Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor



MOVIES Paul Bettany talks 'Uncle Frank' and his own closeted father
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

This article shared 1475 times since Sun Nov 22, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

In the critically acclaimed Amazon Studios movie Uncle Frank, out Nov. 25, Paul Bettany (the Avengers and Iron Man series; Master and Commander; The Da Vinci Code) plays the title character—a literature professor who has two lives; as an openly gay man in 1960s-'70s New York City (with a partner played by Peter Macdissi) and as a closeted individual when he's with his family in South Carolina.

Bettany talked about making Uncle Frank—and revealed a little-known fact about his own late father, actor/dancer Thane Bettany.

Windy City Times: I know you've done period pieces, but was it weird immersing yourself in the late 1960s and early 1970s?

Paul Bettany: It was actually less weird than other things I've done. I mean, I've played an android! [Both laugh.]

I grew up in the '70s in London and we sort of inundated with American culture. I was fascinated by the golden age of cinema, so it seemed familiar to me, actually. So it didn't feel weird—it felt kind of great.

WCT: And I loved the details about South Carolina that the movie shows, since I'm originally from there. [Note: The movie was actually filmed in North Carolina.] Could you talk about that cast—Margo Martindale, Sophia Lillis, Stephen Root, Jane Greer and others?

PB: Yeah. To me, it was a real thrill. And Lois Smith is in it, for God's sake. She's in East of Eden, with James Dean—and that movie was one of the reasons I wanted to become an actor. It's an extraordinary cast, and the film was so much fun to shoot.

WCT: Was there any reluctance on your part in accepting this role? There is a school of thought that only LGBTQ actors should portray LGBTQ roles. [Note: In real life, Bettany is married to actress Jennifer Connelly.]

PB: [Pauses] We did have a little conversation about it. That wasn't the only reason I was reluctant, but we did talk about it.

Are you talking with [director] Alan Ball? [Interviewer replies "No."] That's a shame because he could tell you why I was cast, although I guess I can tell you why I accepted it.

Here is what I can tell you: I read the script and I loved it. It was beautifully wrought and fresh, and revolutionary in some ways. It's a story in which two men fall in love and get to live happily ever after. But the first question I had for Alan was "Why me?," and I [followed that] with "Should I even do this?" We had a very long conversation about it, and he thought I should. He gave me some pretty compelling reasons why he thought I should do it.

I also asked myself some questions. As you get older, it's hard to summon up the energy that is needed to come onto a set, think of some dark moments in your life, and play on that for a camera and crew—and to make people believe you're this person in this situation with your guts torn out. But besides if it's morally correct to do it, I had to ask myself "Do I have the energy to do it?" So I'm on a phone call with Alan Ball wondering why he wants me to do this. That's that.

And as far as the other question is concerned, I was raised by a closeted gay man. My father came out of the closet at 63. [Note: Paul's married father, Thane, came out in the early '90s; Paul's parents subsequently divorced.] He fell in love with a man called Andy [Clark] and spent 20 years with him, and then Andy died. My father, because of the dogma of Catholicism, went back into the closet. He was arguably with the love of his life and when my father died—in my arms!—I found in his pocket a glass vial of Andy's ashes.

My father denied he was gay after a 20-year relationship with a man, and there are consequences to raising children when you are holding a secret like that. My father had some beautifully curated stories and anecdotes, but I never really got to know him because he didn't live his life in an authentic way. So, for me, it was an extraordinary journey and an edifying one to play a man who was in a similar predicament that my father had been.

So as far as being a personal connection to this story, I really feel that I had one. And in the discussion Alan and I had, we discovered that he and I had very similar stories, with early traumas in our lives and deaths of our siblings—his sister and my brother. All I can tell you is that we sort of fell in love and I did find a compelling reason to [film Uncle Frank] for myself and to find the energy to go to some difficult places.

I think it would be great to find out why Alan Ball—a gay man and a brilliant director—chose to cast me.

WCT: What a thoughtful and honest answer—and I thank you for it. My last question is this: I didn't realize it at first but you've done another LGBTQ movie—Bent. [Note: The 1997 movie is about the persecution of gay people in Nazi Germany, and it stars Clive Owen, Sir Ian McKellen, Jude Law, Rachel Weisz and Mick Jagger, among others.] What do you recall from working in that movie?

PB: Wow! That was the first film I did. I think I was still in drama school. I had run out of money and you couldn't do professional work while enrolled in school—but they allowed me to make it. I do recall that making this movie allowed me to eat.

I had seen the play [originally a 1979 production that Martin Sherman wrote] and I was very excited to be a part of it. But, to be honest, I don't remember that much about it but I do remember trying to learn everything I could.

