Elliot Fletcher talks playing the new trans guy character on “Faking It”

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Elliot Fletcher is making his acting debut on tonight’s Faking It as Noah, a new transfer into Hester High. The 19-year-old out trans actor and musician looks to be shaking things up for Shane (Michael Willett) when they meet as rival performers on an episode directed by out filmmaker/Transparent director Silas Howard.

Red Carpet - 27th Annual GLAAD Media AwardsPhoto by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for GLAAD

We chatted with Elliot at a recent MTV Press Junket about his first TV gig and what we can expect from Noah on Season 3 of Faking It.

AfterEllen.com: I know they had some pretty great candidates for this role on the show. How did you win them over?

Elliot Fletcher: I don’t know. I had seen By Hook or By Crook, the film [Silas Howard] made. I watched it and did a college project on it, and I mentioned that to him. I don’t know if that won him over. [laughs] But we also, I feel like, I don’t know. I think the other guys auditioning for the part were trans, which is great. But there’s definitely like a—Silas and I would stop talking about the character and just talk about, like, punk music. It was just like talking to an older brother. It was so cool. I look up to him so much. 

 

AE: Can you tell me a little bit about you and how you came to be an actor?

EF: I’m 19, I’m from Los Angeles—born and raised here. Both of my parents are in the business of acting. My mom’s an actress, my father’s an actor. Both of them direct, mostly theater stuff. Ever since I was a little kid, they’ve just sort of thrown me into the acting thing and I was the sibling to pick it up and do it. So I’ve been acting seriously primarily theater things since I was probably 10, but I finally at 19 have buckled down, because it is more a dream of line to work on television and work on film and do all that. I love film and I love the process of it. It’s in the family.

 

AE: Were you auditioning for cis roles usually?

EF: No. This was wild. I had just gotten an agent, I had just started out and my agent called me up and said “We can submit you for this role for Faking It.” I’d already spoken to [showrunner] Carter [Covington] and the writers about how to write a trans character through GLAAD, and that was fantastic to already know them going into the audition. But that was my first ever TV audition, TV anything. But I hope to—and my agent, as well, agrees with me—I hope to go on and play more trans characters, but also play non-trans characters, where it’s just not specified.

 

AE: Are there any trans men characters you looked up to or loved?

EF: I, honestly—which is really unfortunate, there have not been many trans [men] characters. There was a trans character on The L Word, but, once again, played by a cis actor. The Fosters—he’s a good friend of mine, Tom Phelan. He’s great, and I was so happy—because my mom said, “Oh, do you wanna go out on this?” because that’s how I went on auditions before—my parents got me them. And I said, “No, no, I’m not ready to be out in the world as trans.” And then I heard Tom got it, and I was like, “Fantastic!” He’s great on the show. But yeah, unfortunately, there haven’t been a lot of trans guys to look up to in mainstream media. 

AE: Tell me a little bit about what your character’s like.

EF: Oh man. Noah is—he’s a 17-year-old guy who happens to be trans, that’s how I like to phrase it. Or he’s just a trans guy. He’s new at Hester, he’s a musician, he’s a singer/songwriter. He joins a band with Shane and Karma. He’s sort of—he’s a little mischevious in the beginning. He’s a bit of a charmer, but he’s definitely, I think he’s got a vulnerable side. He’s got a sweet side to him.

 

AE: Because you can pass very easily, how much does the show feel the need to explain that Noah is trans, or what that means?

EF: It was definitely a concern going into writing that. I pass as cis all the time, which is a blessing, in a way, but it’s also very weird for me because I do embrace my transness so much. I don’t know how much I can say about this—you may have to wait and see how we go about that. It’s definitely interesting how we do go about that because Noah is already on hormones and has transitioned and is comfortable with where he is. So I think it’s more interesting in that sense, but I think Noah just saying “I’m transgender” should be enough. You should just take it for what it is.

 

AE: Was there anything that was really scary to you about taking this role?

EF: Oh yeah. I won’t give too much away about the character, but some of the stuff hits very close to home, so some of the scenes we had to film were emotionally draining. They may have been emotionally draining, but all to a good cause. I’m so happy that this is the correct representation and MTV and Faking It is taking a step in the right direction. So there was some stuff that was like, “Oof. This is personal.” But as an actor, I was like “Whatever. I’ll do it!”

 

AE: Were you able to give feedback about the character on set?

EF: Carter is very collaborative, and so is the rest of the writing team. In the beginning, it was so easy to communicate with them, especially in a meeting before I was even cast. They held that meeting and I was there, and thy asked “How do we write a trans guy? What are the things that we cannot do? What are the things that we cannot say?” And I was shocked—I don’t know why because they’re smart. The entire writing team is so smart. But I was shocked to see the script and how well they had written the character of Noah, and it was so easy to talk to them about stuff. 

 

y’all ready for season three ? #FakingIt #fakingitseason3 (i love these goofs)

A photo posted by Elliot Fletcher (@elliotfgf) on

AE: This show has a rabid fan base. How are you going to navigate the newfound interest people might take in your private life?

EF: I try and almost always be as nice as possible. I don’t like being mean; I really dont. So I’m sure there will people that ask me very personal questions; very innappropriate questions. I generally feel like hoepfully that’s coming from a good place and a place of curiousity. So in answering those questions I always say, “Well, blah blah blah, but just so you know, this is not potentially the best way to ask the question. You shouldn’t ask this question, it could potentially be triggering for some trans people. It could bring up really bad memories, it could trigger dysphoria.” 

 

AE: Some queer cis women have contentious relationships with trans men, but I can only assume that’s not the case on this show, and women like Amy aren’t up in arms about Noah being a trans guy.

EF: Yeah, no no no. They’re great. There are a couple scenes that are really, that include the whole cast, that are really good to see the dynamic, in terms of how we interact with one another. 

 

AE: So it’s all LGBT positive. No in-fighting or anything like that!

EF: No. None of that!

 

AE: What can you say about romance for your character on the show?

EF: Noah will maybe have some romance. I think he’s a 17-year-old kid so he’ snavigating high school and friendships and romance as best he can.

 

AE: Does he have a type?

EF: Ahh, probably. Yes. I think so. I think he does. I don’t know if I can tell you that type, but oh yeah, I think so. For sure. What he wants in a partner: He wants love, respect—why limit? It could come from anywhere and if the show continues, which I hope it does, we never know. He could be in one romantic entanglement now and he could be in another one in the next season. But I think it’s mostly—he’s an open guy.

 

Faking It airs Tuesday nights on MTV at 10:30/9:30c.

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