Prolific gay writer-director-producer Greg Berlanti, of Arrow, Flash, Riverdale, and Love, Simon fame, plans to direct a film about Rock Hudson’s life.
Universal Pictures has optioned the new book All That Heaven Allows: A Biography of Rock Hudson by Mark Griffin and picked Berlanti to direct it, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He will also produce, along with Sarah Schechter, who is president of his Berlanti Productions company, and Sherry Marsh of Marsh Productions and Entertainment.
“When Sherry Marsh brought this book to us, we jumped at the chance to be involved,” Berlanti and Schechter said in a statement to the Reporter. “Rock Hudson’s life and legacy is a vital piece of both LGBTQ history and Hollywood history and has to be given the big-screen treatment it deserves.” A search is on for screenwriters, the Reporter notes.
Hudson was gay but had to project a heterosexual image during his Hollywood heyday in the 1950s and early 1960s. That meant, among other things, that he had to marry a woman for the sake of appearances. His hit movies included the melodramas Magnificent Obsession and All That Heaven Allows, both directed by Douglas Sirk, as well as the epic Giant opposite Elizabeth Taylor and sex comedies with Doris Day, such as Pillow Talk.
After his career faded somewhat in the late 1960s, he had a comeback with the TV series McMillan & Wife in the 1970s. In the 1980s, he was one of the highest-profile celebrities to be diagnosed with AIDS. He denied for some time that he had the disease, but he eventually confirmed it. He died in 1985.
Griffin’s biography of Hudson, which will be published December 4, has received advance praise “for its balanced and thoughtful look at the man’s life,” the Reporter notes. As for Berlanti, he not only has numerous hit shows on the CW but received much acclaim for Love, Simon, a gay coming-of-age story released this year.