Josh Feldman is a deaf actor, writer, and producer from Los Angeles. He and his BFF Shoshanah Stern, who is also deaf, are co-creators of the new series This Close.
“It’s so easy for characters to be just one thing,” Feldmen tells HuffPost. “In real life, people are many things at the same time.”
“I never saw myself on TV or in movies, so I never thought I could write about myself. I never wrote about deaf people because I didn’t think people would be receptive or interested.”
Well, it turns our people were both receptive and interested.
Sundance Now picked up the six-episode dramedy and premiered it last month. Now, the series is available to view in its entirety on the network’s streaming platform.
“This Close” has been described as sort of a hybrid between HBO’s “Girls” and “Looking.” It chronicles the misadventures of two deaf 20-somethings living in Los Angeles.
Each half-hour episode manages to be a little funny, a little bit sexy, and a little bit heartbreaking. It stars both Feldman and Stern, along with Cheryl Hines and Marlee Matlin, the only deaf actress in history to win an Oscar.
“We realized that we should write something that’s very ‘us’,” Feldman told Out back in January. “Something we know best: friendship between a woman and a gay man.”
Critics and fans alike have loved the series, although it hasn’t attracted as much mainstream attention as Feldman and Stern hoped. Still, he says the praise has been encouraging, especially as they await to find if the show will be renewed for a second season.
“We know exactly how everything is going to end,” he says, adding that he wants audiences to see his character “go from a boy to a man. He has to take responsibility for his own life.”
Whatever happens, though, Feldman says he’ll be happy if the show simply inspires Hollywood to tackle more projects involving deaf creators, actors, and storylines. He also has some ideas for other projects he would like to produce, including a period drama featuring deaf characters.
“There are so many other types of deaf stories that we’re hoping to add to the mix,” he says. “We want to do right by the deaf community.”
Watch the Season 1 trailer of “This Close.”