Julianne Moore, the Single Woman in "A Single Man," Interviewed! Talking Gay Marriage, Tom Ford & Boobs!

Tom Ford (right) and his radiant muse, Julianne Moore

There’s basically really one single woman in A Single Man, the film version of Christopher Isherwood’s classic 1960s novel, which opens today. And that woman is the luminous, fearless and kickass Julianne Moore.

In the film, directed by first-time director (and fashion guru Tom Ford), Moore plays Charley, the longtime best gal-pal to Colin Firth’s George, who’s a gentleman professor of a certain age grappling with life-altering issues of love, loss and longing. The film is a stylish feast for the eyes, and Moore is a thrill-ride presence with piles of red hair swooped up on her smart head like a cake. She smokes, drinks and needles and nutures her gay best friend, as she tries to make sense of her own mid-life crisis.

The film is a big gay must-see, and Moore shines as its female conscience. Here’s a bit of what Moore herself had to say about appearing in a man-tastic 1960s period piece. And she also talks about her gay fans, same-sex marriage, how she meet Tom Ford (it involves an Oscar dress and her big, post-pregnancy boobs) and her own duties in life as a fag-hag.


Ford, Moore & Firth

When did you meet Tom Ford? And when you first read the screenplay what did you think about taking the part?

Julianne Moore:
I met Tom in 1998, when I was nominated, for the first time, for an Oscar. And he made me a dress and I came to meet him at the Beverly Hills hotel with my infant son. He was so nice. Tom was so nice. He was charming and handsome and dashing and I had just had a baby so I had big boobs; I was a little fat. I was all embarrassed.

And he’s so great. He completely disarmed me. I couldn’t imagine a fashion designer could be so approachable and nice. And then I ended up not wearing that dress, because my boobs were too big and I didn’t want it to be all out there like that and he was so nice about it. He was like “Who cares, it’s a dress, you know… Whatever.” And we stayed friends over the years and he subsequently made me other things and we’d have dinner together every once in a while.

He came to see my play on Broadway, and then I ran into him at, of all things, the Met Ball here in NY. I was walking by table and he had his boyfriend Richard there and I said “How’s it going with your movie?” I knew that he was working on something and he and Richard both lit up and he said “Oh, oh I can’t believe you mentioned that, I want to send you something.” He sent me the script and I was so shocked when he mentioned it, but he said I wrote this with you in mind.

I was really impressed. It was his adaptation of A Single Man and I loved the part. I just loved it. And I emailed him back. I said “I really like this. Let’s talk about it; I’d love to do it.” He was like “That fast, really?” And I said “Yeah.” It was there and he was incredibly articulate about what he wanted to accomplish and how he saw it. He obviously has vision in abundance and has an incredible work ethic. He works so hard. He’s so very prepared. I really felt like I was in very good hands with him.

BFFs: Moore & Firth

Charlie is such the perfect gal-pal for a gay guy, and you play her so perfectly. Are you ready for your legions of gay fans to really increase after this?

Julianne Moore:
Bring ’em on baby.

And will we see you at political events, Pride parades and things like that?

Julianne Moore:
I’m always at f-ing Pride parade stuff! Come on! [laughs] I’m usually at the GLAAD Awards. I’ve been there several times. Obviously there are a lot of organizations that I support and they’re a community that I’m very, very proud to know.

Julianne Moore at the GLAAD Media Awards

The film depicts the very strong long-term relationship between George and Jim and how important that is. Is there a message in the film that’s maybe connected to the political message of gay marriage?

Julianne Moore:
Yeah, absolutely. I think that Colin was saying that they were on the set the night that Barack Obama won and that was also the night that Proposition 8 was passed. So when that happens, you kind of think like, “Come one, really?” And In New York State, I’m ashamed to say, they voted down gay marriage last week. And that really surprised me.

My children are growing up in a world where they have many friends who have two mommies or two daddies, and they’ll say to me, “Who am I going to marry? Am I going to marry a boy or am I going to marry a girl?” They believe that that’s what their options are. So I think that we’ve become that way as a nation. Unfortunately politically, we’re just lagging behind.

And it is important to always draw attention to it until we fix the problem.

Moore at the NYC premiere with Hoult, Ford & Firth

There are a lot of theories about the “male gaze” in film, and how a male director films women and treats them as objects. This movie is an interesting tweak on that because it’s the “male gaze” put on other men. And as the only woman in the film, did you recognize that the “male gaze” was being put in a different direction?

Julianne Moore:
It was interesting and I think for someone like Tom too, who loves women… It wasn’t like I was being shot in this kind of sexualized way, say the way Nick was. Nick is really objectified, and there’s all the floating asses and all of that kind of thing in the film. I just get to be beautiful and glamorous and fun and the best friend, and I get the jokes.

So it was a completely different kind of experience, because yeah I have been in movies where they shot [a camera angle] up my legs. I remember a TV movie that I did where they asked me to turn around in a bathing suit and walk down the side of the pool, and I was like “Oh my god…” And I was like 28 years old, so you do it.

But yeah, it certainly is a different kind of experience and I think why not? Why not have the gaze be male-on-male? It’s all out there. You may as well see it in the movies. And even the male gaze on females is not always bad either. It exists, but it’s nice to see it reversed ever once in a while too. Female on male is not so bad either. [Laughs.]

Moore and the gay she loves, Tom Ford, at the Venice Film Festival

Have you had any situations before where you’ve had relations with a gay man, and you have this bond but you’ve had to realize it’s never going to go there sexually?

Julianne Moore:
I’ll just say, only Tom Ford. [laughter] You can print that.

Ford & Moore at the GLAAD awards in NYC in 2007.

A Single Man opens in select theaters today.

John Polly is a former editor at NewNowNext. He now makes the magic happen at World of Wonder.