Out on Film, into the spotlight

David cover guy Michael Grant comes into his own and into our consciousness in Fair Haven, screening on David night during Out on Film

Audience members at Out on Film’s presentation of Fair Haven may look at lead actor and this week’s cover boy Michael Grant and think, “I recognize him from somewhere.” He’s popped up on a number of popular shows over the past few years, most notably as a co-star on The Secret Life of the American Teenager.

But after seeing him on David Atlanta night, Friday, Sept. 30, in Fair Haven – part of this year’s eclectic and wonderful lineup – you’ll just as likely see him and think about his performance as James Grant, a young man coming to terms with both his sexuality after going through reparative therapy and his relationship with his father.

Fair Haven is, at its heart, a father-son story,” Grant tells David Atlanta. “It’s a father-son story about a father learning to understand and accept his son, and coming to love him for who he is.”

Grant was drawn to the role because of the opportunity it gave him to stretch as a performer.

“When I first read the script, I was really intrigued by the role and some of the opportunities it would afford me as an actor, to go places I hadn’t gone in my own work to that point,” he says. “There was also the element that the character plays classical piano, and I play classical piano, so I was able to bring that to the character as well.”

Getting into character otherwise involved some work, and Grant credits the well-written script with guiding him to understand the story arc. The preparation also included diving into the world of reparative “anti-gay” therapy, which is included in flashbacks over the course of the film.

“It wasn’t something that – I guess I had heard about it through the grapevine, about conversion therapy, but it’s not something I was terribly aware of or had really investigated before the film,” Grant says. “It proved to be a very educational experience in the research.”

Now that the project is on the festival circuit, the film – and Grant – are getting plenty of positive reactions, which the actor finds rewarding.

“The response has been really good. People have really enjoyed it. I think people who see it have a lot of compassion for the character I play, and a lot of understanding for the arc he goes through in the story. He seems to touch a lot of people, which is good.

“It’s been an amazing journey. I’m glad the film is finally getting out there and getting seen by people. It’s been very gratifying for me as an actor.”

Fair Haven plays as part of David Atlanta Night at Out on Film on Friday, Sept. 30 at 9:20 p.m. at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema. outonfilm.org. Turn the page for more Out on Film offerings.

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Originally published in David Atlanta.

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