Singer Olly Alexander, Neil Patrick Harris to Star in AIDS Drama from 'Queer as Folk' Creator

Monday October 7, 2019

The creator of the U.K.'s "Queer as Folk" is readying a new project called "Boys," which will be a drama about the AIDS crisis set in the 80s and he's already assembling a new cast, the Daily Mail reports.

Russell T. Davies' new series will star queer singer Olly Alexander, who fronts the pop group Years and Years. (Coincidentally the band shares the same name as Davies' 2018 series with Emma Thompson.) Along with Alexander, the 5-episode miniseries will also star Neil Patrick Harris, Stephen Fry, Keeley Hawes, Tracy Ann Oberman, Shaun Dooley, Omari Douglas, Callum Scott Howells and Lydia West.

According to the Daily Mail, "Boys" will start in 1981 when a group of gay men and a woman become close friends in London. Alexander, 29, will play an 18-year-old man named Ritchie Tozer, who is apparently in the closet.

"I feel like the luckiest boy in the world to be a part of this project, I've been a fan of Russell T. Davies ever since I watched 'Queer As Folk' in secret at 14 years old," the singer told the newspaper. "His work helped shape my identity as a gay person so I'm absolutely over the moon we'll be working together.

"The script was amazing to read, I laughed and I cried a lot, it's a privilege to be helping to tell this story and I'm so excited," Alexander added.

He also took to Instagram to share a post about his news.

"[T]he show is about a group of friends and their loves and lives and it takes place in the 80's and .... ...: it's really really really REALLY AMAZING i wish i could tell you what happens but you'll just have to wait and see i can't believe this is happening and with such an amazing group of people yay i'm excited i can post about it from now on lol actor Olly begin initiation sequence !!! here we goooooo," he wrote in part.

NPH will play Henry Coltrane and told the Daily Mail he's "so pleased, and incredibly proud, to be part of Russell T. Davies' new series."

"This drama, 'Boys,' is two things: it is an irresistible, funny, jubilant story of young people discovering their true identities and the unalloyed joy of living life to the fullest, it is also a deeply resonant exploration of a decade when so many of these lives were cut short by the devastating effects of the nascent AIDS pandemic," he went on to say. "Russell's scripts chart the highs and lows of this time so beautifully and deftly, it's an honor to help tell this story."

He, too, posted the news on Instagram.

"Boys" will start filming this week and air on Channel 4 in the U.K. sometime in 2020. It's unclear where — or if — it will be picked up in the U.S.

In 2018, Davies's miniseries "A Very English Scandal" debuted on Amazon Prime and was nominated for four Emmys. Out actor Ben Whishaw won the award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series.