Press junkets can be stressful occasions for some, but Billy Porter (Pose, Cinderella) had a glass of wine and great energy at the ready when Consequence spoke with him about his directorial debut, the charming coming-of-age rom-com Anything’s Possible. Written by Ximena García Lecuona and premiering Friday, July 22nd on Prime Video, the film focuses on Kelsa (Eva Reign), a trans high school senior whose life gets shaken up when she and her fellow student Khal (Abubakr Ali) discover their mutual crushes on each other.
One key sequence from the film involves a conflict with Kelsa’s former friend Em (Courtnee Carter), which escalates to the point where Kelsa is no longer allowed to use the girl’s bathroom. The situation becomes the center of a heated scene at the school between Kelsa, Kelsa’s mother Selene (Renée Elise Goldsberry), Em, and Em’s mother (Vanita Harbour).
In the interview below, transcribed and edited for clarity, Porter explains how he approached the film as a whole and that scene in particular, which had the advantage of starring two women he knew well — allowing him to let improvisation rule the day. Porter also reveals his original plans for the film’s closing musical number, and what he hopes to direct next.
I want to start off by asking you, what inspired you to take the project on? What was exciting about it for you?
My intention has always been to do work that pushes the envelope. To do work that creates a world that I want to live in. I chose myself decades ago, I stand firmly in my authentic queerness. This piece is a definite reflection of the choices I’ve made in my life and that makes me happy.
The film is so charming and it’s so speaking to its audience. It’s also unpacking a lot of big topics. For you, as a director, what were you doing to make sure that the cast was really comfortable digging into the bigger issues?
As an actor, I know what kind of space I need to do my best work. And it’s a space where you feel safe and comfortable, and taken care of and protected and inspired and encouraged to take risks and to jump off ledges. That’s the space I’ve tried to create, and I think I did and the results are magical.
Was there anything specific you felt you did in the moment to really facilitate that?
Oh lord, I can’t remember that part. It was a year ago, it was like 14-hour days for like six weeks, so I don’t remember. At the moment, I would just [say] “Do it! Do it like this! Do it like that!”