Last September the news emerged that Matt Bomer was attached to star in a biopic of legendary gay/bisexual 1950s star Montgomery Clift. However we’re heard little about the project since.
So while talking to Bomer in the set of White Collar, Xfinity LGBT decided to ask him about the project and whether we’re still likely to get to see him take on Clift.
Thankfully the film is still in the works, but it’s still waiting for all the right pieces to comes together. Bomer says, “It’s potentially on track to be made in the way that we’d like it to be made, at the home we’d like it to be made. But I’m only going to be a part of it if it’s done right. I have too much respect for Monty and Liz [Taylor, Clift's close friend] and that whole world and that whole generation of actors…we could do it tomorrow and make some salacious version of the story and that’s not what I’m interested in.”
In the late 40s and early 50s, Clift was on the path to becoming one of the biggest stars in the world. After The Heiress, Red River, A Place In The Sun, I Confess and From Here To Eternity, he was a true heart-throb with three Oscar nominations to his name. In many people’s opinion he was a talent on a par with James Dean and Marlon Brando – and all that by the age of 24.
However, Clift was also gay (or at least bisexual) at a time when homosexuality was illegal. He never really came to terms with his sexuality. He suffered from severe self-loathing throughout his adult life (as did many gay people back them) and became a severe alcoholic. In 1956, during the filming of Raintree County, he crashed his car while drunk which caused various injuries, including facial lacerations that meant he was never quite as good looking again. While he continued to work, with a prominent facial scar and alcohol quickly ageing him, his roles were limited and his days as a heart-throb were essentially over.
He died in 1966, aged only 45, from alcohol-related occlusive coronary artery disease. Acting teacher Robert Lewis famously described Clift’s death as the longest suicide in history.
It certainly a story worth telling, but as Bomer says, it needs to be done right, so that it doesn’t just become another movie about a gay guy who dies. Although Clift was famous, his story is typical of thousands of gay people at the time, whose life was destroyed by society’s attitude towards their sexuality, which not only criminalised same sex acts but also ensured they hated themselves.
It’ll also be interesting to see whether Bomer’s reference to the film being made as ‘the home we’d like it to be made’ means HBO. The pay-cable network was behind The Normal Heart, which Bomer just starred in, and with its track record for gay-themed projects such as Looking and Behind The Candelabra, it would seem a sensible home.