Sex scenes and ‘Im­i­ta­tion Game’ con­tro­versy

GA Voice - - Outspoken -

Take it from Chris Pratt, who re­cently ex­pe­ri­enced be­ing shipped off to a new world: The fu­ture is full of prom­ise for the queer pop­u­la­tion.

“If you’re a mem­ber of the LGBTQ com­mu­nity and you’re re­ally good at plumb­ing, then you know, they’ll send you, I’m sure,” quips one of the hottest ac­tors on Earth re­gard­ing whether the hi­ber­nat­ing pod peo­ple aboard the Star­ship Avalon in his lat­est ac­tion-ad­ven­ture, “Pas­sen­gers,” are of var­ied sex­ual ori­en­ta­tions.

“Any­one who’s valu­able to the homestead com­pany and (who) would be worth money to the homestead com­pany would go,” the

De­cem­ber 23, 2016

37-year-old “Guardians of the Gal­axy” star con­tin­ues, speak­ing from the Bev­erly Hills Four Sea­sons, “so that would in­clude all peo­ple from all — the whole spec­trum, any­one who could essen­tially pro­vide a ser­vice that’s an old-world ser­vice.”

Imag­ine a world of gay plumbers who aren’t de­fined by their sex­u­al­ity but by their abil­ity to un­clog toi­lets. Or one in which Chris Pratt, as Jim Preston, and his “Pas­sen­gers” co-star Jen­nifer Lawrence, who plays Aurora Lane, aren’t con­tem­plat­ing any­one’s sex­u­al­ity. Per­haps sex­u­al­ity will be but a foot­note among the more im­por­tant qual­i­ties that char­ac­ter­ize per­sona, even as Jim pre­ma­turely wakes up 90 years ahead of sched­ule.

“Hope­fully we’re well into the fu­ture where none of th­ese things are even a con­ver­sa­tion any­more, where they’ve gone from is­sues to con­ver­sa­tion to hope­fully (be­ing) for­got­ten about, and ev­ery­body is treated equally,” says Lawrence, 26. “So, yes. Of course I would as­sume there’d be di­ver­sity.”

Nat­u­rally, direc­tor Morten Tyl­dum shares that sen­ti­ment. Not only does he have a gay step­daugh­ter, the film­maker was be­hind the cam­era for the Os­car-win­ning “Im­i­ta­tion Game,” star­ring Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch as gay com­puter sci­en­tist and famed WWII code­breaker Alan Tur­ing.

“I think, very shortly, it will be­come a non-is­sue,” Tyl­dum says. “As Chris said: If he’s a good plumber, he would be on the ship. No­body would care if he’s gay, straight, what­ever.”

That, he notes, was his ap­proach to 2014’s “Im­i­ta­tion Game,” which was con­tro­ver­sial for its ab­sence of gay sex scenes. In an in­ter­view with Va­ri­ety in 2015, the direc­tor ex­plained why his Tur­ing wasn’t ro­man­ti­cally or sex­u­ally en­gaged with an­other man: “It was not be­cause we were afraid it would of­fend any­body,” he said at the time. “If I … had this thing about a straight char- ac­ter, I would never have a sex scene to prove that he’s het­ero­sex­ual. If I have a gay char­ac­ter in a movie, I need to have a sex scene in it just to prove that he’s gay?”

In “Pas­sen­gers,” Pratt and Lawrence, known for her Os­car-win­ning per­for­mance in “Sil­ver Lin­ings Play­book” and as Kat­niss Everdeen in “The Hunger Games” fran­chise, do go at it. But Tyl­dum, who ad­mits sex scenes in films are “very com­pli­cated,” ex­plains this sexy scene is nec­es­sary for char­ac­ter devel­op­ment.

“The sex scene in ‘ Pas­sen­gers’ is there be­cause it’s a re­la­tion­ship — it’s between the two main char­ac­ters — and there’s a sex mo­ment be­cause it’s about th­ese two char­ac­ters,” he says. “I think to have a sex scene it needs to have a story mo­ment, go­ing from the two strangers to be­com­ing a cou­ple.”

The dif­fer­ence, the direc­tor points out, is that “to have a sex scene in ‘Im­i­ta­tion Game’ would be to sort of prove that Alan Tur­ing is gay,” which, like the hy­po­thet­i­cal gay pod

By CHRIS AZZOPARDI

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