s internal struggle in Beach Rats first attracted him to the role.
“There has to be a predicament they have to overcome because it allows you to dive into something that is unresolved, something very interesting.
“With Beach Rats, it was apparent how much pressure is involved in the character of Frankie and how much toxicity builds inside himself as a result of repressing his inner identity and sexuality.
“That was something intriguing and tragic to try to portray.”
Harris, who’ll soon be appearing in Danny Boyle’s new TV series Trust opposite Brendan Fraser and Hilark Swank adds that there needs to be “more education about same-sex issues in schools.”
He continues: “I don’t have a generalised view of a gay man or a gay woman. When I was 16 one of my best friends came out to me and I said, ‘OK, are you happy?’ and he said he
“‘That’s all you need to say about it then,’ I replied.”