What’s the deal with gay directors and Julianne Moore? The four-time Oscar nominee who seduced a gay son in Savage Grace for Tom Kalin and suffered a closeted husband in Far From Heaven for Todd Haynes now pines for a gay confidant in A Single Man, Tom Ford’s directorial debut. A former GLAAD spokeswoman and winner of the organization’s 2004 Excellence in Media Award, the 49-year-old star of The Hours takes time to look at her long-standing professional and personal connection to the gay community, including her upcoming role as a lesbian mom opposite Annette Bening in out director Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right.
The Advocate: When did you first realize you had a rabid gay following?
Julianne Moore: I was filming An Ideal Husband in 1998 in London and wearing a huge yellow dress that one costume designer told me looked like a golden screen door. It was during gay pride, so I’m standing there, watching the parade going by, and everyone’s yelling, “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it.” But then everybody started turning, looking, and coming towards me. I didn’t even think they’d recognize me, but they were waving and cheering for me. I was like, “Oh, my God!”
I’d argue you first got the gay audience’s attention in 1993 when you bitch-slapped Madonna in Body of Evidence.
That’s really funny. It was a fake slap. I just have memories of being very lonely on that movie. No one talked to me, and Madonna was kind of doing her own thing, so I spent a lot of time by myself. She was at the New York premiere of A Single Man, but I didn’t see her.
I’m guessing you’re not mad about A Single Man’s “de-gayed” marketing campaign because at least you’re more prominently featured in the one-sheets.
[Laughs] Well, it was worse before when Colin Firth and I looked like we were in bed together. It was ridiculous, and Tom was furious. He said, “It looks like a romantic comedy!” He wanted to make it very clear that this was a movie about a gay man and his life, his day, his boyfriend — not about his relationship to a woman. I’m still in the poster, but at least now I’m in the back.
But your character, Charley, does have an interesting friendship with Colin Firth’s George. What insight does the film offer about the dynamic between straight women and gay men?
You see this relationship all the time in life, but nobody ever depicts it in movies unless it’s in a campy way where you don’t see that weird romantic transference, which happens so very often. The woman thinks, He says he loves me and we’re best friends, so why can’t we be romantic? I remember seeing it happen with some friends of mine years ago at a party. My girlfriend got really upset with our gay friend, there were tears, and she stormed out. It was so dramatic that when another friend of mine saw the movie, she called me and said, “Were you thinking about that time…?” I said, “Of course I was! How could I forget that night?”