The new queer slasher film from Blumhouse, They/Them, is premiering on Peacock August 5th. I had the opportunity to interview Darwin Del Fabro who plays the character Gabriel in the film. Darwin is a writer, musician, and actor from Brazil and this is his first major American project.
Mikayla Daniels: “I know a lot of my queer friends are obviously really excited about this film. Especially because it was created for mainstream audiences,it’s not something created specifically for the gay community. What did it mean to you as a queer actor to be able to be a part of this project?”
Darwin Del Fabro: “I mean, I’m originally from Brazil and I always wanted to make an international career. But I never saw myself here. Like, I haven’t seen Brazilian actors making an international career in America, specifically. So that was always my goal. And just right now, doing my debut with, you know, Peacock, and Blumhouse. I’m a big fan of horror movies. But celebrating queerness and celebrating myself and celebrating uniqueness, it means the world to me.”
MD: “Fantastic. So this is your big American sort of debut, but you have a pretty good record of theater and like Film and Television in Brazil. Did you want to come to New York to work on American stuff? Or is it just to get a bigger platform or more opportunities? What prompted your move?”
DDF: “I started with music when I was four and then I did my first musical. And when I was 13, I did a little TV/ theater, I always produce my albums.. I came with a family of artists. But my goal was always, you know, to be here. I always traveled to New York, and I always wanted to make an international career. So I think it was a challenge. You know, when things are difficult, you probably will see me there trying. That’s why I’m here and, and I hope I’m here to stay. That’s the goal.”
MD: “I read that you didn’t speak any English when you first moved to New York, and that you learn English through dance. I also do dance and acting and everything. I just think it’s so cool that you learned English through dance. What part does dance play in your life as an artist?”
DDF: “In everything, for me, it’s always the connection of music, dance and acting. I do not separate them. They’re all together. My singing is an extension of my voice, and the way that I speak. My dance is the way that I move, I walk. So I’m always dancing and acting. It’s just like always telling a story. So I never separate music and dance specifically. It’s so powerful, because it’s different from everything else. I love to see dancers who can learn choreography in the room where everyone is doing the same steps but bringing their uniqueness to that and that’s what I want with my career, with my voice, is to find that uniqueness. I hope people will appreciate that dance.”
MD: “So John Logan wrote and directed this and I know him mostly from his screenwriting and playwriting. I imagine the script was pretty good. How did you get involved in this project?”
DDF: “So I’m very lucky. I actually created a play in Brazil and I was working in another play in New York and I called John out of nowhere. I’ve never met him, and I said, I have a play that I created in Brazil that I did a translation of and I want you to do an adaptation. I want to do a full workshop for you to see if you have interest in adapting. Can you come to New York? And this will be just for you. So that’s what I did and he was like, Yes, we are doing that. So I did the workshop for him. And he was like, I want to adapt this play. We start working on it. We worked for, I think, six months. We started searching for directors and doing readings about the play, and the pandemic happened. I was like, I lost my opportunity to work with John Logan. I was very sad. You know, those things do not happen twice. But then he called me and said, I wrote this role for you and I want to be in my next movie. That is They/Them. So that’s how it happened. And I’m just like, honored and proud to be doing this again.”
MD: “ Wow, that’s fantastic. I mean, to have a writer write a role for you, I think is probably one of the greatest compliments, really.”
DDF: “ It means the world to you when you have artists just seeing you and wanting to work with you and with your uniqueness. That’s who John is. He’s always five steps ahead of his time. He’s always seeing the future.”
MD: “So I saw the pictures of you on the red carpet at the LA premiere. You look great! Your parents are both fashion models, so fashion seems to be very much your thing. I read somewhere that you kind of talked about how you wear things that aren’t what some people consider traditionally masculine. What inspires you in the way that you dress? You know, what’s your inspiration?”
DDF: “That’s the hard question. You know, feeling confident with myself and celebrating. I think our uniqueness is our strength and I do not separate what is just like, male female , like the women’s section. I’m a small person. I am not afraid to go to the women’s section to see something and try something. I love heels. It’s not male or female. It’s me because I’m wearing it and I hope people get more comfortable in their skins to explore things and try. Fashion is always changing so it doesn’t mean that you need to do this or that. I know it makes me happy just to feel free. You know to be myself and that’s what clothes do to me.
MD: “So, back to the film, what was your experience like, filming this?”
DDF: “I’m like a big horror fan. My fun is to watch a horror movie at night. The perfect Saturday night for me is just seeing if there’s something from Blumhouse. Guarantee that I’m gonna watch something with good quality. So the experience was just magical. You know, we’re doing an original Peacock movie. Kevin Bacon in summer camp, it brings me back to Brazil watching Friday the 13th with Kevin doing his debut. I’m now in the summer camp with Kevin Bacon.There’s so many good things about John Logan in his debut as a director. He has an extensive career as a writer, and I’m a big fan. He chose this movie, to tell his vision after so many years doing that as a writer. So there’s meaning to everything that has happened towards this production, and I just felt the luckiest to be there.”
MD: “So what’s what’s next for you? I know, you’re doing all the press stuff for this film, but do you have projects already in the works? Or are you going to ride this little high for a little bit?”
DDF: “ I’m trying to survive this week of press. I was just in LA three days ago. It was my first time in LA. It was beautiful. We were at Outfest, it’s just magic in the theater that we saw it in. Watching the movie was just amazing. Then I flew back to New York.
I am working again with John. We’re continuing our partnership but this time I am as a producer, as well. So John has given me that opportunity. I’ve been lucky in my career to have artists who are really interested in what I have to say and the celebration of my points of view. John briefly saw that in the play in New York in the workshop. Then we worked with They/Them, so I love working with him. Now we’re doing the next project, which is very exciting. I cannot talk about it. Americans are very strict with contracts and things.”
MD: “Do you have any plans to write more plays or productions that you want to do?”
DDF: “ I would love to do more theater. It’s my base. We’re coming back now to New York and I want to do that more. I want to be able to produce and later on direct. Bringing diversity, bringing in different stories and opening people’s minds a little more. I’m getting there. I’m young, but I’m gonna get there with the help of people like John and Blumhouse and Peacock, who want to tell stories that are challenging and stories that have a message behind them. We need to tell stories and celebrate and have fun too. Horror movies do that. We’re telling a good story that has a message but also we’re not forgetting the horror fans and people who would just love a good horror movie. I like to see horror movies with a good script. I like the bad scripts too. When you have a script like John’s script, it means more because you root for those characters. You’re not waiting for them to die. You’ve been scared with them, you know you’re rooting for them to win in the end. And, and that brings a little more excitement, I think, to the genre.”
MD: “Thank you so much for your time, I can’t wait to see what else you do in the future and I’ll be definitely following your career and hope to work with you someday.”
You can follow Darwin on social media, and for more information on him and his career check out his webpage : Darwin Del Fabro
-Interview by Mikayla Daniels
Mikayla is a Queer Filmmaker and a writer and host for KSPS Saturday Night Cinema for PBS. You can follow her at Palealaskan on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.