Press release time!
When it comes to sex, it’s better late than never
When their able-bodied friends hook up at a bar, lovelorn Frank (Angus Thompson) and Sarah (Hannah Diviney) are thrust together and form a reluctant bond over their shared disability and its impact on their romantic lives – or lack thereof. Bold, hilarious, and at times heart wrenching, the new SBS and Screen Australia Digital Originals series, Latecomers, is both an expression and representation of the intricacies of sex and disability. The series premieres on International Day of People with Disability, Saturday 3 December, on SBS Viceland and SBS On Demand.
Influential writer, and disability and women’s rights advocate Hannah Diviney shines in one of the lead roles – her first ever acting role – alongside actor and co-creator Angus Thompson (The Angus Project). Earlier this year, Diviney made headlines for holding pop stars Lizzo and Beyoncé accountable for their ableist lyrics. She is also founder of the global ‘Create a Disney Princess with Disabilities’ campaign, Editor in Chief of social impact publication Missing Perspectives, and was recently named Winner of 2022 “Voice of Now” at the Marie Claire Women Of the Year Awards.
Alongside Diviney and Thompson, title roles are also played by New Zealand actor Miriama Smith (Filthy Rich, Harrow) and rising star Patrick Jhanur (Sea Patrol, Troppo), and featuring Tracy Mann (Top End Wedding), Emily Havea (Wentworth), Tom Wilson (Heartbreak High), Brittany Santariga (Fighting Season), Amy Kersey (The Twelve), Piper Brown and Liam Greinke.
Written and created by Emma Myers, Angus Thompson, and acclaimed comedian, actor, and writer Nina Oyama (The Angus Project, Tonightly with Tom Ballard, Utopia), Latecomers draws from the trio’s lived experiences, from both Nina’s perspective as a carer and Emma and Angus as individuals with cerebral palsy. Latecomers is directed by Madeleine Gottlieb (You and Me, Before and After) and Alistair Baldwin (writer on The Weekly, Hard Quiz) and produced by Hannah Ngo (Iggy & Ace, Tribunal) and Liam Heyen (Top End Wedding, New Gold Mountain).
Loveable larrakin Frank and cynical bookish Sarah couldn’t be more different, other than the fact they both have cerebral palsy and are both virgins. After their able-bodied carers, kind-hearted heartthrob Elliot (Jhanur) and perimenopausal party girl Brandi (Smith), hook up on a night out, Frank and Sarah are forced to get to know one another and confide in each other their sexual inexperience. Frank decides to pursue Sarah but sabotages the relationship when he turns up drunk to their date and insults her (before drunkenly vomiting on her for good measure). But when Elliot is left to clean up the mess, it sets off an unpredictable chain reaction that causes both Frank and Sarah to confront hard truths about disability, misogyny, love, and self-worth.
SBS Commissioning Editor, Loani Arman said: “Latecomers is part of an exciting new wave of television where fresh voices get to own their stories. At SBS Scripted, we have two key goals: to make bold and distinct drama that resonates with audiences in Australia and around the world, and to help launch a tidal wave of new talent from under-represented backgrounds. Latecomers over-achieves on both those goals and is a perfect example of what’s possible under the Digital Originals initiative. It’ll leave viewers laughing and crying as Sarah and Frank navigate their way through the highs and lows of friendship, love, and sex. We’re so proud of the team and can’t wait to see what they do next.”
Co-Writer, Co-Creator and Actor, Angus Thompson said: “When you have cerebral palsy and you’re trying to find love, or even just a hook-up, the journey comes with a lot of awkwardness, rejection, pain and loneliness. Most people just take it as their lot in life – but not me. I made a whole show out of it! And so did my co-creator Emma Myers. Thank you SBS for the opportunity, we are honoured to be able to show an authentic portrayal of disability and sex to a wider audience. I never thought I’d see disabled characters seen sexually on-screen the way we’ve portrayed them. My shirtless scenes have already become a hot topic amongst the production team… we’ll soon see what our audience has to say!”
Screen Australia’s Head of Online Lee Naimo said: “We’ve been so impressed with Latecomers at every stage of development and production, and we’re so proud that it’s part of the Digital Originals initiative. The team have created an edgy and emotionally charged series that’s funny, engaging and authentic.”
Usually we’d be on the fence about this one – sure, Nina Oyama is involved, but is it even a comedy? – but SBS has had a surprisingly strong track record of late when it comes to creating dramedies where the comedy side of things is more than just a token gesture.
(put another way, A Beginners Guide to Grief is well worth a look)
So we’re going to go with “cautiously optimistic” here. When there’s drunken vomiting involved, how bad can things get?