FILM / Right of Reply

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The Independent Culture
I FEEL obliged to respond to some of the criticism directed at the motion picture Philadelphia, so the world can return its attentions to less pressing matters, like the civil war in Bosnia.

Where's Antonio Banderas?

I am in complete agreement with critics who believe our film should have featured more of Antonio Banderas. In fact, I believe every film would be significantly improved by featuring more of Antonio Banderas.

Preferably naked. Preferably in a scene in which he makes love, naked, to a charming, moderately successful homosexual screenwriter. Anyone who has written scenes along these lines may send them to me for input.

What's with this loving, supportive family that surrounds the Tom Hanks character?

Mystified as I am by the strong reaction against our presentation of a gay person's supportive, loving family, I mentioned the issue to my boyfriend's mother, Gloria. She was staying with us for the holidays. 'Do you support my relationship with Alan?' I asked.

Gloria seemed startled, and replied: 'What are you talking about, support. You need money?'

'Not that kind of support,' I continued. 'Doesn't it make you angry that your son is gay? Don't you want to throw us out the house?'

Gloria turned to my boyfriend: 'This is your house. What's he talking about?'

Alan answered, 'He's been reading reviews.' Then Gloria said something in Yiddish that is unprintable here.

Why don't Tom Hanks and Antonio Banderas kiss?

Most of the scenes between Tom and Antonio take place during medical crises in the emergency room of a hospital and in a courtroom during a civil trial. I've never had the opportunity to kiss my boyfriend in the emergency room of a hospital or in a crowded courtroom, although we have made it our New Year's resolution to kiss in both these locations as soon as possible.

Aren't we worried that if we fail, we will have made it more difficult for other gay themed projects to be made?

Fortunately, I don't have to answer that question, as our picture is a commercial success, having been No 1 at the box office for the last two weekends.

In Hollywood, success gives you the right to deflect all questions and criticism, directing your energy instead towards perfecting the art of gloating.

New York Times