Picture Supply: YouTube person Prime Video
Eva Reign lights up the display as Kelsa in “Something’s Potential,” a teen rom-com crammed with coronary heart. The movie, which is Billy Porter‘s directorial debut, follows Kelsa as she wins the guts of a candy classmate named Khal, performed by the charming Abubakr Ali, who makes a Reddit submit expressing his nervousness about asking out a trans lady. (That facet of the narrative was based mostly on a real-life Reddit thread noticed by author Ximena García Lecuona.) Khal and Kelsa ultimately begin relationship, regardless of criticism from every of their finest buddies, and the movie follows the pair as they deal with their friends’ biases and discover their relationship and themselves.
“Something’s Potential” is Kelsa’s story, which suggests the film is Reign’s to hold, and he or she does so with a brightness that lasts from begin to end. Rising up, Reign was instructed she “wasn’t the suitable archetype,” she tells POPSUGAR, including that she felt like being trans was holding her again from getting roles. When she first moved to New York from St. Louis, Reign was working as a journalist and taking appearing lessons on the aspect. Then, a good friend forwarded her an e-mail a few fateful casting name for what would develop into “Something’s Potential.”
Throughout callbacks, she met Porter, whom she calls “one of the vital caring folks I’ve ever met.” “He stated so many wonderful issues to me,” she says, recalling her audition course of. “I virtually cried, however I additionally was holding my breath the entire time as a result of I used to be so nervous.” However her efficiency received Porter over, and Reign received the half. “Taking part in Kelsa was taking part in like an alternate model of [myself],” she says. “Lots of people oftentimes advise towards utilizing your personal life expertise when diving into a job. However me and Kelsa, quite a lot of our life experiences align. And I do not imply simply us being trans, but in addition we each have mothers who work within the medical trade; we each had been raised by single mothers; we each have a love of garments and trend.”
One factor Reign would not share together with her character is Kelsa’s ardour for animals, a central theme of the film. “My mother actually hates animals, in order that was by no means going to occur,” Reign says, laughing. However within the movie, Kelsa, a senior in highschool, goals of turning into a nature cinematographer and spends her evenings vlogging about her experiences as a trans lady in highschool.
Whereas transphobia does make appearances within the movie, it is not a central a part of the plot, which is by design. “Billy wished this movie to be one thing devoid of trauma,” Reign says. “I actually began all the things with pleasure.” Porter inspired her to form the position herself and to really feel into the character reasonably than following clear-cut tips. “He additionally at all times gave me a lot freedom to simply play with Kelsa,” Reign says. For a lot of the film, Kelsa is smiling, which Reign says was additionally very intentional on Porter’s half. Reign notes that whereas “true appearing” is usually related to ache and seriousness, “there’s additionally one thing actually stunning about having the ability to channel pleasure.”
And there is loads of pleasure to go round. Kelsa has an excellent relationship together with her mom, performed by the superb Renée Elise Goldsberry, and their dialogue is a wonderful instance of nice parenting and a wholesome, open mother-daughter bond that oldsters watching the movie would do properly to write down down. She additionally walks round with an infectious confidence, sending out a radiance that underlies the entire film. However whereas the emphasis is at all times on pleasure, the story would not gloss over or erase the complexity of Kelsa’s experiences, and Reign, Porter, and the remainder of the workforce had been cautious to acknowledge the previous as they labored on a movie meant to reshape the long run. “We talked loads concerning the historical past of queer [and] trans folks,” Reign says. “We might spend our mornings watching the FX docuseries ‘Delight’ . . . Billy did that as a result of he actually wished everybody to understand that, ‘Sure, it is a teen film, sure, it is a romantic dramedy, however it’s also sort of the primary of its type.'”
In a world the place far too many queer and trans tales revolve round trauma, just by being a candy love story, “Something’s Potential” is quietly revolutionary. It is also a map of what might be and a portrait of what is taking place in lots of households and faculties already. “There are quite a lot of children in the present day who’re rising up in these very supportive environments with mother and father who actually solely need the very best for them, identical to mine wished for me,” Reign says.
After “Something’s Potential,” Reign has huge hopes for the long run. “I wish to do one thing with sci-fi and fantasy. I’d like to play a witch or one thing with superpowers,” she says, including that she would additionally love to write down and direct. Finally, Reign hopes that no matter she creates permits viewers to see themselves on display and helps folks really feel much less alone. “If the work that I do could make folks really feel seen, it will probably make me really feel heard, that is sufficient for me,” she says. “That is what I would like for the little 11-year-old model of myself, who was being bullied rising up. I would like that little lady to really feel that there is somebody on the market who simply understands her.”
“Something’s Potential” premieres on Amazon Prime on July 22.