Beijing Festival Sends out Mixed Messages

The eighth edition of the Beijing International Film Festival gets under way Sunday night. A spectacular ceremony, some 25 miles away from downtown Beijing will kick off a week of cinema-related celebrations that look little like any other major film festival. That the opening ceremony is not followed by a film screening is one indicator. […]

The eighth edition of the Beijing International Film Festival gets under way Sunday night. A spectacular ceremony, some 25 miles away from downtown Beijing will kick off a week of cinema-related celebrations that look little like any other major film festival. That the opening ceremony is not followed by a film screening is one indicator. […]

Hollywood’s Gay Double Standard: Why So Many Actresses Can Come Out, But Young Actors Stay in the Closet

In an age of “Call Me by Your Name” and Kristen “I’m like, so gay” Stewart, young leading men still fear coming out of the closet.

There’s never been a better time to be gay in Hollywood. “Moonlight” won Best Picture the same year Kristen Stewart told millions of people on “Saturday Night Live” that she’s “like, so gay dude.” Now in its 10th season, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” boasts two Emmy nominations and ever-increasing ratings. The “Roseanne” reboot has a gender-nonconforming child, and “Love, Simon,” the first major studio film about a gay teenager, is playing in 2,402 theaters nationwide. It seems everywhere you look, progress is slowly doing its thing.

So why are so many actors still in the closet?

This week delivered a stark reminder of the real state of affairs, when James Ivory gave a no-holds-barred interview in The Guardian lamenting the lack of full-frontal male nudity in “Call Me By Your Name,” the gay awards film of last year, which earned the Hollywood legend his first Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. The same story also noted how Ivory kept his 44-year romantic relationship with producing partner Ismail Merchant a secret — albeit an open one.

Surely such secrecy is a thing of the past, right? In a post-Call Me By Your Name” world (which is also a post-“Carol” and post-“Moonlight” world), why would anyone feel pressure to hide their sexuality in order to get work in Hollywood?

Well.

“A lot of people advise you not to do it. They tell you flat out — ‘Don’t do it,’” said “Westworld” actress Evan Rachel Wood, who came out publicly as bisexual in 2011. “They don’t want you to be less desirable to men. Because that sells tickets and that helps your career.”

“Star Trek” actor John Cho is straight, but played Billy Eichner’s boyfriend in “Difficult People,” as well as the latest iteration of Sulu in “Star Trek,” who is revealed as gay in the third installment. In an interview, Cho told IndieWire that he knows of one actor who “is not particularly in the closet, if you get my drift,” but is not out in the press. “I think he doesn’t want to … talk about that for 80 percent of each interview,” said Cho. “It’s natural, the attention, but I think this person would rather talk about the film. And heterosexual actors are afforded a much greater degree of privacy.”

Westworld Episode 5 Evan Rachel Wood

Evan Rachel Wood in “Westworld”

John P. Johnson/HBO

A top-level talent manager who spoke on condition of anonymity put it in blunter terms. “It’s all about perception. They want to believe that the lead guy is fucking the lead woman,” he said. “If a studio is backing a film with a ton of money … they want everyone who is buying tickets to believe that that’s in fact the case. Sadly, if we know that in real life the lead guy is screwing around with another guy, the fear is that it may hurt ticket sales.”

The same logic does not apply to straight actors, like “Call Me by Your Name” stars Armie Hammer and Timothee Chalamet, for whom playing gay (albeit in a prestigious film) actually bolstered their careers. Loose-lipped though he was, Ivory did not elaborate on the reason “Call Me by Your Name” skimped on the skimpiness, other than to call “bullshit” on the assertion by director Luca Guadagnino that it was a “conscious aesthetic decision.”

But plenty of actors cut to the chase. “You see a lot of heterosexual actors playing queer characters on screen, but you don’t see that many queer actors playing straight people on screen,” said Lola Kirke, whose new movie, “Gemini,” has both explicit queer themes and nuanced undertones. The contemporary noir casts Kirke as an unwitting Philip Marlowe on the run after the death of her employer and friend, a prominent actress played by Zoë Kravitz, who must hide her sexuality from the paparazzi.

Kirke’s star has been steadily on the rise since she starred opposite Greta Gerwig in 2015’s “Mistress America,” but even she acknowledges that actors have very little power. “I am still lucky to get a job. It’s not entirely easy,” Kirke said. “So I think that’s why people might obscure certain parts of who they are, because it’s a privilege to be able to be recognized for what you do. Even if what you do is within a system that is extremely messed up, it can be tricky to be navigate if you overthrow the system or participate in it.”

gemini

Lola Kirke in “Gemini”

Others try to rationalize that process. “As a producer, as someone who’s creating a role for TV, they’re going to want to have their lead actor, or actress believably play the role,” said the talent manager, who is openly gay. “Personally, I don’t blame them for that.”

