When it comes to anticipation of remakes of British shows for American audiences, it’s fair to say few have been as eagerly anticipated as is MTV’s remake of the smash UK series Skins. A heady mix of sex, drugs, and youthful rebellion, Skins has proven to be a hit around the world (thanks to the internet) with the British version not only entering its fourth season, but with a movie version in the works.
What might a U.S. version look like? Will it include the frank language and depiction of drug use and sexual activity of the original? Gay viewers are especially curious to see if the U.S. version will include an out gay character similar to Maxxie from Series 1 in the UK.
Based on casting sides from the pilot of the American Skins, the answer to all of the above is yes. That shouldn’t be surprising as the U.S. version is produced by MTV, a network known for pushing boundaries and for being exceptionally gay-friendly.
First a note about “sides”: these are portions of the pilot script used by actors hoping to land one of the roles. (Like the UK version, the U.S. version is reportedly interested in casting actors who aren’t already well-known.) A great deal can change about a pilot at this stage of its development including rewrites, reshoots and even casting changes. Nonetheless, it’s unusual for things to change too drastically and the sides likely give a good idea what the final product will look like.
Based on those sides, AfterElton can report that Skins USA does feature a gay character similar to Maxxie from the original. While much about the character does remain the same, some things have changed including his name. No longer Maxxie, here the character is named Teo and he is described as “a beautiful, gay, Hispanic” boy. Like Maxxie, Teo is also very out and proud as well as being an amazing dancer.
Mitch Hewer as Maxxie
The script for the pilot not only has Teo demonstrating his dancing skills, but taking his friends Chris and Abbud out to a gay club where they have less than a great time. While we don’t actually see the club visit in the sides, the three friends do discuss it later with Cho teasing Abbud for at one point screaming like a girl, apparently when a “fireman” wanted to show him his axe. Abbud also laments to his gay friend “There was a lot of embracing going on down in there, Teo. I mean a lot.
Meanwhile, Chris is annoyed that there weren’t any girls like Teo had promised, which leads to the following exchange:
You said there would be girls.
Chris stops. He turns to Teo.
Let me just say this Te’. Those were not women.
They were almost women. You are so picky…
Clearly, the show isn’t going to be politically correct.
Also remaining is the fliratious friendship between Teo and Tony as demonstrated by the following conversation the two have over the phone.
Whatever… Meet me on the green before pyschology. I gotta proposition for you.
You’re propositioning me… I’m touched, Tony.
Dream on, baby.
Maxxie and Tony
What else remains the same? Tony is still named Tony and is just as charismatic and very much the center of all the action which includes helping his best friend Stanley try to lose his virginity and organizing a drug buy for a party everyone is attending.
As for Maxxie’s best friend Anwar in the UK series, here he is named Abbud here, and he and Teo are still good friends. If the U.S. version follows the UK storyline, eventually Abbud’s Islamic beliefs will threaten to come between the two friends (with an unlikely adult encouraging Abbud to be more tolerant.).
Other character name changes include switching Cassie to Cadie, Jal to Cho (and changing her ethnicity from East Asian to Korean), Sid to Stanley, and Abigail to Tabita. Those that keep their orginal names include the aforementioned Tony, his sort of girlfriend Michelle as well as Chris. None of the sides obtained by AfterElton.com made mention of Tony’s younger sister Effy from the original.
All in all, the U.S. version thus far appears to be a faithful adaption of the British original and those changes that have been made – especially making Teo an out and proud gay Latino – are changes that are well worth making.
Oh, and as for the drugs and sex, those are there as well. It wouldn’t be Skins without it.