By Frankie Kujawa
Proud, queer, Brazilian actor and musician Darwin Del Fabro shines in the newly released, spine-tingling "THEY/THEM" now streaming on Peacock. Written and directed by Oscar-nominated and Tony Award-winner John Logan, the horror film is a queer empowerment story set at a gay conversion camp. Along with Del Fabro, the stellar cast includes Kevin Bacon, Anna Chlumsky, and Carrie Preston. Del Fabro recently chatted about the new film, his journey from Brazil to New York City and the importance of celebrating uniqueness in the world.
Frankie Kujawa: How did you become involved with this project, THEY/THEM?
Darwin Del Fabro: I was working with John Logan, our writer and director, in a play in New York. I was a big fan of John’s play "RED". I had created a play in Brazil about two painters, and thought, ‘I want John Logan to adapt this!’ So, out of nowhere I called him and said, ‘John, I have a play that I created in Brazil. I really want you to adapt it. Can you come to New York? We’ll do a workshop of this play only for you.’ He actually surprised me and came to New York. I did a whole workshop, and he loved the play. We started working together and were doing readings but then we had to stop because of the pandemic. I was very sad because I thought I had lost my opportunity to work with John. Then, he called me three months later and said, ‘I wrote this role for you in THEY/THEM. I wanted to know if you were interested in doing it.’ That’s how I became involved with this project.
Frankie Kujawa: In your own words, can you describe your character Gabriel in THEY/THEM?
Darwin Del Fabro: Gabriel is very mysterious. He is an outsider. He starts the journey in the movie very shy and delicate. Once he sees other queer kids there, he builds his strength and becomes more and more powerful.
Frankie Kujawa: How did you prepare for a role such as this?
Darwin Del Fabro: I think that when you have a good script, [the preparation] is already there. I just try to honor [the story and character] as much as possible. You try to bring truth and uniqueness to the role. I think that’s what intrigued me a lot about doing [THEY/THEM] because John [Logan] wants to celebrate uniqueness. For me, the preparation was just focusing on honoring that script. We also had had a lot of research. Blumhouse Productions provided us with lots of information about conversion therapy in America. I’m a big researcher, and I love to research. Once I had all that information it was then time to focus on the script and bringing an identity forward for the character I was portraying.
Frankie Kujawa: What do you hope that viewers take away from THEY/THEM?
Darwin Del Fabro: That uniqueness is your strength. There’s nothing wrong with who you are, and we’re all special. As a Brazilian actor building my career here, I’m being accepted because I’m not afraid of who I am and the way I want to celebrate that. So, I hope that message serves to other queer youth that they’re perfect. That they are strong when they believe in themselves.
Frankie Kujawa: As a multi-faceted artist who is a musician, a writer and performer, what inspires you?
Darwin Del Fabro: Everything inspires me! That’s why I moved to New York. I love the diversity. I love having the option to go to the theater. I love living in a place that is safe; where I can explore uniqueness and celebrate who I am.
Frankie Kujawa: Could you describe how it felt when you first arrived in New York from Brazil four years ago?
Darwin Del Fabro: I couldn’t speak a word of English four years ago! (Laughs) I had this big dream of having an international career. I entered this program of dance and musical theater [in New York]. I always traveled and knew a little English, but I never actually studied English. So, I entered the Broadway Dance Center in a very intensive training. Most do it in a year, and I did it in six months. It was a mix of dance, acting and voice. But my focus was really on dance, and so during that I really learned my vocabulary. I really prepared for this challenging journey ahead of me.
Frankie Kujawa: Growing up in Brazil, when did you realize you were destined for the entertainment business?
Darwin Del Fabro: Since a very young age. I won my first singing competition when I was 4 years old. I came from a family of artists, so art was always in my blood. There really was no specific thing as a ‘realization.’ I think I was born an artist, and I just try to find the path of uniqueness of who I want to be as an artist.
Frankie Kujawa: As a child of Brazilian fashion models, what influences your style?
Darwin Del Fabro: Everything! It’s always changing! Style is about finding things that you feel comfortable with in your skin. Today, you can have a little more freedom between feminine and masculine clothes. I hope more people have the freedom to explore and change. Fashion is always changing, but the fun thing about it is having that freedom to explore.
"I hope we can continue to see more diversity because the world is so diverse! We need to see more of that on the screen. It’s such a powerful platform and we want to see ourselves recognized there. "
~ Darwin Del Fabro
Frankie Kujawa: What’s up next, career-wise, for you ?
Darwin Del Fabro: I’ve been very lucky! I’m working again with John [Logan]! I’m a producer in the next movie we’re doing. When I was in Brazil, I always produced my own things. So, the next thing is a movie with John, that unfortunately I can’t give too much detail on at this time. However, I’m very excited about it!
For more information, photos, audio samples and video of Darwin Del Fabro, visit www.DarwinDelFabro.com.