a composite of red carpet photos of Zachary Quinto and Jacob Elordi
Zachary Quinto (left), Jacob Elordi (right) | Image Credits: Getty Images

Sometimes you hear the plot of a new movie and think, “Who comes up with this stuff?”

That’s definitely the case with He Went That Way, an upcoming crime drama about an animal handler who’s touring the country in the 1960s with a beloved chimpanzee “actor” when the pair suddenly becomes entangled with an enigmatic serial killer.

But the thing is: Nobody made this one up! He Went That Way is inspired by a stranger-than-fiction true story!

Back in 1964, real-life celebrity animal trainer Dave Pitts was traveling across America with Spanky, a famous “TV chimp” who was the main act of the touring entertainment show, the Ice Capades.

At some point on their tour, Pitts and Spanky came into contact with a young hitchhiker who was later discovered to be Larry Lee Ranes, a convicted serial killer in the middle of a senseless murder spree. Pitts is recognized as the sole survivor.

He Went That Way is based both on Pitts’ first-hand account of his run-in with Ranes, as well as Conrad Hilberry’s 2016 novel, Luke Karamazov, a lightly fictionalized take on Ranes’ killing spree (in addition to his young brother Danny’s murders a few years later—but that’s another story for another time).

As if that plot weren’t intriguing enough, the film boasts two star who have us here at Queerty extra excited: Zachary Qunito—one of our most prominent gay leading men—will play animal handler Jim Goodwin, heavily based on Dave Pitts. And none other than Euphoria hunk Jacob Elordi will portray Bobby Falls, the film’s proxy for Larry Lee Ranes.

We got our first official look at Quinto and Elordi in He Went That Way last February, right after production wrapped. While we expect this two be a dark and grisly crime tale, the teaser image does show the two heartthrob actors getting rather close. Is there more to this story than what we know?

It doesn’t help that the film synopsis on IMDB keeps things rather vague: “A journey of curious tensions and bonds between two and at times three interesting characters all on their own path.”

Curious tensions? Bonds? If we didn’t know any better, we’d think that maybe, just maybe, there’s something homoerotic going on here. But don’t hold us to it—it’s just a guess!

We’ll find out for sure soon—it was just announced the film will premiere this June as part of New York’s Tribeca Film Festival.

Tragically, the film’s director, Jeffrey Darling, passed away in 2022 during a surfing incident. An Australian filmmaker and cinematographer known for directing acclaimed commercials and music videos, Darling was set to make his feature-film debut with He Went That Way, which will no be released posthumously.

The debut comes in the middle of what’s sure to be a big year for its leading stars. Quinto can also be seen in the buzzy dark comedy Down Low opposite Lukas Gage, which just had a much talked about premiere at SXSW last month.

As for Elordi, he’s set to play Elvis in a Sofia Coppola-directed biopic about Priscilla Presley due out later this year, in addition to a very Talented Mr. Ripley-sounding (read: Gay!) film called Saltburn. He’s also got a drama on the way called On Swift Horses, in which his co-star Diego Calvo says they’ll have some “pretty hot scenes.” Oh, and there’s another season of Euphoria on the way—yeah, this guy’s busy.

He Went That Way will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, which runs from June 7 -18 (exact date to be announced). Further release details for the film are yet to come, so stay tuned!

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