With “Westworld” gearing up as HBO’s new “Game of Thrones,” Wood has weathered potential career hits, though she has had more prominent relationships with men than with women. “Nothing happened that people told me was going to happen,” she said.

There is a recent plethora of buzzy young actresses proudly stating their queerness, whether it be with much fanfare (Ellen Page’s HRC speech), or a slow trickle of glaring hints leading up to a giant middle finger to the president on “Saturday Night Live” (Stewart). Sasha Lane, Kate McKinnon, and Samira Wiley are just a few whose queerness has not hindered, and quite possibly has helped, their careers.

“I think it pertains mainly to young male, romantic leads,” said the manager. “Those are the roles that are written. That’s what’s out there. If the public is not going to buy you in those roles, if producers are not going to choose you in those roles, if you’re not being bought in those roles, what’s out there? That’s one of the hurdles that hasn’t been addressed yet.”

In that case, the solution may be to write fewer heterosexual romances altogether — which might not be a bad thing for actresses, straight or gay, as Hollywood attempts to reckon with its history of sexualizing women. It might lead to better movies, too.

The problem lies more heavily with young men; there are plenty of out gay character actors and comedians. Zachary Quinto, Alan Cumming, and Neil Patrick Harris have made no secret of being gay, but they either waited until later in life to come out, or did not reach the height of their fame until later in life.

“It hasn’t hurt some older character actors. You have actors for whom it’s like an open secret that they’re gay, but it hasn’t hurt their careers,” the manager said. “If you’re not established in the industry, which tends to be most young people, you [want to] make sure you’re not pigeonholed into certain roles, and into certain stereotypes. As you get older, as you get more established … roles open up. There are more parts [than just] the young hunk who’s the male romantic lead.”

Greg Berlanti, who directed “Love, Simon” and is pretty much single-handedly responsible for the proliferation of gay supporting characters on television, has been around long enough to be more optimistic. “When I would cast people in gay roles, there were so many conversations about it 10, 15 years ago. You’d have to talk to their agent, and you’d have to talk to them … There was a feeling that it would label an actor,” he said. “Those are not the kinds of conversations people are having now.”

Wood, who is as outspoken in real life as renegade “Westworld” cyborg Dolores, regrets nothing about coming out: “You might be leaving one community behind,” she said, “but you’re getting embraced by another.”

Screenwriter James Ivory Criticizes ‘Call Me by Your Name’s’ Lack of Frontal Nudity

James Ivory was not a fan of “Call Me by Your Name” director Luca Guadagnino’s choice to not show full-frontal male nudity in the film. Ivory, whose screenplay for the movie won an Oscar, said in an interview with the Guardian that his script included Elio, played by Timothee Chalamet, and Oliver, portrayed by Armie […]

James Ivory was not a fan of “Call Me by Your Name” director Luca Guadagnino’s choice to not show full-frontal male nudity in the film. Ivory, whose screenplay for the movie won an Oscar, said in an interview with the Guardian that his script included Elio, played by Timothee Chalamet, and Oliver, portrayed by Armie […]

‘Call Me by Your Name’ Screenwriter James Ivory Calls BS on Lack of Frontal Nudity

James Ivory may have won his first Academy Award for his screenplay for the gay romance “Call Me by Your Name,” but that doesn’t mean he’s entirely happy with director Luca Guadagnino’s finished film.

In a new interview with the Guardian, the veteran filmmaker took issue with Guadagnino’s claims that he never considered showing the film’s young lovers — played by Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer — completely in the buff.

“When Luca says he never thought of putting nudity in, that is totally untrue,” Ivory told the paper. “He sat in this very room where I am sitting now, talking about how he would do it, so when he says that it was a conscious aesthetic decision not to — well, that’s just bulls—.”

Also Read: What ‘Call Me by Your Name’ Would Look Like With Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito (Video)

As a director of classics like “A Room With a View” and “Howards End,” Ivory said that he himself never shied from putting his actors fully on display in sex scenes.

“When people are wandering around before or after making love, and they’re decorously covered with sheets, it’s always seemed phony to me,” he said, noting his handling of a love scene with actors Rupert Graves and James Wilby in his 1987 movie “Maurice,” based on an E.M. Forster book about young gay lovers.

“The two guys have had sex and they get up and you certainly see everything there is to be seen,” he said. “To me, that’s a more natural way of doing things than to hide them, or to do what Luca did, which is to pan the camera out of the window toward some trees.”

