Chat with Torian Miller about theatre, Fire Island and Pride!

Interview: Chat with Torian Miller about Theater, Fire Island and Pride!Torian Miller is an actor. His roots in performing came from acting and improvement. He was in Abbott Elementary, Wool and most recently Fire Island where he played Max.

Torian has visited Minnesota and been to the infamous Mall of America. He couldn’t wrap his head around a crowded roller coaster at the mall! He also thought the Minnesota State Capitol was stunning.

We chat with Torian about theatre, Fire Island and Pride!

How does it feel to be performing live again?

It feels amazing to have live performances again! My roots in performing are in theater and improv theatre, so to see live shows come back and start to thrive means the world to me. Especially in a climate as divisive as the one we find ourselves in today, live performances, whether musicals, plays, standup comedy, etc., are needed more than ever.

What inspired you to keep performing?

My earliest memories are of watching musicals with my grandmother and watching PBS when they were showing taped Broadway or West End performances. I just wanted to jump onto the stage or into the screen and join them. I also had a stuttering problem as a kid, but when I performed it went away. So the performance really helped me find my confidence in so many ways and taught me to be more comfortable with who I am.

Who were your inspirations and influences?

My biggest influences were definitely people who were considered multihypenate because I loved acting, singing, writing, etc. The list goes on, but people like Raven Symoné, Jack Black, Queen Latifah, Ice Cube and definitely Whitney Houston. My parents put on a Whitney album and as a kid, Torian couldn’t sit still! You all inspired parts of me to be more creative. I am very fortunate that my parents noticed me at an early age and encouraged me to try whatever I wanted artistically.

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Why did you decide to be a part of Fire Island?

I read Joel’s script and immediately knew I wanted to be a part of this world. To see a rom-com with queer people of color, I personally had never seen anything like it. It was so smart, thoughtful, playful and had so much heart that I couldn’t pass up the chance to be a part of it. I met with director Andrew Ahn and from that first meeting I knew he would direct this amazing project with such grace and vulnerability to allow his actors to fully form their characters and that further convinced me.

What was it like developing your character on Fire Island?

Developing the role of Max was a pretty quick character study as there is a good amount of Torian in this role. I may not be that anal or quick to judge, but there are certainly aspects of me that I was able to bring to him. As an actor, I always want to leave a little bit of that magic behind when I’m on set and lean into the intimacy and vulnerability of every shot we film. Andrew really allowed us to play around with our roles and let us bring the characters to life as we saw fit. It was very special.

Did you have any challenges developing your character or anything in production?

The challenges I faced were avoiding myself. I’m a pretty confident person, but when I was on set with my stunning castmates, I initially had some body image issues. Everyone was so sweet and welcoming, but my own inner saboteur was loud at times, telling me that I wasn’t meant to be there or that I wasn’t good enough because I wasn’t the typical body type you see in Rome -Coms sees. Realizing that I needed to let that go and be present on this amazing opportunity allowed me to enjoy every second of filming. Hopefully my presence on screen will allow someone who looks like me to watch our film and see themselves represented.

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What’s your favorite moment in the movie?

I have two favorite moments, the intro when our characters are on the ferry that pulls into Fire Island and Pure Imagination is playing in the background. When I first saw it, it took my breath away and took me right back to when we were filming that scene. Second favorite moment is Conrad’s character dancing while Peppermint hosts. It really brings the biggest smile to my face every time I see it.

What was it like working with the Fire Island cast and creative team?

It was wonderful! Every single person on production from the Jax, Hulu, and Searchlight teams are the nicest people. Our crew was so special, I really connected with every person who worked on our film because this film was such a team effort. There were difficult locations, long and very hot shooting days, and our crew did a flawless job. I really am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with them and they were a big reason I loved coming to the set every day.

What do you hope someone who sees the film will take away from it?

I hope people watch our film and feel inspired to fall in love, whatever form that love takes. To be thankful for the wonderful friends they have in their life and/or to go out and have the chosen family they always wanted. For people to recognize that being queer is universal and yet recognize that we are not monolithic as a community, and that’s fine. Lastly, I hope they get excited when they see Fire Island because it really was a labor of love aimed at making people smile.

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What does Pride Month mean to you?

Pride Month means living as your fullest, most authentic self. To celebrate our differences and that we’ve been through so much as queer people and are still here. To remember those who came before us and fought for the rights we have today. And never shy away from who we are, because being queer is an absolutely beautiful thing.

What message do you have for the LGBTQ+ community?

To keep doing what makes you happy, don’t let others define what it means to you. And to all the young queer POC people who might be reading this – YOU ARE ENOUGH! You might feel marginalized or an outsider at times, but that’s what makes you a fucking superstar.

Thank you Thorian!

Photo by Searchlight

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