Kurt Iswarienko shoots suave Colin Firth for Manhattan's December 2009 issue. Inside, the A Single Man star, who seems bound for an Oscar nomination, says he's not too invested in this possibility:
"I'm too old to think this is some great new dawn for me. It's not. It will be what it is. Perhaps people will see this movie, or maybe they won't. Perhaps we'll win awards, but maybe we won't. If I had to make a guess, I'd say I will carry on doing what I did before. That's what happened when things felt special in the past, and it's what will happen again."
Balance and reason...so dreammmy!
Of the film's gay content, which has been as analyzed as a kid in ex-gay therapy, Firth says:
"You can argue that this movie is about the love that dare not speak its name, but that sounds too banal. It's really about sexual feeling; it's about isolation; it's about intimacy; it's about loss. Why differentiate between feeling and gay feeling? It's all human feeling."
More images after the jump...and caution: That man can wear a sweater...
The Golden Globes are always fun as quasi-Oscar predictors, and because the Hollywood Foreign Press is unabashedly pro-star. They love giving nominations (and even awards) to big names not known for their acting chops, especially when those big names stretch ever so slightly. (Case in point: Madonna was nominated for and won a Globe, though went on not to even get an Oscar nomination.)
This is why someone like Julia Roberts gets nominated for something like Duplicity (um, exactly!) and why they adore giving wins to newcomers whose shows have made a big splash (remembering Keri Russell winning for Felicity, America Ferrera, etc.)
The year's biggest shock for me was the failure of Mariah Carey to get a nomination. She was never, ever Oscar-nomination-bound, not really, but the Globes seemed a possibility for her. Guess her international profile isn't as big as her profile. (This is a breast joke, not a fat joke, and as such is an expression of my civility toward a figure—in both senses—I dislike but whom did well in a movie that was my first or second fave of 2009.)
The complete list of Golden Globes nominations—my comments, if any, follow each category...
The National Board of Review announced its winners for 2009 and they're...pretty staid, I think. I liked Up in the Air a lot (though toward the end it was quite heavy-handed and there is a twist that shocked me only in that nobody but me seemed to see it coming...and I didn't figure out The Sixth Sense!), but I'm kinda flummoxed that it seems to be a leading contender for Best Picture, winning here. More vexing, the Top 10 list doesn't include PreciousorA Single Man. If this year's Top 10 for Oscar includes Star Trek, I'm leaving Oscar for good.
Also sad, seeing Anna Kendrick win—as opposed to just get nominated for an award—for her Up in the Air turn. Over Mo'Nique? Over Julianne Moore? Over [fill in the blank]? She was fine in the film, but not outstanding.
The articulate and thoughtful Colin Firth gives a great interview to Brandon Voss at The Advocate about A Single Man. Though he continues to emphasize that George's gayness isn't an issue—he does at least clarify that he equates one's gayness mattering with struggling with one's sexuality—he pulls no punches when asked about Weinstein Co.'s alleged "de-gaying" of the film.
Voss asks if de-gaying it in the marketing does the film a "disservice," to which Firth replies:
"Yes, I do. It is deceptive. I don't think they should do that because there's nothing to sanitize. It's a beautiful story of love between two men and I see no point in hiding that. People should see it for what it is."
Voss also asks the question I tried to ask Firth at the film's press day this week but never got a chance to, namely, did he feel any trepidation in playing gay in the '80s as opposed to now. The answer is "it didn't cross my mind for a second," but had I asked it, I would've mentioned his gay role in Apartment Zero. I was surprised to read Voss's piece and discover that Firth has played so many gay roles. I guess it's a British thing, or maybe just that he is the non-caveman who says yes to them.
Yesterday, I was invited to the press day for A Single Man (official site) Tom Ford's singularly satisfying adaptation of the classic Christopher Isherwood novel about a man reacting to the sudden loss of his lover, set in L.A. in 1962. I arrived, got my notes in the hospitality suite at the Ritz Carlton on Central Park South and wound up with a front-row seat downstairs. Held in a room off the bar, passing tourists could peek in through the windows to see actors Nicholas Hoult (he of About a Boy fame), Colin Firth and Julianne Moore as well as the director fielding a strange mish-mosh of questions from the assembled media.
L TO R, TOP TO BOTTOM: Colin Firth on the gay aspect of the film, Firth on the relevance of showing a happy gay couple in a movie, Nicholas Hoult on if Kenny is gay, Hoult on the significance of gay identity in the film.
I was sandwiched between an interesting older woman (Ford was, at one point, called a "gay man of a certain age" to his face) from HuffingtonPost who was using an antique tape recorder and a younger Polish woman with serious film questions who'd snatched so many of the free cookies that she almost had to offer me one when I happened to glance at her stash.
Ford and Firth, sharp-dressed men (of a certain age)
Questions ranged from the banal ("Julianne, have you picked up any fun makeup tips while making movies over the years?") to the strangulated (a strange request of Firth to connect his character to Harvey Milk since the films are set in basically the same era—which they aren't), but one thing that stood out for me was how reluctant the men were to concede that this is a uniquely gay story, albeit one readily absorbable by a non-gay audience. Instead, it was repeated a few times that George is gay but the story could be about a straight man...and this just is not true.
