Olly Alexander Hopes ‘It’s A Sin’ Gives Queer Kids A Sense Of History

Marc Malkin spoke to Years and Years’ frontman Olly Alexander in the his latest Variety column. Alexander is currently starring as Ritchie Tozier in Russell T. Davie’s new HBO Max hit show It’s a Sin.

Variety: Davies’ latest project It’s a Sin takes places about 20 years before Queer as Folk. The five-episode series (available on HBO Max) follows a group of gay friends during the early days of the AIDS epidemic. Olly Alexander, the lead singer of Years & Years, stars as Ritchie, a wannabe actor who moves to Manchester, where he finds friends, partying and a lot of sex. “I hope that young queer people watch and it gives them maybe a rich understanding of themselves and where we’ve come from,” Alexander, 30, says from his London apartment. “We’re really standing on the shoulders of everyone that came before us. And I think it’s so important to acknowledge and recognize that and there’s a lot of courage and inspiration that I take as a queer person from seeking out my own history and my elders and how I’m connected to them, and how that’s impacted my own life growing up.”

The series does not in any way sugar-coat how AIDS ripped through the gay community. “That was a very hard sell,” Davies says. “I would say how many deaths there were and I could see literally people were flinching. And I got asked, ‘Do you have to have that many?’ And I just had to go, ‘That was the experience. That is what happened.”

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