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Actor Matt Bomer’s fans were disappointed that he wasn’t chosen to play BDSM practitioner Christian Grey in “Fifty Shades of Grey.” They should be consoled by the fact that he has landed what, on paper, is an infinitely more intricate and emotionally demanding role. The 35-year-old “White Collar” star will play Montgomery Clift in a biopic of the actor simply named “Monty Clift.”
Director and acting coach Larry Moss will helm the indie picture from a script by Christopher Lovick, reports The Wrap. Like most star biopics these days — including “My Week With Marilyn” and the upcoming James Dean road-trip movie “Life”— “Monty Clift” will take a single-episode approach to its subject. It will apparently focus on Clift’s intense relationship with Elizabeth Taylor.
They had met when Paramount, which had teamed Clift and Taylor in George Stevens’s “A Place in the Sun,” ordered the 29-year-old gay actor to escort the 17-year-old MGM starlet to the premiere of “The Heiress” at Grauman’s Chinese Theater on October 6, 1949. It was the start of a friendship that lasted until Clift’s premature death in 1966.
As reflected in their on-screen chemistry in Stevens’s film, which they would follow with “Raintree County” and “Suddenly, Last Summer,” Clift and Taylor achieved an uncommon level of intimacy. In the entry on “A Place in the Sun” on the Turner Classic Movies website, John Miller and Margarita Landazuri explain how Stevens (whom Clift considered autocratic) drew on Clift and Taylor’s closeness:
“The director insisted on extensive rehearsals, during which he would have the actors run through the scene without speaking their lines, only communicating them non-verbally. [Co-star Shelley] Winters later wrote in her autobiography, ‘He was the greatest director I’ve ever worked for. He made me understand that acting, especially film acting, is not emotion, but thinking. He had been a famous cameraman since the Keystone Kops days, and he showed me how the camera photographs your thoughts and sometimes your soul.’”
“Elizabeth Taylor had been a film actress for most of her life, but had never worked that way before, and her performance deepened,” Miller and Landazuri continued. “She had developed a schoolgirl crush on Clift, and fancied herself in love with him. Clift, a homosexual, could not love her romantically, but the two became intimate friends. Stevens observed the intensity of the relationship, and often rewrote dialogue to reflect Taylor’s growing maternal tenderness towards the neurotic Clift. Their scenes together throb with barely suppressed emotion, and the rapturous close-ups Stevens uses heighten them even more.”
“One morning, however, Stevens handed Taylor and Clift newly written lines for a love scene, and at first Taylor reacted indignantly to what she had to say. Yet it turned out to be the most breathtakingly romantic moment in the film. In enormous close-up, responding to Clift’s inarticulate attempt to declare his love, Taylor whispers passionately, ‘Tell Mama... tell Mama all.’”
It has not been disclosed if “Monty Clift” will depict the car crash that disfigured Clift when “Raintree County” was in production. After leaving a dinner party at Taylor and her husband Michael Wilding’s Beverly Hills house on May 12, 1956, Clift drove his 1955 Buick into a telegraph pole. Taylor rescued him from the wreckage and saved him from choking on a tooth embedded in his tongue.
Clift completed his part in “Raintree County” after an absence of eight weeks. His decline dates from this tragedy, partially as a result of his changed looks, partially from his inability to concentrate and his dependence on pills and alcohol; he had been chronically insecure and self-critical to begin with. His performances in Elia Kazan’s “Wild River” (1960) and Stanley Kramer’s “Judgment at Nuremberg” (1961) showed that his spark had not been extinguished.
Clift’s formidable work in “Red River” (his first film, made in 1946 but released in 1948) and “The Search” (1948, his first released film) confronted Hollywood with the revelation of interior, Method-based acting two years before Marlon Brando made his screen debut in “The Men.”
If the pairing of Clift and John Wayne as adopted son Matthew Garth and trail-boss father Tom Dunson in “Red River” demonstrated the contrast in styles — Matt’s nonchalance and reasonableness against Dunson’s bluster and arrogance — it also drew from the senior actor his first great performance. Did Wayne see what Clift was doing and think, “I’ve got to match this kid?” Burt Lancaster would admit that he was so nervous before doing his first scene with Clift in “From Here to Eternity” that he shook.
No matter that Clift’s genius cannot be replicated — Matt Bomer’s keen gaze, his confidential manner, and his charcoal looks augur well for the Monty biopic. Where its casting directors are going to find its 17-year-old Elizabeth Taylor — Lindsay Lohan having been there, done that — is a thornier issue.
Visit Frieze London in October and take part in the contemporary art event of the year. Celebrating its tenth edition, the fair presents over 170 of the most interesting galleries working today from Berlin to New York and London to Tokyo. In addition to being able to see and buy art by over 1,000 of the world’s leading artists, visitors can experience Frieze Projects, the fair’s unique and critically acclaimed programme of artist commissions and Frieze Talks, a prestigious programme of debates, panel discussions and keynote lectures. Frieze London is designed by architects Carmody Groarke and housed in a bespoke structure in Regent’s Park. Located in the heart of London, it is within easy walking distance of the city’s West End.
Founded in 2000, Art Toronto: Toronto International Art Fair is Canada’s only modern and contemporary fine art fair, providing unique access to the Canadian art market. Building on its successful platform as an exceptionally well serviced, user friendly fair, Art Toronto presents more than 100 select galleries, complemented with special projects, exhibits, a full VIP program and dynamic cultural offerings.
n celebration of its 5th anniversary, Tokyo Photo 2013 will be held at Zōjō-ji, one of Tokyo's grandest temples. From September 27th through 30th, Asia's leading photography fair will be welcoming a top selection of galleries from the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Hundreds of works of photography will be showcased, from rare vintage prints to the latest digital masterpieces.