Tom Ford: Looking good, as always.
A Single Man, the directorial film debut of fashion magnate Tom Ford, opens in NYC today. The film is based on the classic 1960s novel by Christopher Isherwood, and follows a day in life of a late 40-something gay professor living in Los Angeles who is longing for his late lover and trying to figure out how (and if) to get on with his life.
The film is a gorgeous, stylish and poignant portrait of a man of a certain age, with Colin Firth in the title role of George Falconer. Julianne Moore plays George’s best longtime gal-pal Charley, Nicholas Hoult plays a handsome student who wants to know George better, and Matthew Goode plays George’s lover Jim in impactful flashbacks.
The movie bears Ford’s gift for sexy visuals and sleek impeccable stylishness, but it’s also full of warm moments, wry humor, intense sadness and sterling performances throughout. Oscar buzz is inevitable. In fact, Colin Firth has already scored some Best Actor nods in film fests worldwide.
I attended a press event this week for the film, wherein Ford and his three leading cast members (Firth, Moore and Hoult) all fielded questions from the press. What follows here is a bit of what Ford had to say about making his first film, telling a story of gay love and longing in these political times, why this story spoke to him, and also about a voice-over cameo that’s top-secret (only, not really).
Enjoy the interview with Tom Ford after the jump!
As a gay man of a certain age, what spoke to you about George?
We have so many eyes in this film, because we have this guy who has been going through the last eight months of his life not even looking at people. All of the sudden on this last day, he’s looking at people, and he’s connecting. People were responding to him in a very different way too by the way. It’s about connections. It’s about a lot of things that, for me, are eternal and timeless. And that’s why it spoke to me.
Nicholas Hoult, Julianne Moore, Tom Ford & Colin Firth at A Single Man premiere in NYC
Why was it essential for you to make a film? What was it that you were seeking that you didn’t find elsewhere?
For this, I just felt I had to make this movie. And I’ve always thought I would be a good story-teller and that I have a lot more to say than what I can put in a fashion ad or on a runway so it was very important for me to do this and I hope I’m lucky enough of keep doing it every two or three years for the rest of my life. So it’s something I am really serious about.
Ford & Firth
The theme of visibility and invisibility came up a couple of times during the movie. What does that mean to you and why is that important?
Ford and a slightly famous fan.
What are your thoughts on Rupert Everett’s comments that actors should stay in the closet if they want to have a big career, because straight actors can play gay people but gay actors are not usually hired as the leading man?
I would love and hope that we could come to a moment in time where that wasn’t defining. I don’t know. It’s probably a hard question ask. You have to ask actors who are struggling with this. I would like to think this is not true, but it probably is still true.
The original novel, A Single Man, is dedicated to Gore Vidal. I was wondering, did you show the movie to him already?
Tom Ford: I didn’t. I am a huge fan of Gore Vidal. I sat next to him at a dinner once and he was so mean to me. So I realized Gore Vidal and I are just not going to be friends. So no, I dedicated my movie to Richard Buckley who I’ve lived with for the past 23 years.
Ford on the set, with men in plaid.
For the big phone call scene, did you put John Hamm on the phone as a 1962 in-joke?
Tom Ford: No, it’s so funny because I’m not allowed to mention the person on the other end of the phone’s name because I was sitting next to this person at a dinner party and I know him. I said I’m looping something tomorrow and your voice is perfect, would you come in and do it? And then his agent ripped me apart like you can’t imagine. So, all I can tell is I don’t know who’s voice that was in the film.
Nicholas Hoult, with his fashionable mentor.
How do you feel about the Oscar buzz building for the film?
Tom Ford: Live by the buzz, die by the buzzsaw. It’s wonderful to hear that people are responding to the film.
I love the movie, I’m so proud of it and it would be silly for me to tell you that I didn’t care that people were talking and saying nice things about potential awards. Anyone who says that to you is probably lying. But I’m really proud of the movie and that’s the most important thing to me.
In a flashback scene, Matthew Goode as Jim and Colin Firth as George.
I love the relationship between George and Jim. I thought it was one of the enviable relationships I’ve seen, be it gay, straight, whatever. Can you talk about how important it is for audiences to see that nowadays, with gay marriage issues being so prevalent?
Tom Ford: It’s very important and it was one of the reasons that I wanted to portray the relationship like that. Most of those scenes are not in the book because in the book we never really see Jim. The scene lying on the sofa with the dogs, that’s right out of my life, that’s me and boyfriend. I have to pay him to walk the dog and I have to pay him twenty bucks. I had to go back and make it $5 because we were in 1962.
But I still to this day, occasionally have a friend that will say something to me about my lifestyle. And I’m like, my lifestyle? I live with somebody that I love. We’ve been together for 23. We make dinner. We have arguments. He has to talk walk the dog. We go on vacation. So I don’t know. I think that it was important to just depict that. It’s love. Love is love for me.
A Single Man opens in select theaters on December 11th.