Author Topic: Rewriting Homosexual Biographies in Film  (Read 2312 times)

Offline louisev

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Rewriting Homosexual Biographies in Film
« on: January 01, 2008, 12:22:54 am »
 
I was astonished today in a conversation with a friend to find out that John Nash, the mathematician and subject of the award winning biographical adaptation 'A Beautiful Mind' with Russell Crowe, had had a number of homosexual affairs and was arrested for indecency in Santa Monica while working for the Rand Corporation when he solicited a man in a public bathroom.  I didn't see that in the film! However, this information was in the biography from which the film was derived, which got me digging into a little more background.

 I ran across the following fascinating article by William J. Davis in "Close Up Film" entitled "The Rights to Re-write" which discusses the 'degayification' of homosexual biographies in Hollywood, an extension of the themes in the oft-cited 'Celluloid Closet.'

http://www.close-upfilm.com/features/Featuresarchive/rightstorewrite.htm

Hollywood has a long way to go.
“Mr. Coyote always gets me good, boy,”  Ellery said, winking.  “Almost forgot what life was like before I got me my own personal coyote.”


Offline delalluvia

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Re: Rewriting Homosexual Biographies in Film
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2008, 04:23:38 am »
That is extremely interesting, Louise.

I saw the movie, and the producers did say they took liberties with his life story.  In real life, Nash and his wife did not stay together, they divorced, were apart for many years, then got back together.  I wonder if all these affairs took place in the interim - and if so, that's probably their excuse for leaving something so defining out because they skipped that part of his life.


Offline louisev

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Re: Rewriting Homosexual Biographies in Film
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2008, 01:37:06 pm »
a more extensive discussion of the biography in 'Ferment' as well as other sources, makes it known that Nash, in selling his story to filmmakers, specifically denied them permission to include any elements of 'bisexuality' in portraying him.  However, the screenplay, and the film as shot, also downplayed several other less-than-savory parts about his biography, including the fact that he had an illegitimate son whom he refused to acknowledge and support, by a woman he refused to marry, before he married Alicia.  His first son was shuttled between a dozen foster homes and Nash never offered a dollar in support even though he was fully employed and 'earning a King's ransom for the Rand Corporation' during that time.  He never did support his first son until forced to by the courts.
“Mr. Coyote always gets me good, boy,”  Ellery said, winking.  “Almost forgot what life was like before I got me my own personal coyote.”


Offline delalluvia

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Re: Rewriting Homosexual Biographies in Film
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2008, 02:10:38 pm »
a more extensive discussion of the biography in 'Ferment' as well as other sources, makes it known that Nash, in selling his story to filmmakers, specifically denied them permission to include any elements of 'bisexuality' in portraying him.  However, the screenplay, and the film as shot, also downplayed several other less-than-savory parts about his biography, including the fact that he had an illegitimate son whom he refused to acknowledge and support, by a woman he refused to marry, before he married Alicia.  His first son was shuttled between a dozen foster homes and Nash never offered a dollar in support even though he was fully employed and 'earning a King's ransom for the Rand Corporation' during that time.  He never did support his first son until forced to by the courts.

What a nice guy  :P

Well, that just turned me off of him completely.  Just goes to show you can be a genius and still be a shit as a human being.

Offline Artiste

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Re: Rewriting Homosexual Biographies in Film
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2008, 02:57:43 pm »
Thanks!

I just discovered this thread. And like it and I will find it more and more interesting!!

Even if it was true that Nash did not pay $ firstly for his first son's welfare, still he is human... (straights and others act like that too unfortunately) and everything needs to be said and found out, I feel yet!

Coming back to this thread headline: Rewriting Homosexual Biographies in Film, I find that very interesting and may it continue!

Regarding this title, you have mentioned (by a critic...): Yet sadly, because the film has not been judged a success, and because it did not set the box office alight, there is a high probability that these failures will be attributed to its frankness regarding Alexander's sexuality, and thus used as reasons for Hollywood not to green light future big budget epics that involve such a depiction. Thus could it be that those who extolled Alexander for its daring representation were premature in their praises...
....
To that, may I say that this Alexander film would probably or possibly been better to make $ if it had shown Alexander the Great as an gay or bi man!! Then, it would have made maybe more than 200 millions bucks the Brokeback Mountain movie did?? Likely so, I feel since I always read that Alexander was gay!! So, why now such greek lawyers against that - is it because Greece is now becoming muslim and thus anti-gay??

....
Concerning Certainly one might expect some agreement on this point from writer Paula Martinac, who suggested it was a good thing that A Beautiful Mind did not portray John Nash as a homosexual; because his eventual marriage would be seen as making a comment on the (non-)viability of homosexuality.

.........
To this may I reply, is that so too with the Brokeback Mountain film: (non-)vialibity of homosexuality?
Since some think that even the two main charators (Ennis ansd Jack) are straights??
.....

Hugs!! May Hollywood write and do homosexual portraits of real gay men lives!!

Offline BelAir

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Re: Rewriting Homosexual Biographies in Film
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2008, 07:34:58 pm »
What a nice guy  :P

Well, that just turned me off of him completely.  Just goes to show you can be a genius and still be a shit as a human being.

yes indeed.

not commenting about John Nash specifically, but I remember not even caring much for him in the movie...
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: Rewriting Homosexual Biographies in Film
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2008, 09:26:38 pm »
I loved the film the first time I saw it. But the second time, when watching it with my son (who was far less impressed) I realized Nash's life really wasn't material well-suited for a biopic.

Russell Crowe, as usual, is excellent. And the way they did the thing with Ed Harris and his roommate was very clever, providing the main suspense and tension and surprise. But otherwise, Nash's life did not provide a very effective narrative arc. And his relationship with Jennifer Connelly was pretty unexciting.

What's with mentally ill mathemeticians, though? "Proof" is a fictional treatment of something similar. Is it an occupational hazard?

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: Rewriting Homosexual Biographies in Film
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2008, 11:58:57 am »
What's with mentally ill mathemeticians, though? "Proof" is a fictional treatment of something similar. Is it an occupational hazard?


For the other side of the coin, check out Numbers on Friday nights.  ;)
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Offline Artiste

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Re: Rewriting Homosexual Biographies in Film
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2008, 12:21:26 pm »
Jeff, what is Numbers? A TV show?

Hugs!

Offline Shakesthecoffecan

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Re: Rewriting Homosexual Biographies in Film
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2008, 05:44:08 pm »
So, why now such greek lawyers against that - is it because Greece is now becoming muslim and thus anti-gay??


Artiste, you make me want to become Muslim sometimes. Why does everything have to be a conspiracy with you? I saw Alexander, liked it, thought it did a good job portraying his sexuality but it wasn't the greatest movie I saw that year, it just didn't do as well as hoped.

But seriously I wish you would get past your distain for muslims, or at least keep it to yourself. It is very unbecoming and when you say things like that I for one don't take you seriously.
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