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Ira Sachs Calls ‘Love is Strange’ as Family Friendly as ‘Miracle on 34th St.’ and Other Highlights from His Reddit AMA

Ira Sachs Calls 'Love is Strange' as Family Friendly as 'Miracle on 34th St.' and Other Highlights from His Reddit AMA

Ira Sachs’ new film “Love Is Strange” is brimming with Hollywood names — Marisa Tomei, John Lithgow and Alfred Molina all have principal roles. But the film tells a story that has yet to be made by a big studio: a romance between two older-middle aged men (Lithgow, Molina) who are getting married after being together for 39 years. Also included in the cast is Cheyenne Jackson, who plays a gay cop — a fun, likely crowd-pleasing role.

With the recent release of the film, Sachs has done a Reddit AMA where people asked about queer characters on film, future projects and whether he’s considered the fact that his name is (almost) an anagram for ‘Sriracha.” Among other things, Sachs shared plans for a new film, announcing a title for the first time  (“Thank You For Being Honest”) — he also encourages people to check out queer art organizations he has founded for budding artists, including Queer Art Mentorship. Here are other highlights, in the filmmaker’s own words:

He loved working with Marisa Tomei.
“We were shooting a scene where she has no dialogue — she’s alone in bed with her husband, played by actor Darren Burrows — and I watched her on the monitor very closely. It was then, seeing how much she could express in her face (almost as if she was writing paragraphs for me, but without words), that I understood how brilliant an actress she really is, and why she has three Academy Award nominations (and one win!). She is extraordinarily committed to making each moment on screen meaningful and complex.”
The film industry makes it hard for queer filmmakers to reach their potential.
“I get inspiration from so many filmmakers not working today, who actually seem more sophisticated in their presentation of gay characters than most working today, including Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Patrice Chereau, Chantal Akermann, Pier Paolo Passolini….what’s challenging today is for queer filmmakers to sustain a career for years, which is what’s necessary to get better and deeper.”
He’s skeptical about the MPAA’s R rating for “Love Is Strange.”
“They claim it’s for language — there are a few F-words and 2 MF-words — but there is enough precedent for them to decide that the film is still very suitable for family audiences. It’s more of a shame than I knew, because I’m now hearing of friends not taking their children, and I am shocked that they follow the rating. It’s about as family friendly a movie as ‘Miracle on 34th St.'”
Real life couples inspired “Love Is Strange.”
“My mother and stepfather, my great uncle and his partner, a wonderful man named Michael Zimmer, who lived in the West Village in a house with 2 gay cops on the top floor; and one gay couple we read about who lost a job with the Catholic Church after having gotten married.”
Sexuality is merely one facet of a character.
“I do think it’s odd when people talk about the film with surprise that the characters aren’t ONLY defined by their sexuality — as if I would ever write a character that doesn’t have many different elements of their personality. It’s no great feat of mine, or an extra effort, to make gay people as human as other characters in my film!”
The wedding scene was the toughest to shoot.
“[At] weddings no one really moves, [so] keeping the visuals compelling, without motion by the actors, was tougher than I expected.”
“Love is Strange” is the second in a trilogy.
“Mauricio Zacharias and I are working on a third film in what we consider a trilogy of NYC stories, following “Keep the Lights On,” and “Love is Strange.” This time we are writing an intelligent film for kids and adults, about kids and adults. It’s called ‘Thank You For Being Honest’ (hearing it here first!), and it’s about two boys who take an oath of silence and stop talking to their parents.”

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