Olly Alexander has said he had “a bit of a hysterical breakdown” while filming sex scenes for It’s A Sin.
The Years & Years frontman plays the ebullient Ritchie Tozer in the hit Channel 4 drama about the Aids crisis.
He told GQ Hype it was a “revelation” to be part of a cast of predominantly gay actors in the series, created by Russell T Davies, adding: “I’ve never been on a set with so many queer people. I’ve never even worked with a gay director, so it was a completely new experience.
“We understood these characters (with a) kind of shorthand that gay people understand.”
However, Alexander said he found the sex scenes a stressful experience.
“I had a bit of a hysterical breakdown. I was really worried I couldn’t do it. I just didn’t feel safe,” he said.
“So I would sing before the takes, be a little bit of Olly on stage.
“That was my way of tricking my brain and thinking it was a character. Which, of course, it was.”
Alexander, 30, said he is learning how to navigate his insecurities, adding: “I have this – I think irrational – anxiety about gay men tearing me down.
“And I tried to interrogate that within myself and I think it’s complicated, because a lot of it has to do with internalised phobias and shame, about how I see myself versus how other people see me.
“What I do know is that I want them to not hate me. And I want to make the community proud. It’s been at the heart of pretty much every decision I’ve ever made. And I don’t know if I’ve always got it right.”
He also discussed his experiences of playing with his band Years & Years, saying: “When we’re playing a pop music festival, I’m looking at the other acts in the line-up and there aren’t that many gay people on them.
“You see how quickly your show isn’t family-friendly anymore because I want to take my top off and I’m like ‘Well, I just watched Jason Derulo and Liam Payne take their tops off and have all these women in underwear, but now I’m not allowed?’ What do you do with that?”
– The full interview is online at GQ Hype.