Gay cowboy film likely to upset conservative US
02/09/2005 - 16:08:26
Sense And Sensibility director Ang Lee has risked the wrath of right-wing America with his latest film unveiled at the Venice Film Festival today - Brokeback Mountain, the story of cowboys in love.
Oscar-winning director Lee adapted the film from a short story which appeared in The New Yorker in 1997.
The film, about a relationship between a ranch hand and rodeo cowboy, could mean the smashing of Hollywood's last taboo.
The film, starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, is up for the Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival.
Taiwan-born Lee, who made the film after seven years of other directors toying with the idea, described the movie, which contains a sex scene between the two men, as "a great American love story".
Set in the Sixties, it is based on the short story by Pulitzer Prize-winning author E Annie Proulx, of hidden sexuality in the American West.
Ledger and Gyllenhaal's characters fall in love while working as sheep herders in the majestic Brokeback Mountain.
At the summer's end, the pair return to their normal lives and both marry.
Four years later they meet again, and their relationship is secretly rekindled.
The Calgary Gay Rodeo Association advised and consulted the production and also appear in several sequences.
Many Hollywood stars are advised not to take gay parts for fear of denting their image in the eyes of conservative America.
Some major actors are said to have refused to audition for the film, despite the fact that the director can usually audition anyone he wants.
Major Hollywood stars, such as Tom Hanks and Antonio Banderas, have played gay roles in the past, but not which such frank intimacy.
Hollywood has failed to embrace homosexuality in the same way as its TV sitcoms, like Will and Grace and Queer as Folk, have done.
Today Lee said his biggest battle was fighting against a false idea of the west, which he said had been invented by movies.
"My biggest enemy was the more conventional western.
"The genre was invented. As a foreigner, we go for real things and some things run into trouble with the convention.
"If we thought too much about what people would think, "I would be so scared I wouldn't try to make the movies. The best way is to block it out.
"A love story has a good vibe and I hope it prevails the culture and whatever differences people have," he said.
The actors, who Lee described as the "cream of young talent" are portrayed at different ages as the story spans 20 years.
© Thomas Crosbie Media, 2005. link to article http://breakingnews.iol.ie/entertainment/story.asp?j=154572346&p=y54573x5z
//frankly I would have loved to see Viggo Mortensen and Sean Bean and Orlando Bloom - even Don Johnson - in this film - with the exceptin of Orlando (because of his youth - too bad it wasn't done a few years earlier in their careers...//