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Russell Tovey stars as a closeted Premiership footballer in ‘The Pass’

By Will Stroude

This year’s BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival is set to kick off in style tonight (February 11), with the world premiere of British drama film The Pass, starring Russell Tovey.

The movie adaptation of John Donnelly’s critically-acclaimed play sees Tovey reprise the role he first portrayed on stage back in 2014, alongside fellow returnees Nico Mirallegro (Hollyoaks) and theatre actress Lisa McGrillis.

Following three very different nights over 10 years in the life of a Premier League footballer, Tovey stars as Jason, a rising star at the beginning of his career, whose world is thrown into turmoil after he kisses long-time friend and team-mate Ade (Arinze Kene) as they share a hotel room the night before his first big international match.

The release of The Pass comes after it was rumoured back in October that two Premiership stars were preparing to publicly announce that they were gay.


Producer Duncan Kenworthy, whose previous credits include Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill and Love Actually, said of the film’s topical subject matter: “As a season ticket holder of a major Premier League Club, I know just how much interest there is in the question of why no currently-playing Premier League player has come out – or has felt able to come out – as gay.

The Pass is by no means an issue film, but John Donnelly’s wonderful screenplay puts very handsome flesh on the bones of this modern anomaly, imagining the pain, passion and complexity of the lives of elite footballers always inches away from fame or failure, and wondering whether honesty is worth the price.”

The 30th anniversary edition of BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival will take place at BFI Southbank from Wednesday, March 16 – Sunday, March 27 2016.

The world’s best LGBT cinema will be showcased once again at the annual event, with a detailed programme set to be announced next Thursday (February 18). For more information visit

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