Marc Malkin Senior Film Awards, Events & Lifestyle EditorFinding LGBTQ actors to cast in the new history docuseries “The Book of Queer” wasn’t that difficult.No, producers didn’t ask the actors about their sexuality.“If you’re casting for a show called ‘Book of Queer,’ and you’re saying in the audition process, ‘Is there any particular reason you want to be on this show?,’ they’re going to tell us,” series creator Eric Cervini tells me. “Of course, we weren’t discriminating, but it was kind of self-selecting.’”The five-episode “Book of Queer,” which premieres Thursday on Discovery+, features multiple stories about queer history and queer individuals, including Greek poet Sappho, Alexander the Great, King James, Joan of Arc, Akhenaten, Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Alan Turning, Josephine Baker, Stormé DeLarverie, Sylvia Rivera, Eleanor Roosevelt, Gilbert Baker, Harvey Milk, Marsha P.
Johnson, Ma Rainey and Bayard Rustin. The list of guest stars includes Dominique Jackson, Alex Newell, Leslie Jordan, Ross Mathews, Miss Vanjie, Gottmik and Variety Power of Pride honoree Chris Olsen.The episodes are not boring history lessons.
Instead, the stories are told through song, comedy and lots of camp. Where else will you see a singing and dancing Abraham Lincoln in red, white and blue boxer briefs or an off-the-shoulder sweater dress?Yes, the show presents evidence that Honest Abe may have enjoyed the company of men.The series was inspired by Cervini’s own Instagram video posts that offer short, narrated LGBTQ history lessons that are digestible and accessible.