Luke Hutchie always had a penchant for creativity, spanning back to his adolescent years while making a short film in Ohio. Fast forward to the present, wherein Luke has a ridiculously fun, campy horror-comedy series called EZRA. Created, written and produced by Luke, the multi-hyphenate also stars as the title character, a killer gay vampire escaping the confines of his shadowy ancient home for the fast-paced, ever-shifting modern world.
Ezra undergoes his fair share of supernatural tribulations while navigating a world full of humans — specifically, who to eat.
Recently, I had the privilege of chatting with Luke about what inspired him to create EZRA, his vampiric pop culture influences, what the creative process was like and more.
This interview is condensed for length and clarity.
Melody McCune: We at GGA love a good origin story. What’s Luke Hutchie’s origin story?
Luke Hutchie: I was born in Niagara Falls. We love the honeymoon capital of the world! I was always interested in film and television and art and music. I love creating things. When I was a teenager, we shot a short film in Ohio. That’s what started everything for me — working on set as a teenager and finding something I felt gave me a reason. It was an outlet. This industry is hectic and crazy and it fits me well. Now, we’re at gay vampires.
MM: That leads to my next question. Let’s talk about EZRA. What’s it about, and what inspired you to create it?
LH: EZRA is about an insecure little gay vampire named Ezra Grey. He integrates himself into the human world, fleeing his family because he doesn’t feel like that life is fulfilling and he doesn’t want to hide anymore. So, Ezra enters a world that’s not meant for him, which would involve him trying to kill people and not getting caught. But also while doing that, he wants to experience human love and feel accepted. Crazy things happen on that journey.
As an actor, when you’re queer, I can’t speak for everybody, but in my experience, when auditions come in, they’re very stereotypical. Most of the time they’re very, “Yes, queen. Mama slay!” This is good, it’s relevant and it’s real, but we do get pigeonholed a lot as a stereotype.
Coming out is really important. But that story’s been told. Queer people aren’t a coming-out story. That’s not the only thing they have to offer. With Ezra, he’s insane, a killer and literally a Gemini, so he’s extra crazy. He also happens to be gay. It has nothing to do with him or his sexuality.
What we wanted to do was have a show that happens to have a queer person at the center of it for no reason. It has no relevance to the story, but it happens to be what it is. For us, it was important to have a show that represents Canada’s diversity today but also do that without making it about that. We wanted to give a voice to a world that doesn’t get one. How many gay vampires do you know?
MM: Were you influenced by any media? Any films or TV shows?
LH: There were a few. My favorite movie of all time is Jennifer’s Body. Could not be a better movie. That movie played a lot into it. The Addams Family, Ginger Snaps — all of these culty movies that are specific to themselves. I feel like that inspired the overall essence of EZRA.
It’s almost like Halloweentown, but trying to be scary. There’s camp within the spooky and it knows what it is and it’s giving you only what it knows it is. We were like, “Okay. We’re making a gay vampire, so we might as well make it a little different.”
In the trailer, there’s a scene where Ezra’s jaw expands, and it’s more than two fangs. We tried to make him more demonic. We’re like, “Let’s do something crazy.” But definitely Addams Family and Jennifer’s Body. Those were probably the biggest, tone-wise.
MM: I love that. Halloweentown — that’s such a great description.
LH: Episode four is going to give you Halloweentown. Episode four is like if Freaky Friday and Halloweentown were one thing.
MM: Describe the series using three words.
LH: Fun, spooky and brave.
MM: Do you share any similarities with your character and did you incorporate your experiences into the script?
LH: I’m very similar to Ezra. He’s learning about who he is, and I feel like I was able to do that from trial and error in my own life. But the thing I love the most about Ezra is that he’s so unapologetic. He’ll be himself no matter what, even in the weirdest situations. That’s the one thing about him I really like, but I’m definitely not as brave as him. He will do some crazy things. I’m like, “How can you not have an anxiety attack before you do these wacko things?”
When we were writing it, the biggest thing was to remove ourselves personally so that we could look at it as a viewer and not tunnel vision ourselves.
I relate to Ezra in a lot of ways, but I would love to have his ability to not care at all, which almost gets him killed.
MM: What can audiences expect when they watch the show?
LH: Audiences can expect a fun story. You can expect a great team of characters. You can expect to watch a show that tells a story about self-acceptance and self-validation in the most absurd way imaginable. The show is so funny. I think people will like it. It isn’t trying to be anything more than what it is. A lot of people are going to relate to the characters and everything that goes on. I think there’s a character for everybody to relate to. I’m really excited for people to have that experience.
MM: What has this creative process been like for you? What was it like wearing all those hats, so to speak?
LH: It was crazy. It truly was insane. I could teach a college course with what I learned from this experience. But it was really rewarding and I’m grateful we were able to work with such immense Canadian talent. Obviously, Chelsea Clark is a phenomenal actress, and she’s also an incredible writer. She was a champion in the building when we were making this show. Having her on board with Zoé De Grand Maison, Matthew Finlan and Veronika Slowikowska — having all these great, talented people on this show was surreal.
We had amazing directors with Marianna Phung and Mike Mildon. It was a lot for me doing it, but I wouldn’t have done it any other way. It’s crazy we were able to do that. I’m alive; I didn’t die.
Definitely moving forward with Season 2, which I hope we get, we will be expanding our team so that it’s not just myself and Chelsea because I learned my lesson. Too many hats.
MM: Maybe take off a couple of those hats for the next season.
LH: Just one. If there was one less, that would’ve changed my life.
MM: Do you have a highlight from filming the show?
LH: There’s a scene in episode two, and it’s a scene with myself and Veronika Slowikowska who plays Amber. She is a b**chy blonde, typical popular girl. Veronika is a professional comedian. She does improv and stand-up. She’s one of my best friends. She is incredible.
There’s a script, but she makes up everything. We’re trying to get through this scene and she’s being crazy. I’m like dry-heave sobbing because I can’t stop laughing. Everybody was getting pissed because I couldn’t keep it together. Matthew was in the background of this scene and he had to duck because no one could stop laughing.
That was my favorite scene to film. You can see it when you watch the show. I look like I’m twitching because I’m trying so hard to get through this scene. She was so funny and it was so good. It was insanity from start to finish.
MM: Do you have any favorite vampires from pop culture?
LH: This is an unpopular opinion. Lestat from Queen of the Damned. Within that movie, I love Aaliyah. She’s phenomenal. Forever my icon. But definitely Lestat in Queen of the Damned. I think Stuart Townsend plays him.
The clothes, the music. It’s so 2000. I remember growing up watching that movie and I was like, “Oh my God, he’s like a pop star. He’s so edgy because he’s a vampire.” I was obsessed with his entire aesthetic in that movie. He is my favorite vampire, but more style-wise. That movie is not the best movie of all time.
MM: No, but it’s entertaining.
LH: It’s entertaining. I have a poster of it in my bedroom.
MM: What else is on the horizon for you, career-wise?
LH: There are a few tricks up my sleeve that I cannot talk about yet, but we have other projects coming up. Right now, I’m thrilled to have EZRA. I hope we can continue the story and make more seasons. I’m mostly excited for people to watch the show. I think everyone’s going to enjoy themselves on this strange little ride.
MM: Name your top five favorite films.
MM: Thank you so much for chatting with me today, Luke! Congrats on EZRA!
LH: Thank you, Melody!
Follow Luke (@lukehutchie) and the official EZRA account (@ezratheseries) on Instagram to keep up to date on the series. The first two episodes of EZRA are now streaming on OUTtv (CA), OUTtv Prime Video (CA) and the OUTtv channel on Apple TV (US).
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