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The Gayest Nongay
Movie Ever Made

The Gayest Nongay
Movie Ever Made


Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor getting hot and heavy? Directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa said they wanted to go all the way and then some with their comedy I Love You Phillip Morris.

I Love You Phillip Morris premiered Sunday night to a packed house and a gaggle of onlookers as its stars Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor made their way into the theater.

In the film, Carrey plays con man Steven Russell who, after being married to Debbie (Leslie Mann), suddenly reveals he's gay. He moves to Miami, takes Jimmy (Rodrigo Santoro) as a lover, and starts to con people in order to keep up with his lavish lifestyle. When he is caught and sent to prison, he meets Phillip Morris (McGregor). The two fall instantly in love and, when Russell is released, he poses as a lawyer to secure Morris's release. They set up house and Russell successfully poses as the CFO of a major Texas banking company while simultaneously stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars. When he is caught and sent to prison, he escapes to be with Morris -- multiple times -- so many times he becomes an embarrassment to the Texas corrections system.

Oh, and the entire story is true. The film is a prison movie, a caper, a romantic comedy, and somehow the gayest non-gay film ever made. Writers and directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa sat down with at the Queer Lounge following a panel to explain just what that means. said in your press conference today that you want to skip past the issue of being gay. Which I think this movie really does. It's not that gayness is incidental, because it is important to the plot, but...Glenn Ficarra: But it's not about the gay experience. I wanted to say when that guy on our panel was talking about Obama and "post-racial" America, we get written as being "post-homophobic" America, [but] we were blindsided by the whole Prop. 8 thing in California. We thought we were smooth sailing. I wonder if it will have some meaning there.John: Our sincere hope is that people see the movie and realize that they just need to get over it. [Laughs] It is a tremendous amount of time and effort wasted on what people do with their junk. They are just two people in love. There is never any mention of them being gay. It just comes natural to them as it did with the real guys. I mean, I don't know, but when two gay guys meet, they don't sit there and pontificate for hours about the climate of homosexual culture in America. They just think, Wow, this guy is cute and I like the way he thinks, and boom. Just as it is in any relationship. We are just trying to get past that in our film, because we are past that and obviously we think the world should think the way we do.

A lot of times, when movies like this are made, the scenes like you have of anal and oral sex -- shown both as comedic and romantic, just as in life -- are cut, or never written. I am curious, Was that ever something you were thinking about?John: It wasn't, because we said, "If that can't be part of this film then we don't want to do it." We were going to take this on, we are going to treat it as a nonissue and be casual about it, and that was our precondition and we are not going to be second-guessing ourselves without any holding back.

But you obviously included those scenes knowing they were going to push your audience.Glenn: We thought by coming in hard [laughs] with the first scene of Jim having anal sex, that people would go, "OK, anything can happen here." Everything else from then on out is them getting together. It isn't some treatise on casual sex or anything.John: And a lot of it is just our style. Our style is to treat sexuality in a very casual way. We have always done that. We felt there was no reason to change our style just because it happened to be two men. If this were a movie between a man and woman, there would have been all those raw jokes. That is just our oeuvre, baby. Glenn: But there was concern by some people that it was touchy material. This isn't reserved to homosexuality. There is a whole thing in Hollywood that you can't write a negative female character, under the thumb of a man or something. There is always some sort of issue. Instead they are just a person.John: There are a lot of bullshit rules in Hollywood and we like to ignore them.

And you didn't consult anyone from the gay community on the script?John: Well, sure, we have lots of gay friends.

Did you ever worry how it would be perceived by them?Glenn: We never went for a homophobic joke. It is all based on that it is funny because it is funny, not because it is homophobic. The closest you get is the scene in Miami where Jim is so over the top because he is so new at being gay. Ewan calls it his "gay bender."John: That is also part of the narrative conceit of being conned. You think that there is this superficial world that he has entered into when he is first out and in Miami. And later on you realize he has been lying to the audience. And in fact it was far from superficial. He had a real life, a real love with Jimmy, played by Rodrigo Santoro, and a real loss when he dies. That is a mechanical thing. That has no gay context; we wanted the audience to be conned. Just like he did to the people in his life.

Your film just premiered and you got your first audiences. Were you expecting that inevitable question that came right out of the gate at the premiere Q&A: "What is it like to kiss a guy?"Glenn: It is really annoying, actually. It is a stupid question. It's a mouth. It feels the same.John: I think actually Ewan answered the question very straightforward.

Yes, he responded right away saying that it wasn't weird or awkward kissing or cuddling with Jim or any guy. And it was so matter of fact, as if the question is a non-question.John: And what Jim has been saying from the very beginning is that who wouldn't want to kiss Ewan McGregor. I mean, he may be straight, but Ewan McGregor is a beautiful man. It is such a nonissue. These are brilliant, seasoned actors. There was never a beat or a moment when they were freaked out by it.

But do you think that you are tapping into something that is going on in culture right now?John: Well, that was our intent. We know those people are out there who are going to take issue with this. And that was our intent in going so aggressively whole hog since the first reveal [when Jim Carrey is having sex with a man]. It is a funny gag, but it's also, "Look, get over it. Here it is. This is what this movie is. We are not going to be shy. If you have these issues, we don't care about you. This is your chance to get out of the theater." We hoped to inoculate the audience. We just want people to get the fuck over it. [Laughs] Can you print profanity?

I can if you say it.Glenn: We are in this world post-Will & Grace, but there is never any romance on that show. Which struck me as odd that they didn't go there because it was so bawdy and bold and it was kind of insulting.John: I mean, you don't see a lot of interracial couples in Hollywood movies till recently either. There is all sorts of stuff. And this is supposedly progressive, forward-thinking, modern Hollywood.Glenn: And when you see it is forced or tokenism, or it's about that, Oooh she brought home a black guy. And I think we are on the precipice of getting over that.

Are you afraid that you are too far ahead of your time?Glenn: Never afraid.John: Make your audience. Don't pander to your audience.Glenn: If you're going to fail, fail boldly. And it is honestly where we are and there is a long tail that needs to catch up.

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