Actor and creator, Vasilios Filippakis, talk to Defective Geeks about the brilliant origin story of the title his new series, FAK YAASS– and if you wanted to find out what his dream project would be, keep reading below!
Hello, Vasilios, thank you for talking to Defective Geeks! FAK YAASS looks absolutely hilarious and heartfelt. What inspired the title and how does it tie-in with the themes of the show?
Hey there! Thanks so much for taking the time to ask me some questions about the show. I love shows that are exactly that, have heart but make you laugh out loud. I was serving a table at my night job and I happened to serve these wonderful Greek ladies and their mother. We got chatting, I told them about the show and how I wanted a title with a pun. I tossed the ideas of something with gyro, or souvlaki but still couldn’t figure it out. Later when I got back to the table, they said “what about FAK YES!” So that’s how I get the title! Fakes– pronounced “fah-kehs”– is an authentic Greek lentil dish. We put a play on the words and created our title FAK YAASS. I owe those ladies a free dinner.
Tell us about your character, Nico. What was the biggest challenge when creating this project and taking on the role?
Nico is a gay, young 20 year old living in the big city. He has aspirations to be an actor but since he’s kinda short, 5’5 to be exact, so he has been having trouble landing any roles. He loves to party, maybe too much, and in turn ignores his family back home. He really just feels like his family doesn’t fully understand him yet. The biggest challenge in creating this project was really just letting go. I put a lot of my life on display. The dialogue, the characters and even down to the home videos you’ll see throughout the show are all super personal to me. Through this process I learned how much authenticity matters, not online on screen but in life overall.
Did you take a lot of inspiration from your own life and family dynamic when writing about a Greek family with big personalities? Who is your favorite character (or characters) in the show?
Haha! We do have big personalities, that’s for use. I totally took a lot of inspiration from own life and family (essentially everything)! Some scenes are almost direct conversations I’ve either had or heard while being with my family. Outside of the family aspect, Anton (Shadrack Jackman) and Torri (Leanne Noelle Smith) are both my best friends in real life and are huge inspirations behind the characters they play in FAK YAASS. I really love Anton’s character. He’s very much the comedic relief…very Shadrack.
FAK YAASS deals with the very real disconnect of LGBTQ+ with their families who are unable to accept or understand them. What message do you hope the show will bring to the audience and how do you hope it will make them feel?
I hope that FAK YAASS will teach people that you should never stop being yourself. In our story you see Nico come home to his family, who are at various stages in their acceptance, and he’s fiercely himself. I think we all can open our hearts, have empathy and be willing to grow and accept each other exactly as we come. I want people after watching FAK YAASS to laugh and cry but also take a moment to reflect on their own lives, values, beliefs and relationships .
What advice would you give to a creator or actor who want to write about their own unique experiences and want to help crate more representation in the industry?
I would say do it. Work past the fear and hesitation and know that your unique story is something people will relate too. It has honestly been the most gratifying experience in my career so far. I would also suggest to reach out to your support system and build a solid team. My team consist of my writer, Anthony Filangeri, co-star/producer, Leanne Noelle Smith and producer/director Matthew McLaughlin. I would not be where I am without these people. Creating your own work is possible but having a strong team striving for the same goal makes it happen.
Do you have a dream project you want to work on in the future?
Do I ever! Honestly, Wolverine…I’m coming for you.
Now for a very important question– if you could pick one super power, which would it be and why? Would you be a super hero or a super villain?
YAS! For sure a hero. I would multiply! There needs to be minimum five Vasilios to do all my work so the OG me can sleep. I have this ongoing joke with my roommate that I’ll get to sleep by the time I’m 33 years old… if I can sleep sooner I’ll be a happy man.