Only One Direction could distract me from writing about Blue Hawaii. I’ve been so intrigued by the British boy band’s latest music video “Kiss You” that I have been unable to finish the post. (I’m probably also procrastinating.) If you don’t hang out with tween girls, then you most likely haven’t watched this video. Here it is.
In 1987 a trio of relatively unknown British actors – James Wilby, Hugh Grant, and Rupert Graves – starred in James Ivory’s adaptation of E.M. Forester’s novel Maurice. Written in 1914, Maurice was not published until 1971 after Forester’s death and it is considered to be a minor work. Ivory’s film would lead you to believe otherwise.
Some spoilers follow.
I found this column on Hollywood-Elsewhere. This ticked me off and I felt I had to share. So much for living in a tolerant world.
Brokeback Lockouts – by Jeffrey Wells
Brokeback Mountain is having another good financial weekend, but it’s running into conflicts with the moral guardians in Rubeland.
Ang Lee’s film was abruptly pulled on Friday, 1.7, from the Megaplex 17 at Jordan Commons in Salt Lake City, Utah. The decision was reportedly made late Thursday, 1.5, although the word didn’t get out until Friday.
The reason appeared to be moral indignation, either on the part of the theatre’s Mormon owner, Larry Miller, or…let’s be imaginative …on the part of local rightie bigwigs who put political pressure on Miller.
Regal Cinemas reportedly took the film off the bill on Thursday after it had heavily marketed the movie in the local media. Regal has said that the decision was simply an error and isn’t about censorship, but there’s been some skepticism about this.
“The Regal multiplex movie theater ran ads for Brokeback Mountain in Thursday’s edition of the local Kitsap Sun newspaper and was promoting pre-sale tickets at the theater,” 365gay reports. “But posters at the theater disappeared on late Thursday, and further ads in the paper were cancelled.”
The Salt Lake City situation centers around Miller, known to be an auto dealer, entrepreneur and Utah Jazz owner. He has been described in a news story by Sean Means as “the Louis B. Mayer of Mormon Cinema.”
If Brokeback‘s opening-day business in Salt Lake City was in any way similar to how it was described by readers in St. Louis and Portland, it was probably pretty good. I’ve been told that shows were sold out in advance in SLC, but I don’t know.
Here’s an oddly written local report that ran Friday about Miller’s pulling the Ang Lee film from his theatre.
There’s an IMDB posting claiming that when Miller was asked for comment during a news segment on Fox News 13, he said he wasn’t up for comment or criticism, but added that “immorality is immorality, any way you look at it.”
Reader Mandy Bartels said that “what surprises and disappoints me is that the theater bought the film in good faith, promoted it and sold tickets to eager patrons. Then along comes the owner who pulls it when the queues were already forming to watch it. And then gives a totally lame reason as to why it was pulled.
“This sounds like the 1950s, not the 21st century. It underlines why Brokeback Mountain is so relevant today, despite people thinking we live in a more tolerant society. It seems we haven’t moved on from when the film was set in the 1960s.”
I’ll be nosing around for more reports about this. I suppose I’ll try to call Miller myself this weekend. If anyone was at Miller’s theatre on Friday and can fill in any details, please write in.
Brokeback Mountain added 215 theatres for this weekend and did $1.7 million Friday night. It’s expected to earn about $5.7 for the weekend, and by the end of this weekend the film will have made $22 million.
The cultural impact is obviously spreading, but the initial brushfire has cooled down a bit. It’s doing extremely well in some areas but only fair in others. The per-screen is still strong, but it’s more like $12,000 a print than $24,000 or thereabouts.
I realize that I’ve made my opinion on this subject very clear and very biased. And you’re just going to have to forgive me for it. I just wish that people could step outside of their comfort zone and give something new and different a chance. I’m not attacking anyone’s values but the only way we are ever going to get anywhere in this world is if we start accepting people for who they are and look past what you or I may consider immoral. That is why Brokeback Mountain is a culturally significant movie and why it is important for people to see it. Is that too much to ask?
I found this interesting article in the NY Times. There is an emerging and rapdily increasing trend in Hollywood Straight actors playing gay, transgender, or transvestite characters.
