FROM YOUNG twin brothers Gary (director) and Edmund (writer), “Geography Club” stars “Glee’s” Alex Newell with Cameron Deane Stewart, Justin Deeley, Nikki Blonsky, Meaghan Martin, Andrew Caldwell and Allie Gonino in a coming-of-age and coming-out film of contemporary gay teenagers who formed a club that seemed so nerdy that it keeps the curious away, so that they can openly and safely discuss their true sexual identities.
Based on Brent Hartinger’s best-selling critically acclaimed novel of the same title, “Geography Club” is a fast, fresh coming-of-age movie that tells a real and powerful story unfolding in every high school around the country – a story of kids hiding their true identities in plain sight, even as they feverishly pursue their hearts’ desires yet still look for something that will finally define who they are. They start out trying to protect their one big secret among themselves. Russell (Stewart) is dating Trish (Martin), a sweet but sexually motivated young lady – even as he is falling for the football jock Kevin (Deeley), who won’t ever reveal the truth to his macho teammates Nolan (Harvey) and Jared (Darden). Min (Maki) and Terese (Blonsky) tell everyone they’re really just best friends. And then there’s Ike (Newell) who is trying on every identity in the book. They know they are different, but at least they’re not in daily danger like the bullied geek Brian Bund (Olivares). Yet, when Russell’s sexual orientation is suddenly exposed to the whole school by the ultra-popular Kimberly ( Gonino), the members of the Geography Club begin to panic.
The movie aims to bust old stereotypes; create fun, relatable characters where few have previously existed in pop culture; and explore a new world – one in which tolerance is slowly growing but peril still lurks for teens who don’t quite fit into the usual crowd.
Edmund Entin, who wrote the screenplay, said, “I was immediately attracted to this project because I have such an affection for the novel and jumped on the chance to work on the film. I saw in the novel, a tapestry of characters and emotions that felt specific to these times.
“The best coming of age films resonates with the mainstream when someone can take the pulse of the contemporary adolescent and write something that shades them perfectly. The novel did that. And my vision for the screenplay was to accentuate those feelings. As the writer of the screenplay I felt I was borrowing the universe from the novel’s author, Brent Hartinger, and delicately molding it to exist as a narrative more fitted for the screen.”
Gary Entin, the director, reiterates: “What struck me most about the novel was how cleverly its different themes were sewn in, and how perceptive they were in their quest to define what drives a young adult emotionally. Geography Club merges the journeys of many different students to service its larger message, giving everyone who reads it a character to identify with.
“I believe there is something in this film for everyone. First and foremost I believe a movie should be entertaining. If you walk away from this movie having had a good laugh and a good cry, we’d all have done our job. My overall vision for the film was to take a subject matter usually told from an insider’s perspective and treat it with the commercial aesthetic of a classic John Hughes film.
After all, it might be the era of “it gets better,” but there are more social land mines — from digital dating to physical and cyber bullies, from the stress on success to being the most publicity exposed generation in history — for kids to outwit than ever. “Geography Club” zooms through this new reality, and becomes the coming-of-age movie of a generation as savvy as any, yet still flummoxed by the timeless question of how anyone can survive the intoxicating madness of youth and emerge happy to be who they are.
Join “Geography Club” as it comes out in cinemas on February 5 from CrystalSky Multimedia.