Interview: Elliot Fletcher Talks The Fosters, Social Justice, & Trans Visibility – Exclusive
Pop City Life recently chatted with Elliot Fletcher – a.k.a. Aaron Baker on The Fosters – about Aaron and Callie’s relationship, what to expect from The Fosters 5×07, taking a stand for social justice, and more.
When we spoke with Maia Mitchell, she said Aaron is a good influence on Callie because he shares her sense of justice but encourages her to make decisions more cautiously and less impulsively. Would you agree with that? What’s your take on their relationship dynamic, especially in the context of The Fosters 5×07?
Elliot Fletcher: Yeah, I would say I kind of agree with that. Aaron’s a bit older, so maybe he thinks a little bit more about certain consequences or he’s had experience with being really impulsive. In my opinion, he can be a little bit controlling, but he’s really trying to look out for Callie, and I think that’s really sweet. They’ve already gotten a considerable amount closer, but in this episode, they get even closer and they reach a new level of comfort with one another. That’s really beautiful to see in a relationship, and the whole story line is really beautiful to watch. They go on this hike, and the conversations they have are really intimate and amazing. It was a fun episode to film, and I hope everyone enjoys watching it.
After The Fosters 5×06 aired last week, you posted a statement on social media to make it clear you disagreed with Aaron’s stance in the episode. Can you expand on that? What prompted you to make that post?
I wanted to make it very clear that I am extremely passionate about standing up for what is right, and [for] love and acceptance. I think Aaron definitely does stand for that as well, but he is clearly more of the belief that both sides should have their say and it should be a conversation. And I do think it should be a conversation, but if one side is being particularly violent or vile or saying things that are truly horrifying, I don’t know if that’s constructive to the conversation or if that’s going to be worthwhile. I was going to write that post [regardless of] what was happening, but with what our president is tweeting and what’s going on in Charlottesville, I wanted to make it very clear that I would not and will not stand for hate speech. I will do everything in my power to stop that. That’s always been very important to me. So I sat down and wrote [the post] and I asked a couple of people, “Does this sound right? Does this get the point across? Is this good enough?” because I wanted to make sure that I covered all the ground I wanted to cover. They all agreed, and I posted it and got a very positive reaction. I don’t think Aaron is a bad person, but I’m glad people are acknowledging that the right thing to do is get involved.
Both you as a public figure and The Fosters as a show have emphasized that there is no singular trans experience. With that said, what do you hope viewers learn from Aaron as a character, and from his specific story line?
I do think it’s really great that Aaron has a different trans experience than I have, and [than] a lot of other people, and [than] the other characters I play on TV. It’s really cool to highlight that, and it’s really fun to play a trans person who is more… I don’t use the term “stealth” because I think it kind of has a negative connotation, but to play a trans person who is low- to no-disclosure about being transgender is really interesting. Seeing all these different experiences of being trans is really nice, and I hope that viewers who are struggling with their identity in that sense can see these characters and maybe identify with some of their traits and feel like, “Maybe I’m not so closed off” or “Maybe it’s not weird to be this certain way.” Aaron is a great character, but there are so many trans characters on television – well, there could be more – that express different ways of being trans. I think that’s really cool and really important for young people, and for older people, and for everybody who is maybe questioning that part of their identity. I do want them to see themselves in characters and feel more comfortable with being who they are.
In addition to The Fosters, you’ve also had recurring roles on Shameless and Faking It. Will Shameless fans get to see more of your character Trevor in the upcoming season? What else is coming up for you?
Stay tuned! I’m working on some stuff that I hope to be able to talk about soon!