Tom of Finland/Protagonist Pictures

The First Full Trailer For “Tom Of Finland” Is Out

How Finnish artist Touko Laaksonen became an icon.

The first trailer for Tom of Finland, Dome Karukoski’s upcoming biopic about the life of the legendary gay erotic artist born Touko Laaksonen, has hit the Internet. It’s in Finnish and English, but Laaksonen is clearly framed as an activist and artist, not a pornographer.

His drawings of hypersexualized macho men have been a hallmark of gay male culture for decades but it turns out Laaksonen’s life was just as fascinating as his artwork: Born the son of Finnish schoolteachers in 1920, he was drafted during WWII and was made to serve alongside Nazi officers, who inspired his fascination with men in uniform.

Tom of Finland
Tom of Finland

“The whole Nazi philosophy, the racism and all that, is hateful to me,” Laaksonen once remarked. “But, of course, I drew them anyway. They had the sexiest uniforms!”

In the 1950s, he worked in advertising by day, and was an erotic Michelangelo by night. Laaksonen’s libidinous cops, bikers, and construction workers were the only sexual outlet for thousands of closeted men.

But in the decades that followed, artists, filmmakers and advertisers took their cue from him in sexualizing the male form.

Tom of Finland
Tom of Finland

“It’s impossible to overstate the impact Tom’s work has had on the image and self-image of gay men all over the world,” Tom screenwriter Aleksi Bardy told Variety. “He created the archetypes that now form an integral part of the iconography of popular culture, both gay and straight.”

Tom of Finland
Tom of Finland

In the film Laaksonen, who passed away in 1991 at age 71, is played by actor Pekka Strang, who calls it “the role of a lifetime.”

Tom of Finland hits theaters in February 2017.

 

 

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery