Johnny Sibilly as Noah in Queer as Folk
Devin Way as Brodie and Johnny Sibilly as Noah
Pictured (L to R) Johnny Sibilly as Noah, Lukas Gage as Eric and Calvin Seabrooks as Taylor
Ryan O'Connell as Julian and Johnny Sibilly as Noah
When Johnny Sibilly found out casting had begun for a new Queer as Folk, he immediately texted his team. "I was like, 'I have to be a part of this. I don't care how — just get me in the room.'"
Sibilly got in the casting room and was chosen as Noah — a successful lawyer who isn't as put together as he appears — on the Peacock series premiering June 9.
The original Queer as Folk — created by Russell T. Davies — ran on Channel 4 in Britain from 1999 to 2000 and initially premiered to mixed reviews and skepticism (the portrayal of the characters around the issue of AIDS was called into question, as were the explicit sex scenes). But the series achieved cult status and was hailed as a milestone for gay and lesbian representation in the years that followed, even inspiring an American version which ran for five seasons — from 2000 to 2005.
Like the original, which is set in Manchester, England, and Showtime's Pittsburgh-based follow-up, this incarnation of the series focuses on a group of LGBTQ friends — this time in New Orleans.
"I'm so happy that the show takes place in New Orleans. There's such a beautiful queer community that is so vibrant [there] that I'm so excited for people to see," says Sibilly, who knows the city well.
Mostly raised in Miami, Sibilly, who is of Cuban and Dominican descent, was born in New Orleans. His parents were in the military, and he spent time in the Big Easy every year during the Christmas holidays and summers.
At the age of 23, he moved to New York City to become an actor. "I worked my way up from background/extra work to Discovery ID show re-enactments. Then I moved to L.A. after six years, and little by little I've climbed the ladder," he says.
Being cast as Costas, the boyfriend of Pray Tell (Billy Porter) on FX's Pose, was Sibilly's big break.
"Pose was the first time I had a character with somewhat of an arc, and those scenes were really, really special," says Sibilly, who played a young man dying of AIDS. "I feel like that was the first time I was able to show what I got."
Then came the role of Wilson, the water inspector who gives comedy star Deborah (Jean Smart) a hard time and dates Marcus (Carl Clemons-Hopkins), the CEO of the performer's empire, on HBO's Hacks.
A member of the LGBTQ community who identifies as a gay cisgender male, Sibilly doesn't just happen to play queer roles. He seeks them out.
"I feel that there's so many stories that have yet to be told, so many biopics that have yet to be made that if I can only ever play queer characters for the rest of my life, I will feel truly lucky that I get to do that," Sibilly says.
Queer as Folk is executive-produced by creator-writer Stephen Dunn along with Jaclyn Moore, Lee Eisenberg, Emily Brecht, original series creator Russell T. Davies, Nicola Shindler and Richard Halliwell on behalf of NENT Studios UK, which distributes the format. The series is produced by UCP, a division of Universal Studio Group.