Why Everybody’s Talking About Jamie Movie Cut the Musical’s Big Finale

The director of the Amazon musical adaptation Everybody's Talking About Jamie explained why the film changed the finale from the original stage show. The film, in the vein of other musical films like Hairspray or Little Shop of Horrorsis actually a chain of adaptations. While it is a film version of the 2017 stage musical with music by Dan Gillespie Sells and book and lyrics by Tom MacRae, that show is in and of itself a lightly fictionalized adaptation of the 2011 BBC Three documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16.

Everybody's Talking About Jamie follows the same plotline as the musical, which is about teenager Jamie New (Max Harwood), who wants to go to his prom in drag despite the protestations of his homophobic father (Ralph Ineson) and teacher (Sharon Horgan). The film also stars Richard E. Grant as his drag mentor Loco Chanelle, who teaches Jamie about the history of the fight for LGBTQ+ justice.

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However, the film ends on a very different note from the original stage show. Instead of the show's grand final musical number at a pride parade, the film opts for a quieter note of Jamie taking out the garbage, living a normal life but fully, truly as himself. However, the film has its cake and eats it too, playing the footage from the finale over the closing credits. Speaking with Digital Spy, director Jonathan Butterell explained the thought process behind this decision:

"That was the intention, for Jamie to arrive fully back in his community.

"The exploration is: what is the ending? And wrapping up stories is a very complex thing. Jamie arriving at his prom and getting accepted at his prom and celebrating his prom – it felt like an ending. I also wanted to make sure that on a Monday morning, in a very ordinary way, the boy could turn up and put the bins out, and be himself.

"Actually, it felt like a way of finishing that film in a celebratory way, and putting it as part of the credits felt like you got the scale, you got the celebration. I think we hopefully get the best of all worlds."

There is a long history of film adaptations of musicals changing the source material. Sometimes these changes can be to the film's benefit. Grease is another musical that altered the finale, adding the iconic song "You're the One That I Want," which was not a part of the original stage production. Everybody's Talking About Jamie already made what many have found to be a successful change, swapping out the "The Legend of Loco Chanelle (and the Blood Red Dress)" number for a new track titled "This Was Me" focusing on the history of the AIDS crisis featuring John McCrea, who originated the role of Jamie onstage.

Fans of the stage version of Everybody's Talking About Jamie might find this finale explanation difficult to swallow, however. It's not like the end credits aren't part of the movie, so including the finale there doesn't so much change the ending of the show as cop out and give it two endings. Rather than a Grease-style change which effectively alters the tone of the piece, this feels a lot more like the end credits to 2016's Ghostbusters, which included a comedy dance sequence that was obviously cut for time from the third act confrontation and doesn't really have a reason to be where it is other than to justify the budget spent on filming it.

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Source: Digital Spy

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