Swan Song, the Todd Stephens movie starring Udo Kier and inspired by a flamboyant hairdresser in Stephens's hometown of Sandusky, Ohio, is available starting today via video on demand. The movies also stars Jennifer Coolidge, Linda Evans, Michael Urie, and Jonah Blechman.
The movie follows local legend Pat Pitsenberger (Kier) in a fictionalized story recounting the escape of the "Liberace of Sandusky" from a nursing home in order to perform one last hairdressing assignment for an old client (Evans) with whom he had a bittersweet relationship. Mr. Pat, as he prefers to be called, soon discovers that the world he left behind no longer exists.
Stephens (Edge of Seventeen, Another Gay Movie) told Deadline that as a child he "would see this wonderful, brightly dressed, elegant little man walking around downtown, who looked very different than everybody else" and who wore "a fedora, and a feather boa, and smoked the long brown More cigarette." Despite being "obsessed" with the flamboyant figure in his conservative hometown, it wasn't until Stephens was 17 that he encountered Mr. Pat (as he preferred to be called in real life as well as in Stephens's story) and observed him more closely in the town's gay bar, the Universal Fruit and Nut Company.
"I saw something sparkling and shimmering on the dance floor, and I turned, and there was the same man, wearing this outrageous pantsuit," Stephens said. "It was Pat. I like to say that he gave me the courage to be me, and be different, because I felt like I never fit in, either. So, he was kind of like my spirit animal."
Kier, an international star, is perhaps best known to American audiences for his performance as Ron Camp alongside Jim Carrey in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. However, his career has touched seven decades, and he has worked with directors such as Werner Herzog, Lars von Trier, and Gus Van Sant. He starred in Andy Warhol's 1973 film Frankenstein and later appeared in a string of vampire films of varying budgets, including the 2000 sleeper hit Shadow of the Vampire, starring John Malkovich and Willem Dafoe.
Swan Song is available starting today on video on demand; watch an exclusive trailer below.