"Sexuality today has evolved. It’s not about putting people in binary boxes like gay and straight. Sexuality is a spectrum and it's fluid," Phil (Joe Baken) explains to the elder Mrs. McGillicuddy (Jack Plotnick) in the new film Mailman.
It's the premise of a musical number, "I'm Not Gay," shared exclusively with The Advocate below, that includes, among other lines, "Name one thing in nature that is just this way or that. I can’t be gay because gay is old hat."
Of course, the song is also representative of the generation divide over the need for labels. If love is love, do members of the LGBTQ+ community need to identify with letter(s) in this spectrum? Or is Phil just avoiding addressing the topic?
For Baken, who also wrote and directed the film, the purpose of Mailman is to have light-hearted fun about subjects like identity politics. "Y’know the kind of movie you pop in during the day when you’re home sick from school? The kind that’s a little cheesy, but is just plain fun to watch," he said. "With Mailman, I wanted to make one of those movies! I hope people enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed creating it!"
Mailman, described as "a black comedy, a musical, and a modern coming-out story," follows the journey of Phil, a mailman who aspires to become a writer. The death of an old woman on his route sparks an investigation that leads to some surprising internal revelations.
Executive produced by Gus Van Sant, the film also features Plotnick — a Broadway alumnus and an avid fan of Disney imagineers — in the role of Carl and Paul Vogt as Earnest. Enjoyed the above clip? Watch the whole movie below.