This article shared 1475 times since Sun Nov 22, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

SHOWBIZ LGBTQ movies, 'Color Purple,' Nick Jonas, gay coach 2021-01-17
- The film Draw with Me has launched its virtual theatrical release at ArenaScreen through Feb. 9, and was the subject of the first-ever panel at the United Nations on Transgender Health, a release stated. Featuring Jennifer ...

Gay News

Hell in a Handbag Productions to present Out, Darn Spot! 2021-01-15
--From a press release - CHICAGO (Jan. 15, 2021) — Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to present the campy comedyOut, Darn Spot!, written by and starring ensemble member Tyler Anthony Smith* and directed, filmed and edited by Stephanie Shaw. ...

Gay News

Report: Here are the highest grossing LGBTQ+ actors on Netflix 2021-01-13
--From a press release - Highest grossing LGBTQ+ actors on Netflix - Kristen Stewart comes in first, with a net worth of 70 million dollars - Bisexual women are the top earning members of the LGBTQ+ community - The TV industry ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Laverne Cox, lesbian coach, Jim Parsons, 'Brokeback,' theater items 2021-01-11
- Laverne Cox is teaming with Meryl Streep and Rashida Jones to executive-produce a new documentary exploring one of the most critical issues at the intersection of race, feminism, and power: the sex industry, noted. Sell/Buy/Date ...

Gay News

Billy Masters 2021-01-11
- "Harry Styles is looking REALLY good. I'm into the fishnets. And we have very similar tastes. I think sharing a closet, sharing a life together, it just makes sense."—Miley Cyrus. I'd rather see Harry with Miley's ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Tales' star dies, 'Wonder Woman 1984,' holiday songs, 'Drag Race' 2021-01-05
- Marcus D'Amico—the original Michael "Mouse" Tolliver from the miniseries Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City—died at age 55, Queerty noted. In 1992, he also originated the role of Louis in the National Theatre's London run of ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Trans movie, best/worst LGBTQ films, sports items, Whitney 2020-12-27
- Shout! Studios entered into an exclusive deal with Kirkpatrick & Kinslow Productions (KKP) and Scatena & Rosner Films (SNR) to distribute the new LGBTQ-focused documentary The Sound of Identity, a press release noted. The movie chronicles ...

Gay News

'Party Monster' killer Michael Alig dies at 54 2020-12-26
- Michael Alig who was at the center of the LGBTQ "club kids" scene in late 1980s and early '90s Manhattan, and whose involvement in the murder and dismemberment of his drug dealer was chronicled in the 2003 film Party Monster died Dec. 25th ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Drag Race,' year-end honors, 'Guardians,' Taylor Swift 2020-12-21
- VH1 unveiled a game-changing twist from the upcoming season of the Emmy-winning RuPaul's Drag Race, premiering Friday, Jan. 1, at 8 p.m. ET/PT, a press release noted. For the first time in Drag Race "herstory," queens ...

Gay News

'Cheer' star pleads not guilty to child-sex charges 2020-12-18
- On Dec. 17, Cheer star Jerry Harris pled not guilty to new federal felony charges that he tried to lure minors for sex and shared sexually explicit photos with them, media outlets reported. The charges alleged ...

Gay News

PrideArts to screen A Not So Silent Night Tuesday, Dec. 15 2020-12-15
- To honor the tradition of gathering around with family and singing holiday songs, even in a pandemic. PrideArts is hosting a one-time screening of the film A Not So Silent Night tonight, Dec. 15, 2020. The ...

Gay News

Billy Masters 2020-12-14
- "I don't agree that only gay actors should play gay. … I don't agree with having to laser focus the casting of it all, or else you'll be playing yourself the rest of your life."—Juan Pablo ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Trans acting challenge, NYE parties, Charlize Theron, Diana Ross 2020-12-14
- Michael D. Cohen, with support from Nickelodeon, is launching the Trans Youth Acting Challenge, according to a press release. Trans and non-binary kids can submit audition self-tapes online (preferably through their parents), and the top 12 ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Naya Rivera, Jodie Foster, MTV, Marc Jacobs 2020-12-07
- Naya Rivera's Glee co-stars are honoring the late actress with a fundraiser launched in her memory, Page Six noted. A GoFundMe account has been established by the crew in her name, with proceeds going toward Alexandria ...

Gay News

Black Ensemble Theater's 'Holiday' event Dec. 18-25 2020-12-03
- The Black Ensemble Theater is celebrating the 2020 holiday season with The Black Ensemble Virtual Holiday Extravaganza, written and directed by Producing Managing Director Daryl D. Brooks. Filmed from the performers' homes and the theater, the ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.