"Modern Family's" Nolan Gould and "Are We There Yet's" Coy Stewart star as gay teen boyfriends in rapper Logic's powerful new pro-LGBTQ music video "1-800-273-8255" that dropped Thursday. The video also stars Matthew Modine and Don Cheadle as Gould and Stewart's fathers, respectively.
The storyline follows a gay, black teenager (Stewart) who goes on an emotional journey when his family, friends and peers discover he's homosexual and dating a white male (played by "Modern Family's" Gould). The video showcases Gould's character's father catching the duo in bed together, locker room bullying and Stewart's subsequent thoughts and actions inching towards suicide as he struggles with coming to terms with his sexuality.
Gould and Stewart spoke with TooFab shortly after the video release on Thursday about it's strong LGBTQ message, suicide awareness theme and why this music video is even more important to the world during our current political climate.
"With everything happening under the Trump administration, the LGBT community needs to see this video, learn about the hotline and know that there are people that care about them. They need to know they are loved and even though this a trying time, things are going to get better and we here for them," Gould told TooFab after confessing he actually missed his gym session with his trainer because he couldn't stop watching the video.
Stewart told TooFab that he actually wasn't cast until the day right before Logic's shoot began.
"I did not have a lot of time to prep. So I just kind of dived in, but I learned how it feels to kind of carry that weight when the world doesn’t accept you and that’s a scary weight to carry," he said.
"I couldn’t imagine myself having the courage to carry that so I commend every single person who will carry that proudly because it is what you should do, but because of the world we live in, it’s not as easy as it sounds," he continued. "So that’s something I was struggling with because it was pretty easy for me to take on the emotional scenes and the suicide scenes because I understood, once I put myself in that mind state, how scary it can be to be alive in this world when you have so many people in this world who condemning you for just being who you are. That’s something that I learned that you can’t really understand until you put yourself in that position.
The track is titled "1-800-273-8255" because it was originally based upon a story of suicide until director Andy Hines had the idea for the project's suicidal subjects to be gay so the storyline was extra relevant to current events.
See what else the boys told TooFab during our interview:
Wow, that was an emotional music video. What kind of feedback have you received so far?
Nolan Gould: It did just drop a couple of hours ago so feedback is still coming in, but so far there seems to be a lot of buzz about it, which is amazing because that’s our hope. Just like when the original song dropped I think it got 18 million views in a couple of days and we’re hoping that the same applies for this music video because the message of it is so important and as many people need to see this video as fast as possible.
Coy Stewart: It’s been pretty insane. I got to see a rough cut of it about a week ago and got to show some of my friends and family. It’s a very very powerful video and while I was shooting it, I knew it would touch a lot of people. So far, I’ve gotten a lot of texts messages from family and tweets and things like that from people who saw it because I actually wasn’t able to tell anybody that I was in it besides close people around me.
What was your initial reaction when you were first approached for the project?
Gould: When I first got approached, I hadn’t heard the song so I went to listen to it and I was immediately like this is a project I need to be a part of. I am a huge fan of all three musicians and I think it’s amazing that they took time to make this song and the fact that they were considering me to be a part of it was a huge honor so immediately I was like, ‘Whatever we need to do to work this out with my schedule, this is a project that I need to be a part of.
Stewart: It was a pretty close process. I was approached the day before shooting started so I didn’t have a lot of time to prep and really consider so I just kinda dove in because it was something I cared about. It was very very tough for me because it’s an intense role, it’s an intense shoot, but I’m an actor and I wanna work and I wanna put work in. I think especially with everything that we are going through now in the world, you have to stand up for everything. This is something I just had to be a part of.
What ultimately made you decide you want to be a part of it?
Gould: I think that there is a stigma around suicide and mental illness in general. My family has a long history of mental illnesses and videos like this allow me to kind of use my platform to talk about it and discuss it and yeah, this is something that a lot of my family and friends have dealt with so it’s just really close to my heart and I’m so glad to be a part of it.