L TO R, TOP TO BOTTOM: Tom Ford on Gore Vidal, his Oscar buzz and his film's gay role models, Ford on Rupert Everett's advice to actors to stay closeted, Ford on his seriousness about directing, Julianne Moore on the unique relationship between gay men and their female friends.
I do think much of this comes from a marketing directive. However, the fact that such a marketing consideration exists proves that "gay" really does still matter, something the decidedly liberal and enlightened principals seemed to want to disbelieve. The main disconnect is those who don't want this to be a gay film seem to define that as a film in which the character or characters are struggling with being gay. For me, a film can be gay (and also potentially universal) even if—or perhaps especially if—the characters are content with their sexualities.
I don't overly fault them for their opinions, or even the studio for attempting to de-gay the film in its marketing because what matters most is the fact that the film itself is unflinching, a masterpiece really. But I still find it endlessly fascinating that a movie with a strong theme about the invisibility of its gay characters is making its own gayness invisible as a means of getting by in an unaccepting world—47 years after the supposedly ancient time in which it's set.
I asked Ford about the invisibility theme. He seemed to like my question (after initially politely asking someone near me to not take his picture while he was talking):
Nicholas Hoult was gorgeous and fresh and articulate beyond his years, Colin Firth was handsome and dry-witted and had such a commanding presence, Tom Ford was charmingly gregarious and bore no resemblance to the menacingly macho images we've been force-fed and Julianne Moore was ravishingly beautiful and hilarious—she really seems to not sweat the small stuff, which made a stern request that we not photograph her and a sudden softening of the lights seem silly and unnecessary.
Be sure to see A Single Man when it opens. Here is my original review. Tons more video and transcriptions of all the best quotes after the jump, including Firth on whether Ford called him fat and Ford being asked if Jon Hamm makes a voice cameo in the film...
Will Davidson shoots model Jon Kortajarena (Tom Ford's muse) for Vman (Winter 2009). Regarding his turn as a rentboy in Ford's A Single Man:
"I knew the movie was going to be something special from the moment I read the script. I had tears...I realized that while playing this role I felt very strong and very secure, maybe more than in real life. If you feel that way doing something, it means you're supposed to do it."
I hope that means more acting, though it could also mean he felt good being a rentboy. In which case, who wants to chip in?
I dreamt of terrorism last night. In my dream, I was in the elevator where I work, but there was no light in the elevator. This has happened to me once before, when an after-hours conductor beckoned me to get on before I realized there was no illumination. The sensation of being in pitch blackness as you're descending is completely disorienting; it was like my breathless descent on the similarly lightless stairs from the same building the day of a big black-out a few years back—it felt like being a sentient creature with no body, no sense of where I began or ended.
The rest of the dream was more literal, about a giant building across the street from where I work being demolished by a car bomb. I could see police in cars screaming for everyone to evacuate the sidewalks. I walked home and yet another bomb went off in the Hudson, leading to surprisingly speedy "tourrorism," masses of people taking souvenir pictures of the destruction.
What caused this paranoid dream was a sliver of the film A Single Man, directed, co-written and co-produced by designing man Tom Ford, which I saw at a screening last night. In it, gay college professor George Falconer (Colin Firth), who is nearly enveloped in grief after the unexpected death of his partner Jim (Matthew Goode) in a car crash far from their Los Angeles home, lectures his class on the ways in which fear is used by corporations and governments to control our lives. This shockingly modern theme was not out of place in the film despite its early '60s setting, and it had caused me to dream up a fear that most Americans have been encouraged to have, and that most New Yorkers have based on the likelihood that something like this will happen again.
My brain had taken the opposite message of the character's speech and of the film itself; maybe the fear that's harder to overcome than the propaganda fed to us by potential oppressors is the fear we dream up ourselves. We can be our own worst enemies. Certainly George Falconer must overcome himself more so than any other dreadful barrier as he sets out to determine where a sentient being like he begins and ends in a world recently clouded by darkness.
George lives in a cozy L.A. suburb, sticking out like a sore thumb among paired-off heterosexuals and their inquisitive children. His sexuality is an open secret, yet still a secret. Curiously, he lives in a modern glass house designed by his late partner, an architect, making his external life more transparent than his internal one.
In a no-holds-barred interview with Kevin Sessums for The Advocate, Tom Ford discusses his Oscarbait movie A Single Man, his brilliant career and the first blowjob he ever gave, in the backseat of a Checker cab after a Studio 54 excursion.
On the one hand, the idea that A Single Man's marketing was de-gayed is re-gayed by Ford's unapologetically out attitude. On the other, he sees fit to say stupid things like, "If you said name 10 things that define me, being gay wouldn't make the list."
Something that didn't cross my mind but did cross the collective minds of VGL and The Advocate: Is the marketing for Tom Ford's film A Single Man (adapted from Christopher Isherwood's classic gay novel) too straight?
I don't know if it's a bad thing that the Weinsteins are attempting to lure a broader audience in this way...for me, the real tragedy would be if the film were de-gayed.