Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Red carpet season

We have had the Golden Globes and soon it will be BAFTA time and then the lead-up to The Oscars. The big movies are all playing (though a few have not opened here in the UK yet). I now see they are creating new posters for THE IMITATION GAME, (highlighting its 9 BAFTA, 8 Academy Award and 3 SAG nominations) as it may have peaked too early, following the success of Eddie Redmayne at the Globes. It now seems one's moral duty to honour the Turing film to make up for how he was mistreated. 
The battle lines seemed to be drawn: which posh boy playing a tortured genius would succeed: Benedict Cumberbatch as gay code-breaker Alan Turing or Redmayne as crippled Stephen Hawking? Cumberbatch seemed to be in the lead, with his nuanced performance and Turing has practically been canonised of late, also its Benedict's first lead movie role after his TV SHERLOCK and all those other roles. Talk about an actor being on a roll 
.... then THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING came along (I have only seen the trailer as yet) with a flashier role for its lead actor. The Academy of course loves actors playing serious disabilities (MY LEFT FOOT et al) or losing or gaining weight, and it seems a more emotionally involving story of Hawking's first marriage, as opposed to the more repressed Turing (whose gayness is not depicted in any serious way). THE IMITATION GAME though has the Harvey Weinstein clout behind it, so we shall see.  It now seems of course that Turing and Hawking may cancel each other out (as Bette's Margo Channing and Gloria's Norma Desmond did in 1950) as Michael Keaton comes up fast on the comeback trail with a movie everyone is talking about too: BIRDMAN .... Among those who fell by the wayside: Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh's MR TURNER, and Jake Gyllenhaal in NIGHTCRAWLER

Freddie Fox - is he or isn't he?

Speaking of Jake, it is almost a decade on from BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN. Actors are still playing gay but now seem to be courting publicity by hinting or teasing that they may be or turn gay in real life ... step forward Freddie Fox, (actor son of actor Edward) - one of those actors (like Tom Hollander or Jude Law at one stage) who seems to play gay a lot - we saw him on stage a year or so ago as Bosie to Rupert Everett's Oscar Wilde in David Hare's THE JUDAS KISS (Theatre label) and a right petulant Bosie he was too, and he was in the recent PRIDE and now in a new tv series getting a lot of publicity, CUCUMBER, part of a new trilogy by QUEER AS FOLK creator Russell T Davies. QAF caused a sensation back in the '90s with its frank depiction of young gays in the Manchester 'gay village', whereas CUCUMBER focuses on older gay men. Freddie is one of the main younger characters here, another petulant young beauty who is rampantly bisexual. Freddie though, in not one but in several interviews (as in gay ATTITUDE magazine), keeps going on about how he has dated girls in the past but may conceivably fall in love with a man. Who the hell cares? Is this news? Acting is acting - 

This is the start of a latest interview, in today's INDEPENDENT with Patrick Strudwick :
Playing disabled – which sounds arrestingly offensive – has long been noted as a swift route to Oscar glory.
But now there is a new toy for actors: not just playing gay (Brokeback Mountain is 10 years old) but flirting with homosexuality off-camera. It is a new flow chart of orchestrated ambiguity, social-media wildfire, ratings and fame. Virtual, viral gayness.
This week, Freddie Fox, who flickers, resplendent, as the sexually omnivorous lust beacon in Channel 4’s new gay drama Cucumber, gave an interview straight from the Hedge Your Bets textbook.
“I wouldn’t wish to go, ‘I am this or I am that,’ because at some time in my life, yes I’ve had girlfriends, but I might fall in love with a man,” he said. “The majority of my life to date has been as a straight man. But who knows what will happen next?
Hollywood of course wants to keep its actors in the closet and their toxic attitudes resurfaced this week in the body of Billy Crystal, so embraced by Tinseltown that he has hosted the Oscars nine times. Crystal spoke of gay television characters “pushing it a little too far”, and of their sex scenes: “I hope people don’t abuse it and shove it in our faces.” 
Which leads us back to Freddie Fox. ..... He would have invited much less cynicism about his motivation if he had said: “Yes, I fantasise sexually about men.” Or if he had actually owned the label bisexual. That he didn’t leaves three possibilities: he is merely playing another part, that of a keep-’em-guessing heart-throb; he is a coward; or he does not understand that until bigotry ends, using terms such as gay and bisexual to come out, to stake our identity, to become a visible social force, is the single most potent weapon we have. And one significantly tougher, braver and in-your-face than a blasted cucumber.
Meanwhile out gay actors like Andrew Scott, Ben Whishaw  or Russell Tovey (or Americans Matt Bomer or Zachery Quinto) just get on with acting without having to give interviews to discuss their sexuality and how it may change; Olympic diver Tom Daley comes out perfectly on YouTube and can now get on with his training (as fans fantasise on his relationship with Dustin Lance Black) and actors matter-of-factly disrobe in the current revival of MY NIGHT WITH REG, which as per my previous posts on it is about that group of gay friends in the 1980s who experience the ravages of time, Aids, loss and betrayal, which is both laugh out loud and heartbreaking. 

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