Stewart: I think it was the project as a whole, the story as a whole. When I read it, it made me say, ‘Man, this is a music video I would love to watch even if I weren’t a part of it. The certain situations that this character goes through in the video happened for a reason and it happens every single day and that’s what drew me to it. I have friends and family who are gay. I myself am not, but I think the best way to help them out is by something like this by spreading love and show that it’s ok to be who you are no matter what the circumstance is so just that whole message in general made me really want to do it.
Since you identify as straight in real life, what was it like playing a gay male for this role?
Gould: I actually really enjoyed playing this role in the music video because it was so different from what I’m used to doing on “Modern Family,” you know because of the serious tone, because of the important message. I love "Modern Family" it’s my dream role, but it’s really fun to get to play different roles like this character in the music video who happens to be gay and as an actor that isn’t something that scares me, playing a gay character. I really enjoyed being in someone else’s shoes and seeing what it’s like to be them. I think what’s so specifically so amazing about how they chose to tell this story to the 1-800 song, they could have chose any two characters dealing with suicide, but they chose focus on two gay characters, which I think it timely and super important at the moment with so much hate in the world, the people of color, the LGBTQ community and trans people. I think this message is just really important.
The director could have chosen many different characters contemplating suicide. Why do you think they chose the LGBTQ community?
Stewart: I think because of the state of our country, the state of the world, I think this is something that is on everybody mind and you hear a lot of things happening in the news. I think because of that we really just wanted to hit that target and really just open up the dialogue and talk about it and be able to say that these are things that people are going though and I think the vast majority of people want to ignore it or focus on other things, but you have to focus on what’s happening and I’m just really happy that it worked out the way that it did and it looks so good and I’ve seen so many messages of people who are in the same situation and can relate and that’s the main goal of the whole thing is to let people know they are loved and no matter what, you will get through what you are going through.
Obviously this is a trying time for the LGBTQ community with their current rights potentially in jeopardy under the Trump administration. Did that play into your decision to become a part of this project?
Gould: Definitely, ever since I got on the show 8 years ago, I’ve had a platform to talk about social issues and I think it’s something that everybody with a platform should be doing because we have so much outreach and influence on society. I’ve never really done too much with the LGBT community, but considering everything right now with our current political environment and all of the struggles that they are currently facing, it was something that I definitely considered. With everything happening under the Trump administration, the LGBT community needs to see this video, learn about the hotline and know that there are people that care about them. They need to know they are loved and even though this a trying time, things are going to get better and we here for them. Now that the project is officially out. I’m getting people commenting telling me, ‘Hey this video really helped me’ or ‘I called the National Suicide Hotline.’ It’s making me want to get more involved. I really love any chance I get to use my platform for good. It’s honestly one of my favorite things about being an actor.
Stewart: I did not have a lot of time to prep. So I just kind of dived in, but I learned how it feels to kind of carry that weight when the world doesn’t accept you and that’s a scary weight to carry. I couldn’t imagine myself having the courage to carry that so I commend every single person who will carry that proudly because it is what you should do, but because of the world we live in, it’s not as easy as it sounds. So that’s something I was struggling with because it was pretty easy for me to take on the emotional scenes and the suicide scenes because I understood, once I put myself in that mind state, how scary it can be to be alive in this world when you have so many people in this world who condemning you for just being who you are. That’s something that I learned that you can’t really understand until you put yourself in that position.
What message do you hope viewers can take away from the video?
Gould: The message I want everyone to take away is no matter how difficult it is to discuss mental illness or thoughts of suicide, it’s something that needs to be talked about. Whether its with family or friends, with a hotline, or over social media, this is something that needs to be discussed. There are solutions to it. It does not need to claim anymore lives. It claims thousands of lives and we are losing a lot of people to this problem and it can be solved by all of us getting together.
Stewart: I think the biggest message you can take away is to not only love yourself, but to also love everyone else around you. If you, yourself are going through anything, anything, anything just know there’s always someone who wants to listen and wants to help you. You just have to take the steps to listen and to look and to find. And on the other hand, if you are not going through a situation like this, but you know someone who is, you have to do your part and help. You have to because people forget and I understand because life is tough and sometimes you forget there are people who want you here sometimes more than you want to be here and that’s important to remember so if anything just remember love above all else. Love above everything.