The Winner is…. Only Acting Gay
By: Caryn James
Groups that hand out awards can be suckers for acting stunts, from Nicole Kidman’s fake nose in The Hours to Adrien Brody’s near-starvation for The Pianist. The tradition is so entrenched that Kate Winslet, playing an outrageous comic version of herself in the HBO series “Extras,” listed a surefire way to get that elusive Academy Award.
“Daniel Day-Lewis in My Left Foot? Oscar. Dustin Hoffman, Rain Man? Oscar,” she says. “Seriously, you are guaranteed an Oscar if you play a mental.” Irreverent, imprecise (the Day-Lewis character was not mentally troubled) yet essentially true.
This season she might have added: playing gay. There has been an explosion of Oscar-baiting performances in which straight actors play gay, transvestite or transgender characters. Philip Seymour Hoffman melts into the role of the gay title character in Capote, while Cillian Murphy plays a transvestite in 1970’s Ireland in Neil Jordan’s witty, endearing Breakfast on Pluto. Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger play lovers in Brokeback Mountain (set to open Dec. 9), already better known as “the gay cowboy movie” and already a Letterman joke.
But big-name actors are leaping into such roles in smaller films, too. Felicity Huffman stretches way beyond “Desperate Housewives” as a man about to become a woman in Transamerica (Dec. 2) and Peter Sarsgaard plays a gay Hollywood screenwriter who has an affair with a closeted, married studio executive (Campbell Scott) in the current Dying Gaul.
It’s this cluster of sexually different roles that is new, not the idea itself. These actors are simply following the Oscar-winning path set more than a decade ago by Tom Hanks as a gay man with AIDS in Philadelphia, followed by Hilary Swank as the cross-dressing heroine of Boys Don’t Cry and Charlize Theron, whose role in Monster was a kind of award-baiting triple-whammy: she gained weight, wore fake teeth and played a lesbian.
With evidence that they will be rewarded for such stretches, and with a public now accustomed to seeing gay characters in movies and television shows like “Will & Grace,” big-name actors seem eager to take these roles. Ralph Fiennes is now filming Bernard and Doris, in which he plays the gay butler of the billionaire Doris Duke (Susan Sarandon).
The actors are straight as far as we know (give or take the occasional rumor on the Internet, where you can find rumors about anything), an issue that matters only because it becomes part of the filmmakers’ shrewd if unspoken calculation. Especially in today’s celebrity culture, the line between the actor’s life and the movies never entirely vanishes. [ …] Our awareness of these nonfiction roles makes it easier and maybe more acceptable for middle-class heterosexual viewers – a group that does, after all, include most of us in the audience – to embrace characters whose sexual preferences we don’t share.
This politically incorrect pragmatism aside, portraying gay, transvestite and transsexual characters allows actors to draw on a huge supply of gimmicks – wigs and costumes, mannerisms of speech and posture – that signify Acting. The real magic is to let the stunt give way to character, which happens in the best of these performances. Mr. Hoffman in “Capote” and Mr. Murphy in “Pluto” use the outer signs of dress and manners to get to the essence of the men they play, to define a richness of personality that is entwined with the character’s sexuality, yet goes beyond it. […]
The complete article can be found here.
I understand the point of actors playing gay characters and part of me hopes that not every actor is taking these intense and challenging parts just for the accolades.
The main problem I see with this “epidemic” of sorts is that straight actors can take on gay roles so easily (the article touches on this point) andthe American public will still have no problem accepting the actor. It will still be considered acting. As long as we know that the actor is married with a family then we’re fine with whatever career moves they make.
If a gay actor played a straight man, people would find issues with this. His performance wouldn’t be great but rather not real acting. And therefore, the out gay actor is limited to the best friend roles (like Rupert Everett in My Best Friend’s Wedding.)
Maybe the other issue is that there isn’t currently a young gay actor (in that young Hollywood clique of Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan) setting the trend. Because actors such as Rupert Everett and Ian McKellan are great actors, I don’t think people automatically associate them with being gay.
Whatever the purpose is for this new trend, it is an ineresting debate/discussion. How do feel about it? Do you think it is a good pattern or just a horrible concept all together? Or does only content matter to you and therefore as long as the film is good then you do not care about the actor’s personal life?