Also Read: Oscar-Winning Gay Drama ‘Call Me By Your Name’ Pulled From Beijing Film Festival

Last month, the 89-year-old Ivory became the oldest ever winner of a competitive Oscar for his adapted screenplay of “Call Me by Your Name.” The film, based on a 2007 novel by Andre Aciman, received three other nominations.

Ivory, whose longtime producing (and personal) partner Ismail Merchant died in 2005, had previously been nominated three times for his work as a director.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Oscar-Winning Gay Drama ‘Call Me By Your Name’ Pulled From Beijing Film Festival

What ‘Call Me by Your Name’ Would Look Like With Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito (Video)

Sufjan Stevens on His Offbeat Approach to Writing ‘Call Me by Your Name’ Songs: ‘Keep It Vague’

James Ivory may have won his first Academy Award for his screenplay for the gay romance “Call Me by Your Name,” but that doesn’t mean he’s entirely happy with director Luca Guadagnino’s finished film.

In a new interview with the Guardian, the veteran filmmaker took issue with Guadagnino’s claims that he never considered showing the film’s young lovers — played by Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer — completely in the buff.

“When Luca says he never thought of putting nudity in, that is totally untrue,” Ivory told the paper. “He sat in this very room where I am sitting now, talking about how he would do it, so when he says that it was a conscious aesthetic decision not to — well, that’s just bulls—.”

As a director of classics like “A Room With a View” and “Howards End,” Ivory said that he himself never shied from putting his actors fully on display in sex scenes.

“When people are wandering around before or after making love, and they’re decorously covered with sheets, it’s always seemed phony to me,” he said, noting his handling of a love scene with actors Rupert Graves and James Wilby in his 1987 movie “Maurice,” based on an E.M. Forster book about young gay lovers.

“The two guys have had sex and they get up and you certainly see everything there is to be seen,” he said. “To me, that’s a more natural way of doing things than to hide them, or to do what Luca did, which is to pan the camera out of the window toward some trees.”

Last month, the 89-year-old Ivory became the oldest ever winner of a competitive Oscar for his adapted screenplay of “Call Me by Your Name.” The film, based on a 2007 novel by Andre Aciman, received three other nominations.

Ivory, whose longtime producing (and personal) partner Ismail Merchant died in 2005, had previously been nominated three times for his work as a director.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Oscar-Winning Gay Drama 'Call Me By Your Name' Pulled From Beijing Film Festival

What 'Call Me by Your Name' Would Look Like With Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito (Video)

Sufjan Stevens on His Offbeat Approach to Writing 'Call Me by Your Name' Songs: 'Keep It Vague'

James Ivory Criticizes Luca Guadagnino for Removing Full Frontal Nudity From ‘Call Me By Your Name’

The Oscar-winning screenwriter think it’s “phony” Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet didn’t appear full frontal in the acclaimed romance drama.

James Ivory won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay thanks to his work scripting “Call Me By Your Name,” but that doesn’t mean he’s completely satisfied with the final draft. The screenwriter has expressed disappointment in the past over the film’s lack of full frontal male nudity, but he flat out criticizes director Luca Guadagnino for the choice in a new interview with The Guardian.

“When Luca says he never thought of putting nudity in, that is totally untrue,” Ivory said. “He sat in this very room where I am sitting now, talking about how he would do it, so when he says that it was a conscious aesthetic decision not to – well, that’s just bullshit.”

The movie’s prominent sex scene between the characters played by Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer does not include any full frontal nudity. Guadagnino’s camera pans away from their bodies before intercourse and fixates on trees blowing in the wind. The director explained at the New York Film Festival last year that the decision not to show graphic nudity or explicit lovemaking was a conscious one on his part.

“To put our gaze upon their lovemaking would have been a sort of unkind intrusion,” Guadagnino said. “I think that their love is in all things, so when we gaze towards the window and we see the trees, there is a sense of witnessing that. I refuse with strong firmness that I was coy in not showing that, because I think that Oliver and Elio and Armie and Timothée, the four of them displayed a very strong intimacy and closeness in so many ways and it was enough.”

Ivory feels otherwise. The screenwriter told Variety last October that “there was all sorts of nudity” in his original screenplay. The Guardian confirms that Ivory’s intended draft specifically mentioned that the main characters be shown naked, a creative decision that was overturned once Hammer and Chalamet signed on with “no frontal nudity” clauses in their contracts. For Ivory, this decision still doesn’t feel right.

“When people are wandering around before or after making love, and they’re decorously covered with sheets, it’s always seemed phoney to me,” the screenwriter said. “I never liked doing that. And I don’t do it, as you know. [In “Maurice”], the two guys have had sex and they get up and you certainly see everything there is to be seen. To me, that’s a more natural way of doing things than to hide them, or to do what Luca did, which is to pan the camera out of the window toward some trees. Well…”

“Call Me By Your Name” is now available On Demand.

