New LGBTQ film Single Man Problems: Volume One is gaining fans ever since it premiered on Tubi Sept. 8. The film stars Keefe Grimes as Ronnie Maxwell, described as “a self-conscious, queen black man who delves deeper into the labyrinth of catfishing while forced to confront the provocative question: What is true love without unpacking your past trauma?”
The film, which originally debuted as web series at the New York Latino Film Festival in 2018 and on Here TV 2019, earned Grimes a 2020 Pre-Daytime Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Lead Actor in a Digital Drama and in 2022, Grimes won in the category for Best Male Performance (Drama) at the International Academy of Web Television Awards. Co-writer and director Bobby Ashley spoke to Shadow and Act about the film he co-wrote with Robert McCullough and what he hopes for the film going forward.
Ashley said that the impetus to turn Single Man Problems: Volume One into a film after its web series release on Here TV was to fill some holes in the current story.
“The decision to transform this into a film following the conclusion of Here TV licensing deal stemmed from the desire to mend specific narrative gaps in the serialized movie adaptation,” he said. “During its initial web series run on Here TV, there were aspects of the story that we wish we had been able to delve into more deeply, such as the relationship between Ronnie and his mother, but we needed a more complex thematic question to enrich the narrative. These elements were essential to us; now, they have found their place. The foundation of the storytelling was strong enough to expand and smooth the contours for the adaptation to be authentic.”
The film has been able to find a new life not only on Tubi, but on TikTok, where clips have gone viral. Ashley said that fans are now excited for a second volume because of the clips’ popularity.
@iambobbyashley Poor Ronnie 😂 #tubi #fyp #lgbtq #tubimovies #gaytiktok #blacklgbtq ♬ original sound – iambobbyashley
“In the middle of 2022, I made my TikTok debut to direct more eyes towards my initial web series, The Ave, also available on Tubi. I did not foresee that I would organically have a large devoted following by sharing bite-sized, 10-15-second snippets from the series,” he said. “It was only logical to stay on this path, especially when promoting Single Man Problems: Volume One. I noticed that many other Tubi films were gaining traction, but they often began with low expectations regarding quality, sound, and acting. However, the story of Single Man Problems defied these expectations, leaving viewers with an appetite for Volume Two.”
“The elation of witnessing the film amass a dedicated following across various social media platforms is beyond compare,” he continued. “To see users on TikTok and Instagram incorporating sound from the viral clip into their content was very exciting. It’s a great reminder that people from diverse backgrounds are hungry for relatable, resonant storytelling that reflects everyday life. Primarily when narrated by authentic voices.”
Ashley said that he has a “clear blueprint” for the second volume, saying, “The ongoing viewership and sharing of Volume 1 are pivotal in helping us bring Volume 2 to the screen sooner rather than later in the coming year. So, continue to watch and share Volume 1 with family [and] friends.”
Tubi also has more LGBTQ content coming to the platform, such as the vampire film Slay, starring several RuPaul’s Drag Race alums, including Trinity the Tuck (RuPaul’s Drag Race season 9 and RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars seasons 4 and 7), Crystal Methyd (RuPaul’s Drag Race season 12), Heidi N Closet (RuPaul’s Drag Race season 12 and RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars season 8) and Cara Melle (RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season 5).