“Yellow Vests” star Jasmin Savoy Brown to play first queer character “Scream”

After working in Hollywood for nearly a decade, actress Jasmin Savoy Brown finally stands proudly in her weirdness – and puts her at the center of her work.

In Showtime’s hit show “Yellowjackets,” which premiered in November, Brown played Taissa, a 17-year-old queer football star who became a leading politician. And just this week, along with fellow “Yellowjackets” star Liv Hewson, Brown launched Netflix’s first LGBTQ-focused podcast, The Gay Agenda. Next, Brown will make horror history as the first queer character in the “Scream” franchise, which hits theaters on Friday.

However, the 27-year-old actor told NBC News that his portrayal of LGBTQ people may be different from the queer characters of yesteryear. In other words, she said, they will be “happy”.

“There are so many porn tragedies, you know? In all of these movies and shows, gay people die or it’s sad how they got out and their parents abandoned them. No,” Brown said. “My life and the lives of my queer friends are so full of joy. We laugh. We’re happy. We’re so successful at what we do. It’s the kind of queer content I want to hear.”

Jasmin Savoy Brown Jasmin as Mindy in a scene from “Scream”.Brownie Harris / Paramount Pictures and Spyglass

Brown came out to friends and family when she was around 21 and lived in Los Angeles, one of the most LGBTQ-friendly cities in the world. But even then, she was a bit “hectic” about her sexuality, she said.

“If I had had access to the content that I create now when I was younger, I think I would have realized that I was gay much earlier, that I was out of the closet much earlier and that I was was comfortable with my sexuality earlier, ”she said. . “There is so much pain around our homosexuality, and it took a lot to get to a place of joy, because we didn’t have a lot of positive examples.”

Brown added that she believes creating positive queer content will make LGBTQ people easier to understand for straight viewers.

“I hope people who have or don’t have gay people in their life but don’t identify that way, will listen to the podcast or see the movie and say, ‘Oh … gays, they. are like us, ”she said with a laugh.

“See what I mean? Like, nothing different here except we just have a better fashion. That’s it,” she said.

While she intends to portray the perks of being queer, the positivity doesn’t come at the expense of her character’s substance, she said.

After being cast as Mindy, a queer black college student, in “Scream,” Brown said she worked hand-in-hand with the filmmakers to make her character a “fully inhabited person.”

“I’ve seen a lot of queer content where the character feels half-baked, and it’s such a scam and it makes me feel sad and used, like we’re props,” Brown explained. “I just wanted to make sure that we were going completely in the opposite direction, that we had a completely inhabited person who is not defined by their queerness, but their queerness is celebrated even in nuances.”

“It’s the subtle changes that really make a difference and I, as a member of the audience, feel seen when I watch something. It is showing against saying. It’s doing it versus hinting, ”Brown added.

Even the “little things,” such as Mindy’s wardrobe and accessories, were incorporated into her character with a weird eye, Brown said.

“I was like, ‘Well, she has to wear a watch because gays love watches,’ you know? Stuff like that,” she said.

By creating The Gay Agenda podcast, which will follow the lives of the world’s top LGBTQ creatives through a comedic lens, Brown also aims to bring uplifting queer content to Netflix.

But the premiere of its podcast follows a chorus of criticism the company has received from the LGBTQ community regarding Dave Chappelle’s “The Closer” special.

The special, which premiered on the streaming service in October, was berated for including transphobic and homophobic content, prompting worker protests and resignations at the streaming giant.

Brown said the Chappelle controversy was “frustrating” because “there is a place for jokes that make people uncomfortable because it makes them think” but not “because they are mean.”

“It was really painful for a lot of people in many different communities, and I’m sorry. I’m sorry for that. I wasn’t the one doing the special, but I work at Netflix and I hope Netflix will continue. to support voices like mine and Liv Hewson’s who want to call it all rather than calling, ”Brown said.

When asked to comment on the smoldering debate over whether straight and cisgender actors should play gay or transgender characters in film and television, Brown said she had mixed feelings.

“If there was more access for queer actors in general to play roles, be it queer roles or straight roles, that would be fine for me because we play and it’s about to tell a story. There are so many lives that I ‘I’ve never experienced what I represent on screen. If we get to the specifics, shouldn’t I be playing a soccer star because I’m not not a football star? ”she said, referring to her character in“ Yellow Vests ”.

“But the reason this is problematic is because often the straight actor is referred to the queer actor – whether for a queer role or a straight role – in the same way that there is so many more roles for white people than for people of color, “she added.” Once it’s more balanced, I don’t think there’s a problem with that. “

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