THE LETTER MEN, a film is based on the largest collection of queer love letters from WWII

THE LETTER MEN is based on the real love letters written by Gordon Bowsher to his sweetheart, Gilbert Bradley. Their love letters were exchanged between the years of 1938 and 1941 but were uncovered in 2017. Life as a homosexual at that time was incredibly difficult, gay activity was a court-martial offence, jail sentences for so-called “gross indecency” were common, and much of society strongly disapproved of same-sex relationships. Using the actual text of the letters, THE LETTER MEN transports us directly into the places of the letters and their hearts, battlefields, air raid shelters, and lost, golden moments. 

Director Andy Vallentine’s THE LETTER MEN stars Garrett Clayton (NBC’s Hairspray Live!) and Matthew Postlethwaite (Netflix’ Peaky Blinders).  This true story has been selected by Tribeca Film Festival, where it will receive its world premiere.

THE LETTER MEN was co-written with Vallentine and his husband Danny Vallentine. This live-action short film was produced by Cameron Hutchison, Mike Diaz and Siddharth Ganji, whilst the stunning cinematography was created by Oren Soffer.

YASS interviewed Garrett Clayton and this is all you need to know.

What made you decide to star in this movie?

As an actor, it is a huge honor to represent real people and real events. Along with that honor comes great responsibility. Getting the opportunity to play Gilbert reminded me of how much has changed since Gordon wrote those letters to him and also how much has not changed. Everyday, people around the world must still fight for acceptance and dignity just to be themselves. While we have been fortunate to see significant change in the way LGBTQ+ people are accepted in most western countries, there are still people abroad, and unfortunately, at home, who continue to struggle. Making this film was a labor of love, and my hope is that, by giving life to these two men and their beautiful letters, we can share their story with the people who need to see it the most and make a positive impact. (FROM PRESSKIT) 

How was working with Andy Vallentine and co-starring with Matthew Postlethwaite?

I loved working with Andy because he’s so smart and so kind. It made it fun and easy to collaborate. He really opened the door for us to have conversations, not only about the historical accuracy of the piece but of how to get the narrative across in the most effective way possible. And Matthew and I had so much fun shooting together. Even though it was a short shoot, we got along right away and had a blast. And I really respect him and his work ethic. 

Are there any similarities between your character role and the real you?

Every queer person goes through a closeted phase, but it was really interesting to see what these two characters went through in keeping their relationship secret. I saw a lot of parallels between that relationship and my own with my husband Blake, since I kept it hush hush for years due to pressures of the industry. I felt very sympathetic to their love story because of what I went through at the beginning of my relationship. I think many LGBTQ people will be able to relate. I also thought that I had a very similar sense of humor to my character!  

What are the best moments to remember during recording this movie?

It was wild shooting the WWII battle scene, with the explosions and the way the setting was built out. It was so surreal and unlike anything I’ve done, really. I think the cinematography of this project is beautiful in general, and anyone who sees it will remember the way it was shot. 

What are your future plans?

In a few years my husband and I would like to start a family! We’ve wanted to for a long time. Also, now that the pandemic is over we have a lot of travel to catch up on. Also also… my husband and I host a weekly live audio show on Spotify Live! called “A Gay in the Life” where we discuss all things LGBTQ with guests and listeners. It’s a good time! 

Useful Links:

Letter Men Film Instagram:

Director Instagram:

Matthew Postlethwaite Instagram:

Garrett Clayton Instagram:

Film’s Website:

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