Based on the true story of a Greek family & their journey of accepting their son’s sexuality
416 Magazine sat down with Director and Creative producer Matthew McLaughlin (MM) to discuss Bulldog Productions new series FAK YAASS. It’s based on the “true” story of a Greek family and their journey of accepting their son`s sexuality
416: What is FAK YAASS about?
MM: FAK YAASS is based on the “true”story of Nico Nicolakis’ big Greek family and their journey of accepting Nico no matter his sexuality. Showing the clash between old tradition and the new age millennial Nico struggles with the idea of returning home, somewhere he’s always felt judged and unworthy. With the help of his friends, Anton and Jill, we’ll watch as Nico’s heart begins to let his family in and we’ll see his family accept him for who he is, until a secret family scheme may ruin that forever.
416: How did it come about/what the was the idea behind it?
MM: FAK YAASS was brought to Bulldog Productions after long-time friend Vasilios Filippakis came to me (Matthew McLaughlin) with a script that he and writer Anthony Filangeri had been working on. After reading the first two episodes of the series I was hooked! It was fresh and unapologetic and funny without trying to be. The character’s felt real and in being someone who has gone through the gay party scene and also has family that lives in a smaller suburban city – I could relate to what feels like a double life at times.
416: Have the main characters been modelled around people you know or characters in the gay community?
MM: The main Character Nico is modelled after our creator of FAK YAASS, Vasilios Filippakis. Many details of Nico’s life are true to our creator Vasilios’ and have set the foundation for our story, however, many aspects have been altered to further this particular story and the possible conflicts that will ensue.
416: Do you feel that this story is still prevalent within the gay community where a son is still reluctant to come out to their family?
MM: After reading the rest of the episodes, I discovered the real story begins in episode three when Nico returns home and we see him go from living the life – to a fish out of water. Both Nico’s parents run the only Greek restaurant in his hometown, and unfortunately, the restaurant has seen better days. Nico’s parents rely on Nico to take care of his Papou (Grandfather) so they can try and save their lively-hood, their restaurant.
When Nico is left to take care of his Papou on his own, we can see the old world views on sexuality really pop their ugly head. I personally still know many gay men who are not out to their families or their extended families due to their heritage or religious beliefs. In all honesty though, this story isn’t about what makes Nico and his Papou different, it’s what makes them the same. By the end of the first season, their relationship evolves into something new, and both of them are somehow better for it.
416: What has the reaction been to the story so far?
MM: We have had such a positive reaction to the story. Everyone who has read the script or viewed the trailer cannot wait for the series. The audience can see that it’s sexy but has love. It’s funny but grounded, exploring a modern day dilemma.
416: Was funding easily available?
MM: We are in the process of applying for funding through the Independent Production Fund (IPF). It’s amazing that these grants are available for the arts and we’re anxious to see if we advance to the next phase. However, we are committed to seeing this project through and with public and private funding, FAK YAASS will make its debut. At this phase, we are pushing the trailer to be seen. It is such an important message and we are thrilled to share this story with the world.
416: How did you find your cast?
MM: The character of Nico was already set to be played by Vasilios. Our team sent out an audition notice and we had one day of casting for the remaining roles you see in the trailer. It was very hard to cast as we had so many great actors come out and audition. After much deliberation, we all agreed on who we cast and could not have been happier. We are moving forward with casting and are now looking to cast the iconic role of Nico’s “Papou”.