Film & TV chatted with Charlie Carver of Teen Wolf andDesperate Housewives about his upcoming role as Tyler in Justin Kelly’s directorial debut, I Am Michael. The film is generating buzz on the festival circuit for a particularly steamy threesome scene between Carver, James Franco and Zachary Quinto.

Street: What were your biggest takeaways from working with such established names as James Franco and Gus Van Sant?

Charlie Carver: When it comes to those kinds of [established] names, they’re people who really care about the material and content. They’re up there for a reason. I’ve been taking in a lot of information and observing how everyone behaves on set and approaches a story. It’s been one of the best learning experiences of my life.

Street: The director mentioned that the film is about the desire to belong. How is the theme of identity portrayed in I Am Michael?

CC: James just does such a good job and the story does such a good job of bringing about [the concept] that identity is something that can be incredibly comforting in giving you a true sense of belonging. It can also be limiting and is something that you might not necessarily be able to stick with. As we change over time, sometimes those identities and labels we have to shed. What’s controversial about a statement like that is the comparison to what ends up happening to Michael Gladstone in the film.

Street: Can you think of a moment on set that really epitomizes your experience with the film?

CC: It was three days into shooting the film–we were out on the water playing chicken–the game you play on the shoulders. All of a sudden this huge flock of Canadian geese just flew over us and we all looked afterwards to see if the camera had panned up and caught it. It just felt like an auspicious moment where the environment, Long Island, was on our side and in that moment I saw we were really going to tell this story.

Street attended the red carpet premiere of I Am Michael on January 29th during the 2015 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

This interview has been condensed and edited.