Friday, 19 September 2014

Exclusive Interview with the Stars of STRANGE LOVE!

                At Toronto’s fabulous filmfest this year, I had a unique  opportunity!  I was thrilled to interview Jon Lithgaw and Albert Molino, both starring in the soon-to-be-a-hit  film STRANGE LOVE -- which opened the Toronto International Film Festival last week ! I happened on the twosome by chance really; I was on my way to Bruce LaBruce’s trendy little late-nighter at Bambi’s on Queen Street, when who should I catch my eye, sharing a couch, but the venerable stars of stage in screen  in – of all places – the TIFF lobby!
                Well I wasn’t about to spoil this chance. I told them I was representing a prestigious blog (i.e. ANOTHER BLOG NOBODY READS) and asked them if we might have a little ‘Socratic dialogue’ about their upcoming film. When they said yes, I simply yanked over a convenient potted plant, and perched myself on the edge.
                Molino was well groomed and sat almost a foot away from Lithgaw, who -- bow tie rakishly askew -- was characteristically (and charmingly) unkempt.  “So I see you guys don’t sit too close to each other when you’re not acting in a gay movie.” I opined, ironically. Both laughed. It was genuine laughter, Molino deep and husky, Lithgaw a bit higher and grittier (he’s a smoker).
                “Well we don’t view it as a ‘gay movie’” said Lithgaw, putting cute quotation marks around the latter words with his fingers.
                “Do you agree, Albert?” I asked.
                “Most certainly,” said the slightly more formal Molino. “This is a film about people.”
                “I’ve heard that there’s a double Oscar buzz around the flic,” I said, a mischievous twinkle in my eye.
Lighgaw jumped in immediately, and earnestly: “It’s not about awards, it’s about the work.”
                There was an elephant in the room; I knew I just had to ask a question that was certain to be on the minds of all serious cinephiles -- “You two share -- shall we call it -- a ‘gay kiss' In the movie. What was it like actually doing  that kiss?”
                 Both men started to speak at the same time, and then apologized to each other.  Albert nodded to Lithgaw, who began: “You know, when it comes down to it, a kiss is a kiss –"
                “And a sigh is a sigh!" quipped Molino
                (Hearty laughter from all.) “Yes,” agreed Lithgaw, “and if you’re playing a character who is in love with someone else, it’s quite natural for the kiss to grow from that love.”
                Mischievous again, I leaned in from my improvised seat beside the Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree “And how did your wives feel about that kiss?”
                Again, we all laughed heartily. Then Albert filled the brief,  ensuing silence: “I think on the day  we shot that scene, my wife did hold me just a little more tightly as we wished each other goodbye.”
                “Well, Jon’s a looker,” I proffered.
                “Why thankyou” said Lithgow decisively, with a witty flick of the hand.
                “And your wife, Jon?”
                “She’s a trooper, she knows it’s all part of the job, ever since Roberta Maldoon in GAP.”
                “Ahh. Now I have a rather serious question to ask you,” I said -- as we reached  the heart of the interview.
                “I’m girding my loins” rejoindered the redoubtable Lithgaw.
                “Well,”I said, trying to look them both in the eye--  at the same time -- no mean feat, “do you think this film will have any effect on your careers –"
                Lithgaw interrupted me. “Are you serious?”
                “Well, because it’s a gay film, I mean.’
                “Oh Pshaw!” joked Lithgaw, histrionically (a bit of his film character showing through!)
                Albert eyeballed me seriously. “I can’t believe you asked that question! Surely we’ve moved beyond that! This is a movie about human relationships. A deep and important movie with a message.”
                “And what IS that message” I asked, pithily.
                “That everybody is the same.”
                “Exactly the same,”  agreed Lithgaw.  “Inside, we are all, exactly alike.”
                My mind moved quickly to images of spleens and large intestines, thumping hearts and kidneys, and useless little gall bladders, pondering thoughtfully the similarity between all of our digestive systems. However I didn’t have time to marvel at the depth of these stellar observations because both men were immediately swept up by handlers. Well enough with celebrity interviews!  I was on my way to experience the joys of Bruce’s  little Toronto-grown sybaritic film festival romp in hipster heaven!
                But (and I mean this truly, madly, deeply) it was a joy sharing it all with you.