Archive for December, 2009

A Single Man

Posted in Uncategorized on December 28, 2009 by moderngatsby

Out: Your first movie turned out to be the toast of the Venice and Toronto film festivals. Is this the start of a second career?
Tom Ford: I certainly hope it’s the start of a parallel career. It was a lot of work when I was both shooting and designing, but if I were only making films, the lag time between different projects would drive me crazy. I’d like to make a movie every two or three years, which is about as quickly as you can get a project off the ground anyway.

How do you think those two sensibilities — fashion and film — come together in the way you approached this movie?
They are very separate things for me. Making this film is the first time in my life that I have been purely expressive or artistic. Fashion, for me, is certainly creative, but it’s ultimately a commercial endeavor.

On paper, certainly, A Single Man sounds like an unlikely project. It’s a story about a middle-aged gay man preparing to take his own life.
Even [my partner] Richard, when he first read what I wanted to do, said, “Are you sure?” I said, “Yes, I’m positive. I have a feeling.”

The focus on love between two men seems so apposite given the debate around gay marriage and the glaring need for better representations of gay relationships.
I didn’t even think about it, but I created the kind of relationship on screen that I have and that [the writer] Christopher Isherwood had with Don Bachardy for 43 years. So it just seemed very natural to me. It was funny to me when one of my agents said, “This is a gay story.” I said, “Really? It is?” I’m just blind to gay/straight at this point in my life. I am gay — I’ve always been completely open about that—but first and foremost I’m human and live the same human condition that every other human on our planet lives. Christopher Isherwood was one of the very first people to treat his gay characters in the same way that he treated the straight characters. They were always just people interacting.

It’s clear that this is a personal movie.
If you read the novel, you can see that I’ve had my character and personality grafted on to the central character of George. The book A Single Man is kind of The Power of Now before The Power of Now was written. And going through a certain midlife crisis of my own — having spent an enormous amount of my life concentrating on the material world — this book spoke to me in my mid-40s in a way that it didn’t speak to me when I read it in my 20s. At this point in time a great message for all of us is to appreciate the small things in our lives and to try to be very present for them, because they are the big things in life — that’s what we get, that’s it.

In contrast to your sexually provocative advertising and Gucci-era persona, A Single Man reveals a deeper, more romantic side that may have escaped people’s notice.
I agree. One thing that most people wouldn’t believe about me is that I’m incredibly shy, and I don’t think I’ve ever allowed people in that close. So the fashion side of me is the surface side, really. It’s also taken a bit of coming to terms with the fact that I do spend so much of my life working in the material world. But as long as you keep it in perspective and don’t take it too seriously, I think fashion is a great thing that adds quality to our lives. It doesn’t mean that a beautiful pair of shoes isn’t still beautiful. But if you lose them, big deal, because they don’t really mean anything other than to be able to say, “Wow, look at my feet. Aren’t they pretty?”

How did your partner react when he saw this movie?
Well, he saw it in many stages. He read every incarnation of the screenplay, he came on the set a few times, he saw the dailies, he saw the first cuts. And I think he loves it. He’s very rarely particularly demonstrative about things I’m working on. Many, many fashion shows where I got great reviews—he didn’t say a word about them. It was almost as if they didn’t exist, and that used to drive me crazy. But he’s been much more vocal about this.

How did you come to choose Nicholas Hoult for the movie?
Originally, I had cast someone else in that role, someone well known, who pulled out at the very last minute. He just didn’t show up at the costume fitting five days before we were due to start shooting. About two weeks earlier, I had received, via e-mail, an audition by Nicholas, who wanted to read for it even though the part was taken. I remember thinking Fuck, he’s so good, he’s so right for this, but the part had already been cast. And then oddly — and this happened a lot with this film — things just moved. Colin Firth wasn’t available originally — I had cast someone else in the role — and we had a shift in schedule, he had a shift in schedule, the other person dropped out, and all of a sudden things lined up. The same thing happened with Nicholas. Now I can’t imagine anybody but Nick in that role.

There’s something very serene about his presence in the movie.
And angelic. And in a way he is a bit of an angel who saves George (Colin Firth). What’s interesting is that Nicholas was 18 when we started filming; Colin was 48. They were exactly the ages of Chris and Don when they met.

