Boyfriends don’t get much cuter than Adam Faison.
The handsome, high-energy actor only started acting professionally in 2016, but has already amassed a sizable resume. His past roles have included turns on Agents of SHIELD, Here and Now, Grace and Frankie and Into the Dark. Then, last year, just before the pandemic shut down Hollywood, Faison landed his biggest role to date: that of Alex, the boyfriend & co-parent of the kooky Nicholas (played by Josh Thomas) in Everything’s Gonna Be Okay.
Season 2 of the show–debuting on Freeform April 8–finds Alex, Nicholas and Nicholas’ two teen sisters, Matilda & Genovive (Kayla Cromer & Maeve Press) suffering from the stir-crazy that has infected their household during the COVID-19 pandemic. As always, Alex becomes the voice of stability and support throughout…even as issues with his own family begin to surface.
We caught up with the affable Faison just ahead of the premiere of the new season. Everything’s Gonna Be Okay returns to Freeform April 8.
So you’re back for season 2. I have to ask: how scary was it, how nervous were you that the show might not make it through the pandemic?
Dude, it was crazy. We were in limbo for the longest time. Like you said, different shows were getting canceled. I think it was Party of Five we found out got canceled, so we were like oh my gosh. What if it’s the same fate? But, we survived. I think it’s a testament to Josh. He’s very good about penny pushing, very good at coming in under budget. I think it’s because of his Please Like Me years. He’s good at knowing a budget.
So Freeform really appreciated it, and it’s something that set us apart. He can make a really great story without putting in any kind of elaborate Game of Thrones-type stories. We just live life and hope you like us. I feel like that was our saving grace. I also sort of equate it to that movie 2012 where John Cusack is riding in a limo to the airport, and all the houses are falling around him. That’s what it felt like: we were in that car about to full out. During the holiday season, it was insane. There were so many productions getting shut down. But we didn’t have any on-set transmission, which was a pretty big feat. Josh was great about making sure everything was safe.
Of course, the pandemic plays a role this season. What’s apparent, even more so in this season, is that Alex strikes me as an oasis of patience amid a very nutty family. Do you see him that way?
You know, it’s so funny. When I first got involved in the show I always thought Alex was kind of quirky. I didn’t get to meet anyone else while we were auditioning. So as I read him, he was cookey too. But it’s a whole different scenario when you put him in the game with everybody else. I was like, everyone else is insane compared to Alex. Just getting to have everybody interact was wild, but I didn’t get that picture until after we were done and I got to watch the season from an objective standpoint.
It’s crazy. When you’re doing it, like Josh always says, we’re just in this little world, a bubble. Once it comes out, it’s weird, because everyone is looking into our bubble like The Truman Show. We’re just used to being in the world living. It’s hard to get perspective when you’re in a small bubble living the character day-to-day. This new season, it feels very similar.
What’s it like being on a set with Josh and Kayla and Maeve? Is it as wild as the household?
Well, it’s so funny. I’ll take them one by one. Josh is wearing like twelve hats: he’s now directing and writing and showrunning and acting. The first season I think he was trying to balance all of those and prove to the network he could do it. There was a lot of heavy lifting. So when the second season came around, I think he got way more into the groove. I think he felt like he could have a little bit more time. He was coming from Australia where you can do everything on the fly and there’s not as much pressure. In the states, there are more stakes and money put into it.
That makes sense.
He’s very assured and prepared. On set, he can be quirky but he’s in his mode, getting things done. It’s great to see his process, as he works it out in his head. He met with us as we were starting this season and asked “Is there anything you want from me?” And I appreciate it when directors are clear, even if they don’t know what they want. He followed through with that.
In terms of Kayla, she loves to do ankle weight exercises when we’re not shooting
She’ll do squats around the set, or in her dressing room. She’ll just be doing squats, learning lines and eating Smarties. That’s Kayla in a nutshell: a huge bag of candy and munching while doing squats.
Maeve is just sweet. Constantly hanging out with snacks on deck in her dressing room. So I pop over to see if she has snacks so I don’t have to ask a PA. She always has grapes. We love Tiger’s Milk bars, so we’d pull those up and share in our dressing room. We’d stock up. It was goofy.
So this is your highest-profile role to date. How has your life changed since getting the part?
That’s an interesting question. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten that before. I guess, for the longest time, I was so worried about the next job. You take acting classes and financial wellness classes where they tell you to save in case you don’t work for the next three years. So that was always drilled in my head. I always had a fear of being unemployed in the back of my mind.
They say that only like 10% of people in SAG [the Screen Actors Guild] are working. So that fear is always looming. When this happened, it was an affirmation of some sort. It reminded me I studied hard and worked to get to this place. All those smaller jobs gave me the energy and drive that culminated with this. It gave me confidence. Now, I feel confident in the decisions I make. I trust.
Are you still pursuing other roles? How does being associated with the show change the kinds of roles you go after or are offered?
During filming, I’d have self-tapes here and there. That worked out really well. Now, because of the pandemic, it’s gotten easier. Virtually everything is a self-tape; there aren’t in-person auditions anymore. Before I would have to schedule around my shoot schedule, which was virtually impossible. But I’ve been able to do a self-tape, maybe with a friend to help me during a break in shooting, and just knock them out. Sometimes I work with Bruno [Michels], our second AD, who’s great. He would help me out. So it became a balancing act, but that’s the name of the game. Even as a series regular you’re looking to the next gig.
You’re also a queer actor playing a gay character. How has that affected your career? Were you ever warned against coming out or playing a gay character?
It’s interesting. I found it’s more an unspoken thing. My reps have never been weird about my audition for queer roles at all. It’s also because I played different roles up to this point, so I think I established myself as more a chameleon. I think other casting directors know that. I mean, hey, it’s still scary sometimes to say I’m going to do this role. If people know me as this, will I be typecast? And that not only goes for being queer, but it could also be playing autistic when you are autistic, like Kayla, or any sort of “type.” I think there’s also an idea out there that your personal life can dictate your professional life, whether people think it consciously or subconsciously. And that’s something I have to be aware of. I once had a conversation with a friend who told me that he felt like he couldn’t come out until later in the process because it felt like the deepest part of me was so different from the character I was playing. I worried that if executives found out, they would start questioning every choice I made, or my mannerisms. It’s a hard conversation to have in a broader way. You hope that people are woke, but they still have their biases.
It’s something I think about. I hope that what I do in my private life doesn’t affect my professional life. I’m an actor, I play a role. I hope more of us will come out and people can see we’re not dictated to by our private lives.
I’m also glad I’m out because I want to help other people come out too. I want people to see it won’t ruin their career or dictate every job they get.
Jumping off that, with your newfound celebrity, how do you balance being someone in the public eye with having a private life? Because I’m sure you want to represent, but as an actor, I’m also sure you don’t want that to be what people see when they see you on screen.
Yeah. I don’t know how to deal with it quite yet. It’s a constant conversation I have [with myself] of how much I want to share, even on social media. I’ve had conversations with friends too where they say “Sometimes your social media presence can overshadow the job you have.” You become a personality, and it’s hard for people to see you outside of that. So I don’t know—I have social media just to post randomly what I want to post. It’s a scrapbook of sorts. The thing I care about is my craft, the work. I care about my poetry and music. I don’t get that high that some people get from social media. It’s a hard thing to share enough but not overshare. It’s hard to disappear into a character when people know so much about you. I think celebrity is more fleeting these days. Everyone can be a celebrity because of social media.
Lord save us.
Everything is Gonna Be Okay returns to Freeform April 8.