A Guide To The Angsty Teens & Adults Of HBO’s We Are Who We Are
Adults like to assume it’s their job to tell teenagers how to see the world. Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino (2017’s Call Me by Your Name), however, sees his role differently: He wants to give young people the freedom to tell their own stories, and have adults see the world through their eyes. In Guadagnino’s newest venture,We Are Who We Are, premiering November 22nd on BBC iPlayer, the director captures the story of a group of wayward teenagers coming of age on a U.S. military base.
Before filming the series, set in 2016 in the seaside town of Chioggia, Italy, Guadagnino had reportedly had ideas about the intentions of each character and plans to dazzle audiences with elaborate camerawork for each episode. But after meeting the young actors, he instead asked them to give him “input on how their characters would think, speak and behave,” he told The New York Times, and let them take the lead. “What’s the point of working with actors, or performers in general, if you do not rely on them as creative forces?” he said.
“They started to give me incredible social inspiration, and what I wanted is to feel and touch the breath of life coming from these people,” he said. “All my constructions that I spent many, many months on, I threw them away in one gesture: ‘No. We will follow the characters.’”
The eight episode series has all the young angst, confusion, and pent up sexual energy of Guadagnino’s signature works, but with the added twist of living abroad during such a politically fraught time. The story focuses on Fraser (Jack Dyan Grazer), the newcomer to the army base along with his mum Sarah (the base’s new commander) and her wife, Maggie (Alice Braga). An outsider, he becomes close with his neighbour, Caitlin (Jordan Kristine Seamón), and together they explore the complexities of their evolving identities in a sterile military environment where order and convention rules.
Another stamp of Guadagnino is his subtlety; much is often left unsaid. While it makes for thought-provoking television, the mysterious around each character can be difficult to keep straight. Thankfully, we’ve got your cheat sheet.
Ahead, meet the cast and characters of We Are Who We Are.