Warrior is an upcoming Lions Gate (perverse official orthography: LIONSGATE) motion picture somehow related to mixed martial arts. It stars Mr. TOM HARDY, the chameleonic and fascinating actor – never less so in his masculine roles (Bronson), because, when you get right down to it, masculine he isn’t. He loves his wife and only has eyes for the ladies, but needs a gay influence in his life and is half an æsthete. (And, whoops! that was also him – and his pinky – as Handsome Bob.) Like Messrs. FRANCO, REYNOLDS, COOPER, HAMM, and curiously many other actors, Mr. HARDY has left the 20th century behind.

I still object to the near-total overlap between young masculinity and guys beating the shit out of each other in an octagon. (More Nick Ring, fewer guys from the wrong side of the tracks.) But surely Warrior will be at least as unbad as Fighting.

Now, how does one promote a film like this? Lion’s Gate is a kind of artisanal shop. It’s almost like shooting Lord of the Rings in a barn in New Zealand, which Ian McKellen said really happened (they had to pause when planes flew overhead). A lot of the time, publicity head Tim Palen shoots a movie’s campaign. You’ll remember this polymath musclebear from the New Yorker’s inability to describe his phenotype accurately.

Here’s one of Palen’s photos for Warrior. (Unusually, they’re collected in a book.) People like me keep track of those things, and the resemblance to Steve Klein’s photoshoot of Justin Timberlake for Aréna Homme + is probably just coïncidental.

Bloody-faced tattooed figher in wifebeater; bloody-nosed Justin Timberlake in T-shirt on magazine cover

Nonetheless, wasn’t it a nice change of pace for Palen, maybe even meaningful, to be able to shoot masculine, homoerotic subjects like these for once?

More significant or important? Not really. Inspiring and fun for sure, which in part was because of the masculine nature of the subject but also because I’m a big MMA fan and I love the movie. I’m gay – and it’s all mixed up in there somewhere for sure, but I wouldn’t say significant or important. I’d say very lucky and blessed.

It is just no problem at all for a big strong old gay man to photograph for posterity one actor and fighter after another – half-naked, beaten to shit, in prime condition. Walk into it honestly and everyone feels respected. Now, Palen says it didn’t work that way (“Mostly these guys were on set playing fighters, so I was lucky enough to work with them when they were in that groove, and my camera wasn’t much different from the film camera”). But this would be another case of printing the legend.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2011.07.21 22:25. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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None. I quit.

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