The Boys in the Band cast defends use of ‘reprehensible’ language in new Netflix film

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Parsons plays a party planner in adaptation of Sixties play
Parsons plays a party planner in adaptation of Sixties play

The cast of new Netflix film The Boys in the Band have spoken about its use of “reprehensible language”, calling it “essential”.

The forthcoming movie is based on the Tony award-winning play of the same name.

Speaking to Digital Spy, one of the film’s stars Zachary Quinto explained that while it is “truly not nice” to hear or say, the language is a key part of the story.

The Boys in the Band follows a group of nine gay men in New York City in the Sixties, who gather for a birthday party that is interrupted when the host’s college roommate turns up uninvited.

Netflix’s new movie, produced by American Horror Story's Ryan Murphy, stays faithful to the original 1968 text.

Jim Parsons as Michael, Robin De Jesus as Emory, Michael Benjamin Washington as Bernard and Andrew Rannells as LarryNetflix
Jim Parsons as Michael, Robin De Jesus as Emory, Michael Benjamin Washington as Bernard and Andrew Rannells as LarryNetflix

Quinto said: “I think it's important because it's a reflection of where society was at that time which was not that long ago. As a bellwether for how far we've come and how much we've integrated ideas of respect and inclusivity, I think that we can't shy away from it.”

He added: "It characterises this as a real period piece in the truest sense. Some of these characters talk in ways that are really ultimately reprehensible."

Co-star Michael Benjamin Washington shared the same view, stating that the movie must “honour the time period and social mores of the time”.

Director Joe Mantello revealed that there was an alternative cut of the film which removed the racist language, however, Mantello decided to keep it in after speaking with Washington.

"[Washington] made some very helpful suggestions about it and while I would never do anything to cause pain, to cause anyone's pain, I felt it was a crucial part of the story because it shows the cost of oppression and how people act out," said Mantello.

He continued: "It's not pretty and it's brutal and it's savage. It felt absolutely essential to the time and to this particular story and to help illuminate what The Boys in the Band was about."

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