‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’ the movie is based on the musical of the same name, that was based on a documentary about a real boy, Jamie Campbell from Durham, England.
So let’s start from the beginning. In the documentary ‘Jamie: Drag Queen at 16’ directed by Jenny Popplewell from 2011 we see how 16 year old Jamie pursues his dream to become a drag queen. He finds a mentor and has his stage debut as Fifi La True. But when he wants to go to the prom as Fifi, that idea is not welcomed by the school representatives. Fortunately, Jamie is supported by his mother and his friends. I do not want to spoil the ending for you — you can watch this documentary on Amazon.
In the musical from 2017 Jamie’s last name was changed to New and Durham changed into Sheffield, where the musical premiered. Some other things were also added or changed to better fit the style of the stage musical. Jamie’s drag queen name changed to Mimi Me and his best friend changed into a Muslim girl called Pritti. But the main message was still the same: follow your dreams and always be your true self. No matter the circumstances and no matter the consequences.
The film was made in 2019, before the pandemic hit, but we had to wait until now to watch it. The script follows the musical but there were still some changes made to fit the new medium. Some scenes needed to be more cinematic so some things again were added and some songs from the musical not used in the film version or replaced by somethings else. That was the case of ‘The Legend of Loco Chanelle (and the Blood Red Dress)’ which was replaced by new song ‘This Was Me’ sang by the ‘Victor’s Secret’ shop owner Hugo. That change allowed the filmmakers to introduce the subject of AIDS pandemic. Loco Chanelle, Hugo in drag, is perfectly played by Richard E. Grant, known from his titled role in ‘Withnail and I’.
Even though the whole story is about a young boy who wants to wear female clothes, the message of his journey is very universal and many people can identify with his struggle. Jamie was bullied at school so he later took part in an anti-bullying campaign. He realizes that people are bullied for various things and he is now trying to spread the message: ‘do you and stop living for other people.’ And he adds: ‘Whatever makes you happy, do that. As long as you are not harming anybody’. So he does realize how universal his story is and how much his positive message is currently needed.
“Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’ was originally supposed to be released last year by Disney but the date was postponed because of Covid. Then Disney sold the distribution rights to Amazon Studios and the film is now available from today on Amazon Prime Video.