If Hollywood is in love with anything more than
it is with itself, it’s with, well, it’s with love itself. From comedic to sweeping to lush to musical to
historical, romance has been the backbone of the American film industry … not to
mention its heart, its teat, and its moneymaker.
Historical romance is no
small part of that equation. Hollywood
has struck three-hankie gold with true-life romance in classics like Out of Africa (1985), Reds (1981), Cleopatra (1963),
and even Bonnie and Clyde (1967). And an even more popular
strategy of placing fictional lovers in the crossroads of history has paid off
in spades with epics like Dr. Zhivago (1965), Titanic (1997), Casablanca (1942), Pearl Harbor (2001), The English Patient (1996) and Atonement (2007).
Biopics about gay and
bisexual men are rare enough, and those that are told rarely focus on the love
lives of these men (Capote) and sometimes remove the
subject’s sexuality altogether (A
Beautiful Mind, Lawrence of Arabia). Meanwhile, historical gay
romances like Maurice and Brokeback Mountain have become classics of the
romance genre. So why not combine the two?
In honor of Valentine’s
Day, AfterElton.com takes a look at some of the greatest true gay love stories
in history and makes a few gentle suggestions as to how these forgotten
romances could become the breakout romance films of tomorrow.
Abe Lincoln Slept Here
The Love Story: A somewhat
comic look at the possible same-sex loves of our nation’s greatest President,
The possibility that
Abraham Lincoln was gay or bisexual is a topic that gets people on both sides
of the fence worked up into a froth worthy of a prizewinning macchiato. So why
not have some fun with it?
A screwball romantic
comedy about the many gay loves of Lincoln
seems rife with possibilities, especially given some of the hilarious accounts
recounted in the recent C.A. Tripp biography The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln (which already sounds like a
sex comedy). For example, Billy Greene, with whom a 22-year-old Lincoln shared
a narrow bed in New Salem, noted, “His thighs were as perfect as a human being
could be.” Indeed!
Another companion, Joshua
Speed (this time in Springfield), was noted to be closer to the soon-to-be-Prez
than one might expect (Lincoln’s letters to him read “Yours forever”) and while
in the Oval Office, Lincoln’s relationships with Col. Elmer Ellsworth (who died
on the battlefield, crushing the President emotionally) and Capt. David
Derickson (who guarded the Lincolns and reportedly slept in Abe’s bed with him
when Mary was away) have come under scrutiny.
It’s impossible to know,
of course, what truth there is to these rumors, but that doesn’t mean that a
skilled filmmaker with a flair for satire couldn’t have fun with the topic in
some way. And what’s more of a cinematic challenge than making Abe Lincoln into
a sex god? Come on, Hollywood
– step up.
The Pitch: The American President meets Tom Jones
The Cast: Sacha Baron Cohen as Lincoln (come on, we
already know he can share a bed with another man … and those thighs!)