Things Like This Director On Debuting A Gay Love Story That’s Not About Coming Out

Max Talisman, smiling at the camera and wearing bright green and pink
(Image credit: Bonnie Nichoalds)

As time progresses, more and more underrepresented communities, including the LGBTQ+ community, are getting to tell their stories in the entertainment space. Actor Max Talisman is a champion for diversity and representation, and his upcoming film is a game-changer. Talisman makes his screenwriting and directorial debut with Things Like This, a gay love story that’s not about coming out.

Things Like This begins production this fall, and I got to sit down with Max Talisman who serves as the film’s writer, director, and star for an interview with CinemaBlend. Wearing multiple hats allows Talisman a great deal of creative control, which enables him to tell this story in the best possible way. Here’s what he shared about the story of Things Like This:

We've never had a movie with a gay protagonist that isn't about coming out. We've had movies that are all about the coming out process, but the truth is that the coming out process is the very beginning of your life as a gay person or as someone in the LGBTQ community. I needed a movie about what happens next. Falling in love, when you're someone who’s coming out, is actually not part of your picture because it changes things. It changes the scope, it changes the ability, it makes things different. And so this movie didn't exist. I had to write it. It doesn't address coming out. It's about two young men falling in love with each other, and they just happen to be gay.

As a hopeless romantic, I’m already all in on any love story, but as an LGBTQ+ ally, I feel both the importance and excitement in Max Talisman’s words to get this film out into the world. He mentioned Love, Simon and Happiest Season as examples of positive representation of gay characters and that he identified with parts of each of those stories, but Things Like This will take place after the coming out experience, which is just as important to highlight.

Max Talisman also spoke of the TV series Happy Endings, noting it as “one of the best representations of a gay person” because the friends of the character on the show don’t care that he’s gay. At the end of the day, that’s what most marginalized communities are looking for: belonging. To not be classified as “other” but to exist as part of the group, and that is exactly what the characters in Talisman’s Things Like This will accomplish. Here is what he wants people to walk away with after viewing his film:

What I want people to take away that all love is universal. The feelings of love are universal. The fear of love is universal. The anxiety, the excitement, just the feelings of falling in love. We haven't had a story that's told just from the point of view of someone who happens to be a gay man, you know, or happens to be a gay man out of the closet. But I want the world to know that that doesn't change the fact that this movie can be watched by any person in the world and can be felt. You can feel represented. I mean, that's the thing. I felt represented by straight stories for years. I felt like I saw things that I related to and now I want people to feel like they see things that they relate to, but just in a gay story.

I absolutely cannot wait to see Things Like This. It's currently in development and goes into production this fall, so keep checking back at CinemaBlend for updates. While you wait, check out these 2021 love stories and it’s never too early to plan your Pride month movie marathon.

Photo credit: Bonnie Nichoalds

Samantha LaBat

Obsessed with Hamilton and most things Disney. Gets too attached to TV show characters. Loves a good thriller, but will only tolerate so much blood.