They/Them Director John Logan Explains How He Made The Set A Safe Space For Queer Actors Dealing With Triggering Scenes

Blumhouse is once again bringing fresh horror to audiences with its new release They/Them. The new slasher is set at a gay conversion therapy run by Kevin Bacon’s character Owen Whistler, and features a strong cast of young LGBTQ+ talent to play the campers. There’s also a new masked killer on the loose, like all good horror movies are wont to do. And They/Them director John Logan recently explained to CinemaBlend how the set was turned into a safe space for queer actors dealing with triggering scenes.

John Logan both wrote and directed They/Them, with the movie being produced by Blumhouse and none other than Kevin Bacon himself. I had the privilege of speaking with Logan and the cast of the new queer horror movie ahead of its release, where I asked the filmmaker about how he tried to ensure the emotional safety of the cast. After all, some of the “treatment” scenes in They/Them involve potentially triggering situations and dialogue. As you can see in the video above, he opened up about the care that was taken with this sensitive material, saying:

That was wildly important to us. And from the very beginning I worked with GLAAD and [executive producer] Scott Turner Schofield who’s an advisor at GLAAD, about creating a safe space on our set. And we had endless zooms and sessions to try and create that, and so everyone would understand things like use of pronouns, which bathroom to use. So there would be a comfort level around the basics.

From the start it sounds like John Logan and They/Them producer Scott Turner Schofield wanted to make sure that the young cast of the movie felt comfortable on set. This included making sure the cast’s pronouns were respected, and that the talent was able to focus on their jobs rather than potential complications around their gender or sexual identity. And considering the sensitive nature of the movie, this is definitely a smart decision by those on production.

Theo Germaine in They/Them

(Image credit: Blumhouse/Peacock)

In our same conversation, John Logan further explained how he ensured that the cast of They/Them felt safe doing their emotional work on the new horror movie. For instance, the trailer for the movie features Carrie Preston’s character Cora is gaslighting and therapizing non-binary protagonist Jordan about their identity. Logan explained the collaborative nature of the set and how the cast worked on and off camera, saying:

But beyond that it was really for me, working really closely with the actors. Because I’m not non-binary, I’m not trans. So I needed to understand their experience. And our actors were so generous about sharing with me. And the creation of the creators was a binary event. It was me and them who created those characters. So I think they felt safe with me to talk about things both as a writer and director, and they felt very safe in the environment.

While the LBGTQ+ community has historically been a fan of the horror genre, They/Them is an innovative horror movie by actively being a queer storyline. The authentic cast of talent all fully form their characters, which adds to the stakes when elements of horror are introduced. And it seems like the cast really offered their own personal experience when collaborating with John Logan on the slasher.

Overall, this summer has definitely been exciting when it comes to LGBTQ+ stories in movies, as Hulu also released the comed romp Fire Island back in June. And coming this fall is Billy Eichner’s movie Bros, which features a stellar cast of queer talent. But first we’re treated to They/Them, which offers scares, laughs, and heart.

They/Them will arrive on Peacock August 5th. In the meantime, check out the 2022 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.