Dan Levy is best known for playing the privileged, high society refugee with a heart of gold in the GLAAD Media Award and Emmy-winning Schitt’s Creek. Since the show ended, we have seen him in many projects including the queer holiday feature Happiest Season alongside Kristen Stewart.
Levy continues the holiday vibes with his feature directorial debut Good Grief which debuts on Netflix January 5. Written by Levy, the story takes a left turn from the typical holiday narrative – although it explores the grieving process and the love that comes out of it.
Good Grief follows Marc (Levy) after his husband Oliver (Luke Evans) unexpectedly dies. As his world falls apart he ends up going on a soul-searching trip to Paris with his two best friends, Sophie (Ruth Negga) and Thomas (Himesh Patel). While there, he is faced with some difficult truths as well as a newfound connection with Theo (Arnaud Valois). For Levy, assembling the cast which also includes Celia Imrie and David Bradley was a magical process – specifically with Negga and Patel.
“I would argue that they found me,” said Dan Levy in a recent interview with GLAAD’s Anthony Allen Ramos. He added that during the casting process you just hope that the people who walk through the door will fit the role. “Sometimes you don’t get that luxury and you panic and you have to make your choices.”
“And then you cast me,” Negga jokingly chimed in.
“There was a closeness… and an openness to be vulnerable very early on,” Levy admitted. We spent two weeks just getting to know each other. It was so important for me to give that space.”
“It was magical, to be honest,” said Negga about working on Good Grief. “Dan creates a very sort of – let’s say comparatively luxurious atmosphere… [it was a[ lovely experience.”
Patel added, “It was a complete joy and it definitely felt like a found family. We did become a family for that little period of time. You spend more time with these guys than you do with your own family and it’s always great when you get on and you love and support each other through the whole process and it just became joyful.”
French actor Valois agrees with the sentiment of the power and love that comes from chosen family. “[Chosen family] helps you to be a better you,” he told Ramos. “I think that’s the journey for Theo. He is not grieving in the same way as Marc is grieving … he is trying to be more honest, more authentic with people and trying to tell the truth, which is not very easy in the real life.”
Levy’s work bolsters interesting, nuanced and amazing LGBTQ stories with his career and he continues to do this with Good Grief. “It comes down to opportunity and people making the choice to allow me to tell, continue to tell those stories,” he told GLAAD.
“More opportunities should be provided for people,” Levy continued. “I write about my experience. I write from what I know. That’s it. There’s no concerted effort to white glove the experience and that I think is what has resonated in the past and I hope what resonates with this film is that we’re not being precious about these relationships and we’re also justifiably showing flaws in people and the fact that people aren’t perfect. Particularly in LGBTQ storytelling, there is almost this expectation for characters to be perfect; to send a perfect message about the community and I think the greatest thing we can do is be honest.”
Good Grief debuts on Netflix on January 5.