Well, that’s not really the live issue. Not one but two Tom of Finland movies are apparently in process. Neither producer acknowledges the existence of the other. (The producer of the “official” film, Tom, denies that. The other producer ignored my question.) If either movie, or both, actually came to fruition, the producers could easily hire any number of Finns to play Touko Laaksonen at his various ages.

What’s harder to cast is the idealized model in Tom of Finland’s drawings, generically named Kake in the comic books that are not as well known. As the queens on DataLounge pointed out, not only do all Kakes make mesomorphs and roidheads look like 98-pound weaklings, they all have the same nose. It’s a short, flat nose, and it occupies the top of the flowchart when it comes to casting a live actor to embody the illustrated man.

The problem has a solution, and his name is Jon Bernthal, a big strong strapping specimen with in fact just the right nose.

Bernthal in a suit (one image in profile)

Here we have to be sensitive to Hollywood’s century of casting against type. Bernthal is a hot Jew (if only he were also a ginger), and Tom of Finland knew not of Jews. He could barely draw blacks. For his lovemap was drawn from his time in the Finnish army, from its enlisted men and officers and most of all from their uniforms.

Tony Shalhoub isn’t Italian; Scarlett Johansson (q.v.) is not Japanese; Jon Bernthal is not a Finn, real or imagined.

He is, however, perfect for the role. And he’d do it! Bernthal and Andrew Lincoln achieved the impossible when, in The Walking Dead, they hugged and nuzzled and held and grappled each other with complete violation of each other’s personal space yet no eroticism whatsoever, only brotherhood. I have never seen this before or since.

Here, compare the casting in Beefcake, a film that still holds up and that starred a cast of thousands of very game young men. I know one of them is mildly embarrassed by the whole thing, though I told him not to be. Then there is Bernthal manqué Josh Peace, who these days sports a shaven head but has always been the lissome and open figure you see in Beefcake. I’m sure he looks back fondly on his time there. (Despite walking by his house for years, and despite observing him stride manfully about town, I found no way to ask him. I am still sure that’s how he feels about Beefcake.)

Imagine Jon Bernthal as Tom of Finland’s ideal. An instant classic. Bernthal could just stand there and look beautiful. Easily.

It’ll never happen. Niklas Högner plays Kake in the “official” Tom of Finland film.

Further concerns: Nordics thinking they speak good enough English and can replicate even an iota of the American experience that was half Touko Laaksonen’s life in his later years. In either or both films, I expect Finns looking Finnish, and speaking English in an accent they by definition cannot even detect, acting as “Americans.”

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2016.05.22 13:48. 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:

(Values you enter are stored and may be published)



None. I quit.

Copyright © 2004–2024