A Single Man opens in December.


…Hadrian’s Wall?

Posted in Uncategorized on December 28, 2009 by moderngatsby

It was one of those meetings where you know you were being watched, being sized up. Like two dogs that find themselves locked in an enclosure cautiously sniffing the air that hangs heavy around them, each getting the measure of the other. I had one of those meetings this Friday past as I arrived uncharacteristically late at a campus café to discuss some advice on rebranding an academically commercial venture that launches shortly. He had pre-ordered my cappuccino and lunch for himself. The other, a more manly of the two pink drinks that stood on the table in the suffocating heat of the Highveld afternoon. Carnal thoughts betrayed by my lurking smile. Lucky I had a ready excuse.

Both men I’ve known for years. Both men equally as dangerous as the other.

It was the age of Grunge, and while Nirvana didn’t rule the airwaves just yet – they were on everyone’s lips. There I was unsure of myself in a world that I had been purposefully kept from. He sat two rows to my left with the other more popular boys in the Assembly. I kept my head down but association was a crime in this school, as it is with many schools. I was a different person then – my identity unformed but the wants’ and desires’ that ruled my soul were more amorphic. Experience would shape them in years to come. But the fear he once instilled always remained.

Sixteen years later and there we were, seated next to each other again. This time in my world: a marquee at the BMW Polo International, guests of the world’s most luxurious automobile – Rolls Royce. There as a plus one to another guest, I was just there to parade my latest bête noir to the assembled crowd of maverick friends, socialites, and pretenders. After the dinner which followed, I drove away from the bistro in Parkhurst with a strange feeling. Like a perfume that lingers in the air after that gorgeous brunette has long since left, his smile captivated my imagination for hours afterwards. But when the dawn broke, there were other things to think of. More profitable things.

And now, that smile has caught my imagination again. And the fear that I feel is for a different reason. Instead this time, instead of Nirvana I’m listening to a soundtrack that is my life.

…perdido sin tí?

Posted in Uncategorized on December 28, 2009 by moderngatsby

The weather has turned cold outside. Wind and rain drive everything under shelter, or inside warm cosy houses to regain some warmth. But sometimes the numbness within isn’t from the frigid temperature without but the realisation that perhaps, just perhaps you don’t always get what you want. That stories told to you as a child were something to distract you long enough so you would fall asleep and Nanny could go and read those Cartland novels she so loved. On a morning like today, when all you want to do is cuddle with that someone special the king size bed that was once a playground becomes a prison of your human wants and physical needs.

… no part of me?

Posted in Uncategorized on December 28, 2009 by moderngatsby

In a universe that may not always play fair, but has a hellava sense of humour, I find myself silently wishing the bitch would cut me a little slack as I sat drinking some coffee at my favourite barista in Parktown North. From a Sales Guy to a Coffee Guy, Rocket Scientist, Polo Player and even the odd Magazine Publisher none seem to have made any dent to my dismal dating record this past year. Not surprising when they were either married or emotionally unavailable – two types that I am most drawn to. After all two wrongs don’t always make a Mr. Right and for once I wish I could forget his face in the darkness where dirty deeds are done dirt cheap and enjoy the exquisite pain of anonymous sex but I’ve had to learn the hard way that the best men are already married and the rest of the handsome gay men seem to like being Dutch bicycles. Two for one special and anyone can take a ride in the park.

So, I find myself wandering around my city that is definitely off the bloom of spring and experiencing the past few days of extreme weather from heat to downpours which adds to a confused state of mind. This afternoon, after a gruelling day of eating cup cakes with the world’s largest luxury conglomerate to the sipping of wine with managers of the South Africa’s most private, private bank I snuggled under a cashmere throw with a book and tried to read a few pages but the darkness beckoned and I spent the afternoon asleep. As if he could see my dreams, his call woke me from my deep sleep to say his goodbye before leaving for a destination half-way around the world. As he always does. It’s been over a year now since he’s been in my life, and every time the phone rings my heart beats just a little faster. When I see him at our usual coffee place I walk just a little taller. I seem a little happier when he’s near.

But no matter how I feel, he is no part of me anymore.