Oscar-Winning Gay Drama ‘Call Me By Your Name’ Pulled From Beijing Film Festival

Oscar-winning drama “Call Me By Your Name” has been pulled from the Beijing International Film Festival’s lineup, according to a report by Reuters.

The coming of age drama, starring Armie Hammer and newcomer Timothee Chalamet as lovers, was pulled after the film’s screening proposal  was not approved by China regulators. The move comes as the Chinese parliament voted to allow the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party’s Central Committee to have control over film, news and publishing.

Adapted from a 2007 novel by Andre Aciman, the film follows a love story set in 1980s Italy between a 17-year-old boy (Timothee Chalamet from “Homeland”) and a twentysomething man (Armie Hammer).

Also Read: What ‘Call Me by Your Name’ Would Look Like With Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito (Video)

“Call Me By Your Name” was directed by Italy’s Luca Guadagnino (“A Bigger Splash”) from a script by James Ivory, Walter Fasano and Guadagnino. It was produced by Peter Spears, Emilie Georges, Guadagnino, Ivory, Marco Morabito, Howard Rosenman, and Rodrigo Teixeira.

“Call Me By Your Name” took home Oscar gold earlier this month for Best Writing Adapted Screenplay. James Ivory, in his acceptance speech, described the film as “a story familiar to most of us whether we are straight or gay or somewhere in between.”

Ivory’s Oscar win made history as the 89-year-old became the oldest-ever Oscar winner.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Sufjan Stevens on His Offbeat Approach to Writing ‘Call Me by Your Name’ Songs: ‘Keep It Vague’

‘Get Out’ and ‘Call Me by Your Name’ Win 2018 Writers Guild Awards

‘Call Me by Your Name’ Wins Scripter Award for Adapted Screenplay

Oscar-winning drama “Call Me By Your Name” has been pulled from the Beijing International Film Festival’s lineup, according to a report by Reuters.

The coming of age drama, starring Armie Hammer and newcomer Timothee Chalamet as lovers, was pulled after the film’s screening proposal  was not approved by China regulators. The move comes as the Chinese parliament voted to allow the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party’s Central Committee to have control over film, news and publishing.

Adapted from a 2007 novel by Andre Aciman, the film follows a love story set in 1980s Italy between a 17-year-old boy (Timothee Chalamet from “Homeland”) and a twentysomething man (Armie Hammer).

“Call Me By Your Name” was directed by Italy’s Luca Guadagnino (“A Bigger Splash”) from a script by James Ivory, Walter Fasano and Guadagnino. It was produced by Peter Spears, Emilie Georges, Guadagnino, Ivory, Marco Morabito, Howard Rosenman, and Rodrigo Teixeira.

“Call Me By Your Name” took home Oscar gold earlier this month for Best Writing Adapted Screenplay. James Ivory, in his acceptance speech, described the film as “a story familiar to most of us whether we are straight or gay or somewhere in between.”

Ivory’s Oscar win made history as the 89-year-old became the oldest-ever Oscar winner.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Sufjan Stevens on His Offbeat Approach to Writing 'Call Me by Your Name' Songs: 'Keep It Vague'

'Get Out' and 'Call Me by Your Name' Win 2018 Writers Guild Awards

'Call Me by Your Name' Wins Scripter Award for Adapted Screenplay

‘Call Me By Your Name’ Pulled From Beijing International Film Festival, Film Considered ‘In Deviation’ of Chinese Policy

The Oscar-winning drama has been pulled from BIFF just under a month from the festival’s kickoff.

Luca Guadagnino’s Oscar-winning romance “Call Me By Your Name” has been pulled from the Beijing International Film Festival. The drama was set to screen at the event next month. Distributor Sony Pictures Classics confirmed the film’s removal from Beijing to Reuters, which points out that the decision arrives in the midst of a conservative Chinese government known to pad down LGBTQ-themed content.

“This movie is in deviation from the policy environment in China,” Beijing-based film analyst Wu Jian told Reuters about why the festival probably pulled the title. Homosexuality is not illegal in China, but the deflecting of gay content within the country is become a recurring issue. Reuters notes that an LGBTQ conference in the city of Chengdu was canceled last July, while a lesbian Chinese dating app called Rela was shut down last May.

“Call Me By Your Name” centers on the blossoming romance between two men, played by Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer. The film was announced as an entry at the Beijing International Film Festival on March 16. Other titles set for Beijing include “Lean on Pete” and the Palme d’Or winner “The Square.”

The 2018 Beijing International Film Festival runs April 16-23.